VR avatars, acoustic tracking & AI are heading to NYC Women Startup Challenge

And London is next...
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Women led startups are descending on Google's Chelsea campus in NYC on 15 February for the fourth Women Startup Challenge, this time with a focus on VR and AI.

The pitch competition, which is run by a nonprofit called Women Who Tech, will be giving away $50,000 to the winner as well as mentoring and $35,000 worth of legal services.

Read this: Four ways wearable tech & VR design is sexist

So who is competing? Amongst the 10-strong shortlist, on the virtual reality side, we have Spirit AI which has built a "more expressive" character engine; Opaque Studios which is focusing on VR production tools for Hollywood; Didimo which transforms photos into 3D avatars (including for AR and VR) and Hauoli which is working on an acoustic based motion tracking system.

The AI startups include Addicaid, a "digital addiction wellness platform" as well as healthcare AI company Droice Labs and Venti Technologies which is building autonomous vehicles that aren't cars: wheelchairs, tractors, shuttles, scooters and golf carts.

Essential reading: The best VR headsets

We'll be keeping an eye on which women come away with the prize money as well as Women Who Tech's next event which is in London in May. The Women Startup Challenge Europe will be the first international event. You can apply from 15 February if you want to participate. Ten women will be chosen to pitch their startup to a panel including Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales.

VR avatars, acoustic tracking & AI are heading to NYC Women Startup Challenge

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Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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