Meet The Startups From China-Based Hardware Accelerator HAXLR8R’s Third Demo Day


Hardware startups seem to gradually be taking over the world. Thanks to the lower costs of developing and prototyping new products, it’s easier (and cheaper) than ever before to build devices that can be used in the real world. That said, some startups could use help in the promise, which is what hardware accelerator HAXLR8R seeks to do.

Shenzhen-based HAXLR8R specializes in helping hardware startups, and is focused on taking them all the way from idea to prototype to finished product. It does that by leaning heavily on its local surroundings — HAXLR8R is based in what some might call the electronics capital of the world.

This is the accelerator’s third demo day, and HAXLR8R co-founder Cyril Ebersweiler says that each successive class has gotten better than the last. It’s got everything from a “bionic mattress” for premature babies to a gadget that lets you play with their pet from anywhere with a smartphone.

Here are what the ten HAXLR8R startups presenting at today’s demo day each do:


There are 15 million premature babies born every year, which spend about 21 days on average in an incubator. BabyBe is a bionic mattress for premature babies that’s designed to replicate the haptic conditions of a mother’s chest. By doing so, the team believes it can stimulate growth within the babies and also improve brain development of children during their time in an incubator.

There are two components to the system — there’s the bionic mattress which the baby lies on and it provides feedback from the mother’s body and let the baby feel like it’s near a loved on. Then there’s the “turtle,” which is a product that the mother can cradle and get feedback from the baby’s movement and heartbeat. With those tools, it believes it can reduce the time a child spends in an incubator and save parents and the healthcare system money as a result.



Curio is an interactive animatronic toy platform that are brought to life by connecting with a tablet or mobile phone. Curio characters are open source and hackable, so that anyone can build their own with a 3-D printer. The company is looking to build a new generation of toy that’s emotive, educational, and fun to play with. Curio characters clip onto a screen to instantly connect. Instead of using Bluetooth, the toy works by having light signals sent to it.

For Curio, the goal was to build maximum expressiveness with cost-sensitive components. Introducing the smartphone or tablet enables that. The company sees the possibility for branded toys that can be built by others, with a mass-market toy. But in the meantime, it’s looking to target makers and character designers who could build their own 3D-printed toys. The app gives users a series of movements and sounds that the Curio characters can use, as well as a timeline for them to build their own stories.


Everpurse is a tech platform that can be used to augment fashionable products. Currently that means charging your phone on the go, but it could also be used for other things. The purse works by plugging the phone into the purse and it instantly charges the phone. Later at night, you lay the purse on a wireless charger and it then charges the purse.

The team plans to extend beyond its first product, as it hopes to become the tech company for fashion. They’ve created an app to enable customers to become content creators with the brand and interact with the company. It will allow customers to communicate with the company and also let users know where a purse or other accessory is located based on GSM, Bluetooth, and WiFi connectivity. The technology will also be available to anyone else who wants to build smart tech-enabled fashion products.



Notch is a wearable technology API to capture personal movement and provide immediate tactile feedback. That gives users the ability to understand how to improve their movement. The device can be used to store and track movement data and compare how people move. Notch was built by a team of four in building electronics.

Notch costs just $49, compared to $120-$130 for the most recent generation of movement trackers. With Notch, users can also connect multiple pieces of the hardware together, taking data from different parts of the body all at once. The business model includes direct-to-consumer sales, the ability to license software to developers who can build apps that take advantage of the technology.


Palette is a modular hardware interface that allows users to design controllers for software, such as sliders, dials, and buttons. That takes away typical keyboard and mouse combinations to allow users to determine what how they want to control applications.

Photographers, for instance, could use Palette to simplify photo editing. DJs could create their own interface for mixing music. With Palette, users can create their own sets of controls. Once you’ve arranged modules, you can then map controllers to various macros. The company is targeting photographers first to hit different industries and applications over time. Starter kits start at $99, with kits going up to $399 depending on how many different controllers users need.


Dustcloud is a gaming platform to bring offline gaming online. It uses low-energy Bluetooth 4.0 modules to connect with mobile phones and allow users to fire “electronic bullets” at each other — kind of like a new version of Laser Tag. In China, gaming is becoming mobile and indoor gaming is moving outdoor. Urban gaming is growing, thanks in part to a platform called Encounter.

The outdoor games are played with electronic bullets, but they have to be purchased. They have developed mobile app to connect users and make games and targets available to users. It’s a community game, so users can form teams, or alliances.



Petcube is a gadget that allows pet owners to watch, talk, and play with their pets using their smartphone. With a video camera, moveable laser pointer, and WiFi connectivity, users can interact with pets remotely. The app will also allow users to record their play time with animals, and also will be able to play with available pets.

Already, Petcube is available in some pet shelters, as a way to introduce potential pet owners to new pets. The app will come out before Petcubes are even on the shelves for that purpose. Petcubes will be sold for $200 retail, and in the future will offer an in-app store for pet fans to purchase real-world goods for their pets. Next May, they expect to make the box available to users and in stores.


Roadie is a tuner that allows users to instantly tune their stringed instruments in a fast and accurate way. The Roadie tuner connects via Bluetooth LE, and can tune an instrument instantly without needing any help from the user. You can tune all strings within 30 seconds.

The mobile app also opens up opportunities for musicians who like to use custom tuning. It also can keep track of the elasticity of a string and tell users when it’s time to restring their instruments. There are 25 million guitars shipped every year, and probably about 150 million guitars out there that need tuning, the founders believe. It’ll sell for $99, but Roadie hopes to build more tools for musicians. The bigger vision is to create a sort of “quantified self” for musicians.


Vigo deals with unintentonal drowsiness by attaching to a pair of glasses and using infrared sensors to monitor user blinking patterns. The device is designed not only to figure out when you’re tired and can nudge you into alertness. It can give you feedback in how to change your routine.

The device is for whenever you need to be alert. It tracks body signals and alerts you when you’re starting to snooze off — vibrations, audio signals, and a light signal. Vigo seeks to use physiolytics to track your energy and determine that you’re drowsy before you do. There’s also a mobile app to track when you’re not feeling up to snuff and to give you suggestions on when you’re most alert.


WearPoint offers Tact, a wearable interface that can augment Google Glass and other near-eye displays by allowing users to control them and keep their hands away from their face. The idea is to take the control away from Google Glass, and enable users to create their own swipe gestures and map feature sets to them.

The cost? $60 to be able to swipe and press buttons to input data into their device to create a variety of ways to trigger feature sets. can be clipped onto a pocket, belt, keychain, and allow the device to fit into the life of the users, rather than the other way around. But it’s not just Google Glass — nearly anything could be controlled through the same Bluetooth LE swipeable control.

More TechCrunch

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

6 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

2 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

2 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Ember has partnered with HSBC in the U.K. so that the bank’s business customers can access Ember’s services from their online accounts.

Embedded finance is still trendy as accounting automation startup Ember partners with HSBC UK

Kudos uses AI to figure out consumer spending habits so it can then provide more personalized financial advice, like maximizing rewards and utilizing credit effectively.

Kudos lands $10M for an AI smart wallet that picks the best credit card for purchases

The EU’s warning comes after Microsoft failed to respond to a legally binding request for information that focused on its generative AI tools.

EU warns Microsoft it could be fined billions over missing GenAI risk info

The prospects for troubled banking-as-a-service startup Synapse have gone from bad to worse this week after a United States Trustee filed an emergency motion on Wednesday.  The trustee is asking…

A US Trustee wants troubled fintech Synapse to be liquidated via Chapter 7 bankruptcy, cites ‘gross mismanagement’

U.K.-based Seraphim Space is spinning up its 13th accelerator program, with nine participating companies working on a range of tech from propulsion to in-space manufacturing and space situational awareness. The…

Seraphim’s latest space accelerator welcomes nine companies

OpenAI has reached a deal with Reddit to use the social news site’s data for training AI models. In a blog post on OpenAI’s press relations site, the company said…

OpenAI inks deal to train AI on Reddit data

X users will now be able to discover posts from new Communities that are trending directly from an Explore tab within the section.

X pushes more users to Communities

For Mark Zuckerberg’s 40th birthday, his wife got him a photoshoot. Zuckerberg gives the camera a sly smile as he sits amid a carefully crafted re-creation of his childhood bedroom.…

Mark Zuckerberg’s makeover: Midlife crisis or carefully crafted rebrand?