The future as seen at STEP 2017..

Startups, investors, innovators, humorists, and others turned out at STEP Conference 2017, taking place at the Dubai Marine Club from April 5-6.

We found time to have a look around and get some of the best for you.

Emotive’s Telekinesis Headset

This funky neuro-headgear can move objects through mind power.

The Brainware EG headset, created by Emotive was showcased by IBM to demonstrate how it can move objects by reading and recording electrical activity in the brain.

“It has five sensors that can read alpha, beta and gamma brain waves. If you can train the headset long enough to recognize your mental commands, you can train it to pick up when your thinking push and pull,” Amal Amine, a tech developer at IBM told Inc. Arabia.

The headset is connected to a mini robot droid, in this case, BB8 of Star Wars fame, which was thrown forwards and backward by the thought thrusts of one of IBMs technicians.

“We’re sending the data from the headset to the cloud, to an application running on Bluemix [Bluetooth cloud platform], and the BB8 is receiving the data from the same application instantaneously,” Amine said.

The technology used the BB8 mini-droid made by Spero toy company and an Emotive EEG headset sold online by Emotive for $299.

Pepsi’s Smart Supermarket

Putting the fizz back in shopping, soft drink giant PepsiCo set up a smart supermarket that scans a customer’s identity as they walk in and automatically charges their goods as they walk out.

The technology, developed by UAE-based tech-startup Spidefrog is a proof of concept that identifies users by radio-frequency (RFID) microchips that store information such as the customer’s name, gender and credit card details.

Customers can grab anything they want from their selection of drinks and crisps, said Shalaj Lawania a Spiderfrog Project Engineer in Silicon Oasis.

“When you go in, any product that you grab and pass through the sensors, it tells you exactly what you bought, and the price.”

Lawania says the installation is not designed to prevent shoplifting but to eliminate time-consuming check-in counters and queuing while boosting a retailer’s sales and footfalls.

“The idea is to make it as seamless as possible for you…so you just walk in, pick whatever you want, and walk out,” he said.

Shoptrav Brings You Borderless Shopping

Want to buy foreign products for a third of their high-street value?

From Vietnamese crocodile handbags to Madagascan vanilla, anything your heart desires can now be brought directly to you from anywhere in the world by a personal shopper, according to one startup we met at STEP 2017.

“Anything that is legally sold in one country and is legal in another country, from anywhere in the world, to anywhere in the world,” said Mohammed Al Mazroui, a website engineer at Shoptrav.

“This is a peer-to-peer social shopping and delivery service. It’s a buy-and-bring service. So we put you in touch with an expert personal shopper headed to your country of residence.”

Users sign in on the Shoptrav app and are connected with someone traveling to their destination country from the city they wish to buy the goods.

“You agree on a deal, on a chat platform. You send an offer; they accept the offer. They go to the store, they buy the item for you, and they bring it to you. If you don’t pay, it doesn’t get delivered.”

Shoptrav is currently in their beta phase and getting ready to go live soon. Founded eight months ago, the startup is self-funded and generates revenue through a commission on each deal.

Pokémon Go With Real Goodies

Egyptian startup Elaphasstore is taking the free augmented reality phone app Pokémon Go to the next level with a platform, where users can collect real coins and retail vouchers.

“It’s the same concept as Pokémon Go but instead of collecting Pokémon, that have no value, you can walk on a real map and collect vouchers, and coins that are redeemable in different shops said Shaimma Aboulkheir, co-founder and marketing director at Elaphasstore.

“You can use it for many brands, for restaurants, for shops, for hotels, and even on Careem,” Founder-CEO Ibrahim Mohamed Attia told Inc. Arabia.

The vendor signs in on an admin tool and scatters the vouchers and coins for app users to wander into, he added.

“The vendor has an admin and places the vouchers on every corner on the map. We sell placement on the map.”

The app was launched in January 2017 in Cairo and will be bursting onto the UAE scene in two months.

They are at STEP conference seeking funding and vendors to add vouchers to their goodie bag of merchants.