Singular Rooster: adopting the 29+ tire size one ride at a time

SingularRoosterSurly Bikes introduced the 29+ tire size to the world in 2012 and up until now were the only manufacturers of the light, fast, high-grip off-road bikes that used them. Now, Singular Cycles is announcing its own model, the Singular Rooster, designed from the start to handle these new versatile tires.  The video introduction is short and sweet and the campaign description will satisfy any cycling junkie’s appetite to learn more. Singular Rooster bicycles will be available in three different sizes, will ship in July, and with a very limited run for backers outside the European Union, they can be had for £450.


Foodini makes you the the prints of food design

editors-choiceThe Premise. Who doesn’t get excited at the revolutions being made possible every day by advancements in the field of 3D printing? And who doesn’t want a personal robo-chef to crank out elegantly designed plates with no effort whatsoever? Here’s what happens when these two exciting ideas are combined.

The Product. Designed to make healthy eating easier and revolutionize the home cooking process once more, the pun-tastic Foodini is a consumer-grade 3D printer that is meant to bring out the best in fresh ingredients. Using a series of reusable capsules that food can be mashed or pureed into, and then after selecting a recipe and design, the Foodini goes to work. For those worried about how to operate a 3D printer, the Foodini has a touch screen panel on the front that connects to its own site where templates can be downloaded and used, recipes can be bookmarked, and even uploaded and shared. From there, Foodini says what to put in when and handles the rest.

The Pitch. Co-founder of Natural Machines Lynette Kucsma introduces us to the Foodini and initially shows that it can make something that looks like farmer’s market baby food, but as the video goes on, and through the campaign photos, it’s quickly mouthwatering just what can be made with this printer. Anxieties about learning a new kitchen tool are also laid to rest with simple diagrams outlining how easy it is to operate a Foodini. Natural Machines needs to raise $100,000 to put together the community site and begin mass production.

The Perks. Unsurprisingly, a Foodini will set backers back $999, $300 off the retail price, and can start impressing everybody else by January of 2015. Those who don’t want to wait can pay extra for an earlier production run, the earliest being available October 2014 for backers who pledge $2,000.

The Potential. It’s impossible not to be excited about the idea of having a 3D food printer in the home. While it’s still a ways off from replicating an Irish breakfast or even downloading pizza rolls, Foodini takes all the convenience of eating out of cans and boxes and brings it to fresh, healthy ingredients. The price point is enticingly low, especially considering that a microwave cost over $10,000 in today’s dollars when they hit the market. It may seem extravagant now, but this is a clear sign of a new era for stomachs everywhere.


Steel Connect adds personality to your Pebble

SteelConnectThe Pebble Steel smartwatch is an early contender in the exploding field of smartwatch options, but the two included leather and steel bands leave a little something to be desired. Steel Connect is an affordable solution, available in black matte and brushed aluminum to blend in with both Pebble variants, that allows owners to swap out the band for any 22 mm watch band. With such a wide variety of bands available, owners can make the Pebble Steel more stylish, more comfortable, or better suited to physical activity. The campaign photos show off a variety of band ideas that can work with the Steel Connect system. Steel Connect is available to backers who pledge £15 (add £3 outside the UK) and will be available by May.

Imaging Video

SERVOSTAB keeps its motor running to smooth your video

The Premise. Home movies can be fun to make, but depending on the equipment used and skill of the videographer, they can be painful to watch. As digital cameras have helped us evolve into more sophisticated shooters, we have upgraded our requirements for decent video stabilization.

The Product. SERVOSTAB is a small motor intended to stabilize your DSLR or interchangeable lens camera to help you create more professional-looking videos. In full stabilization mode, your camera will remain stable on its axis, even if the camera mount is moving. Ideal if you commonly shoot video while walking or otherwise moving, this setting will reduce the amount of camera shake experienced. The second mode, called follow stabilization is interesting because the camera will follow your various movements, but will do so in a controlled and smooth manner. This is great for making smoother scene transitions and reducing the camera jerk which tends to nauseate viewers and happens when the videographer’s attention suddenly shifts.

The Pitch. Absolutely created for the techy, SERVOSTAB’s campaign video employs a computer-narrator who explains the different modes and advantages of SERVOSTAB’s motor compared with a typical servo motor. or simple weights that characterize most crowdfunded stablizers. She (it?) also narrates over someone plugging in SERVOSTAB to a computer to configure the product setting preferences from included software. The campaign page includes information about each piece of technology that goes into making SERVOSTAB in addition to other general campaign information.

The Perks. SERVOSTAB is estimated to be available in September-October in the $100-150 price range. If you choose to help support the project, you can obtain one of the first SERVOSTABs available in September with a donation of $179. Interestingly, there are three levels which net backer perks of a discount on the product once available. Assuming the project is funded, this could be a nice compromise for people who are on the fence. For $599 you can back the project and receive three SERVOSTABs engraved with your name, logo or a picture.

The Potential.  SERVOSTAB could be a great addition to the videographer’s toolbox. A much less compact, less affordable and overall less promising product with a similar concept is looking for funding on Kickstarter. If funded, SERVOSTAB could make a relatively inexpensive way to bump up video quality a few notches, without the need for you to shell out for a new cam. It’s unclear exactly which cameras the device is compatible with – the campaign references “most DSLRs” but features a Sony interchangeable lens camera. This will be important information that potential backers will want to know. The campaign goal is $25,000 in flexible funding so founders will receive all funds raised over the campaign’s 60 days, even if it does not make goal.

Tech Accessories

iMacompanion gets up front about the iMac’s USB port

imacompanionWhile the iMac is a beautiful, modern piece of technology that eschews clutter in favor of simplicity, the lack of any easily accessible USB ports means a lot of adjusting and moving the screen for owners. iMacompanion is a simple, low-tech but high-quality solution to this issue, adhesively connecting a USB port to the base of the monitor stand and imperceptibly feeding a flat cable underneath the base into one of the USB ports on the back. Created by Wiplabs, which previously created the iDockAll, backers of the iMacompanion can be assured it’s made by Apple enthusiasts, for Apple enthusiasts. iMacompanion will launch in October and is available for pledges of $29.

Personal Transportation

Folding Me-Mover vertical trike has powered option

The Premise. People choose to ride their bikes or longboards around instead of cars for a multitude of reasons: fresh air, exercise, environmental awareness and frugality to name a few. Those who live in cities are especially prone to seeking alternative forms of transportation more suited to their urban lifestyles.

The Product. Me-Mover is a personal transportation product. The stand-up tricycle has two wheels in the back and one in the front, this product is self-powered by pedals that the rider shifts their weight like an elliptical machine. The Me-Mover features hand brakes and even folds up for extra convenience. Currently, the Mover comes in either black, white, blue or red. This  device has fixed gearing with a variable output to make for a smooth ride.

The Pitch. The campaign begins with a short video of the Danish creator talking about his product, along with footage of young Danish folk zipping around Copenhagen on their Me-Movers. The rest discusses the physical benefits of this product and how joggers, cyclists and skiers will all enjoy riding it. Me-Mover hopes to raise $100,000 in its 32-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. Early backers can enjoy the black Me-Mover for only $899 or $999 with their choice of color. Reward tiers go all the way up to $6,000 with expected delivery dates of August and October 2014. For $25 backers can vote on different add-ons they’d like to see with this product. Different levels of stretch goals (which go up to $1.3 million) include developing the most popular voted add-on as well as a luggage rack, custom parts and an Android and IOS exercise app.

The Potential. Me-Mover’s sleekness and versatility will certainly make it a worthy alternative to the bicycle. Other products have tried to come match to the convenience of a bicycle, but rarely get close, much like the Halfbike. Me-Mover’s add-ons, portability and ease-of-use make it a strong contender in the eco-friendly transportation market.

Smart Home

AngelBlocks reduces cost and complexity of the smart home

editors-choiceThe Premise. Home automation, until this point, has focused primarily on controlling basic devices such as switches and outlets. There’s plenty of other devices that, if connected to the Internet of things, would improve day to day life. Connected smart homes makes life more efficient, so it’s time that to raise the IQ of more appliances in the home.

The Product. AngelBlocks is looking to make the smart home go beyond typical light and appliance control. There’s a range of 13 different sensors that notify, monitor and control different aspects of the house to make life more comfortable. These range from temperature and humidity sensors, to motion sensors, to moisture sensors for plants, and even automated locks. These are the building blocks that learn from your everyday lifestyle and adapt to make your life easier. They have an incredible range of 1,000 feet indoors and two miles outdoors, which a staggering battery life of five years. AngelBlocks are now compatible with the Zigbee and Z-Wave low-power wireless protocols, which should open the door to even more functionality. It’s also compatible with the Ninja Sphere by the makers of AngelBlocks’ crowdfunded predecessor, Ninja Blocks.

The Pitch. More intelligence is beginning to make their way into more homes as smart devices proliferate. Still, the limit of the intelligence of a house is limited by what the user is aware of. In AngelBlocks’ video, creator Steve Montgomery narrates different sketches and examples of AngelBlocks in real-life situations to really begin to expand horizons of human imagination in regard to Smart Homes. If you still have questions about the way a Smart Home can benefit your everyday life, the AngelBlocks does a very good job of explaining just that.

The Perks. The starter kit is really everything you need to get started, all for just $149. In that early bird package, which is expected to be delivered in August 2014, includes an AngelGate, AngelTag, one OutletBlock, and two RCOutlets. These devices have many different applications around the house, and there are some interesting ideas listed out on AngelBlocks’ Kickstarter page that are worth checking out. There are different sensors that can be added on, and those prices are listed as well, but if you want one of each, the price tag is $699.

The Potential. AngelBlocks takes a naming and some broader functionality cues from Kickstarter alum Ninja Blocks (which has also returned to the crowdfunding site again with the intriguing Arduino-based MicroView). However, AngelBlocks’ approach is far more refined. While not necessarily enough to help  home automation break through to the masses, it represents a well-executed approach that succeeds in its goal of raising the overall IQ of a household that support many inviting applications.

Furniture Organization

Smart Furniture hides table, chairs as bookcase piping

Smart Furniture  20140326124332-dezeen_As-If-From-Nowhere-by-Orla-Reynolds_5[1]Perhaps every home owner’s main complaint about their home after living in it a few years is not enough space. Of course, that could easily apply to a dorm room, apartment or even a teenager’s bedroom. The very clever Smart Furniture offers a unique solution to creating more space in small environments. The bookcase holds colorful chairs and a table that seamlessly slide in for storage and out when ready to use. Cushions are also available for setting up the storage area as more comfortable benches. The chairs, however, are pretty spartan and probably wouldn’t be comfortable for extended periods. For $55, a backer gets the complete product, but you will have to assemble it yourself. Expected delivery is May 2014.

Health and Wellness Watches and Jewelry

Dog Tag Pill Box lets you carry meds on a chain

Dog Tag Pill Box  97a54248737b91db2115ffa16053c03d_large[1]As if being tied to a prescription isn’t inconvenient enough, there is also the added annoyance of having to carry it around if you are on-the-go a lot. A pill box is one option, or if you don’t mind carrying your meds around via modified dog tags, that is now also an option. The passion that the developer of The Dog Tag Pill Box shines through as he makes an off-the-cuff appeal for his pill holder. It’s being developed in multiple metals with a potential Italian leather interior and  remains securely sealed with neodymium magnets. However, it’s definitely straddles the jewelry category with a price tag $34 when you can buy even a swank pocket pill box for far less. Expected delivery is July 2014.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

SmartMat welcomes visitors into your smart home

The Premise. How many things pass through a front door step in a typical day? A door mat never gets to rest with packages, family and pets constantly making their way to the front door. There’s be value in a product that could keep a constant eye out, particularly if it were literally just underfoot.

The Product. The device is called the SmartMat, and it lies under your normal door mat. The Wi-Fi connected sensor can be customized with your smartphone or computer to respond to different types of triggers that respond to changes in weight input on the mat. If your pet wants to be let in to the house, an alert will be sent to your phone as they wait patiently on the SmartMat. It can even distinguish different waits to identify which users use the front door. The SmartMat also seamlessly integrates with other smart home devices, so you become immersed in your connected home even before you step through the front door.

The Pitch. There’s nothing fancy about the SmartMat video—just Dr. Andrew Clark, a tripod, and the product. Clark takes viewers step-by-step through each part of the SmartMat to explain how it works to customers. He demonstrates the simplicity of setting up the mat for use, but the video never shows the application or the mat in a real life situation. This leaves a lot up to the customer speculation as to just how well it works, which isn’t a great sign for a crowdfunded project

The Perks. The standard SmartMat comes at a price of $75 for the priority shipment (expected delivery around June 2014), and the price will rise to $99 with an expected delivery date of August 2014 after that. There’s also a SmartMat with Controllable AC option that controls the house climate controls by using a Wi-Fi AC power strip that responds to a trigger on the mat. This option comes with a $145 price tag, which will eventually rise to $169.

The Potential. There are other sensor mats already available on the market, but that’s not the entire issue. While the idea is useful, there is other technology that can do the job much better. Try this for example: Set up a connected motion-sensing camera in view of your front door step. Any movement will send an alert to your phone, and from anywhere in the world, you’ll be able to see exactly who or what is at your front door step with absolute certainty. This is more durable, not to mention cheaper, than the SmartMat and you get way more out of it as well. That said, the Smart Mat might be an option in, say, apartment buildings where there is no visible access to the front door and might be a better option for pets and packages that would be outside a camera’s field of view.