Home Technology

UVe uses UV light to clean countertops

Most people use cleaning fluids to clean off their kitchen counters. But the chemicals in those cleaning solutions can be dangerous, especially for people with asthma and other breathing conditions.

UVe is a device that uses UV light to disinfect kitchen counters and other surfaces in the home and can operate whether the user is home or away. No dangerous chemicals are needed. Although it’s basically a countertop version of the Roomba, UVe can also be used to eliminate germs on hard floors and any other flat surface large enough for it to safely move around on, including hardwood, tiles, stone, concrete and foam floor mats, its maker says. The device also features smart ledge detection that enables it to know when it’s reached the edge of a counter. UVe is being sold to Kickstarter backers at the early bird price of $89 and will cost $99 after that special pricing, which, according to the campaign, is still cheaper than the undisclosed planned retail price . UVe will ship in November. Its maker has set a Kickstarter goal of raising $50,000 by Aug. 11.

UVe should appeal to many consumers globally. But customers outside the U.S. will, at least initially, have to supply their own plug adapter because it will ship only with a charger designed for the U.S. The charger can accept 110-volt and 220-volt input, so buyers outside the U.S. won’t need a voltage converter/transformer, according to the campaign.





Smart Home

Drop connected buoy makes a splash by continuosly monitoring your pool

While a pool is a perfect antidote to a hot, sticky day, maintaining it over the long-term can quickly prove to be a hassle. Keeping its water balanced is a tricky game requiring the right amount of the right products at the right to ensure quality. However, balancing kits can be involved and unclear, leaving owners unsure of what to do.

The drop Wi-Fi connected pool monitor is a solar-power buoy that continuously monitors the temperature, pH, and chlorine levels of a pool. With this information, the iOS/Android drop app can create custom maintenance plans complete with recommendations on which products should be purchased, and how often they should be used. drop takes the guesswork of maintaining up to three pools for up to a week without sun with the option of maintaining more for $9 a month. In addition, an accelerometer inside detects suspicious movement too, sending a smartphone alert when it does. Backers can expect their own drop by June 2016 for $199. Drop Designs Inc. is hoping to raise $100,000 by July 9th, 2016.

With ideas like drop and the Quack Vac out in the wild, it’s never been easier to take care of a pool. drop offers users just enough valuable information to make it worthwhile, with a solar panel truly making the product you can set and forget.


FLIXI frame let you hang your pics without a single tool

Even if the majority of photos taken ultimately live on the Internet, there is still a place for them in the home. Sure, Facebook and Instagram let us swarm the globe with the everyday, but special moments deserve a more prominent and permanent location.

To make framing and hanging photos an experience that rivals hitting a Share button in its ease, Montreal-based design studio Toboggan created FLIXI. Its Wall Snap system — comprised of four springy feet, double-sided adhesive tape, and an integrated level (perhaps overkill) — lets users quickly search for a place on a wall, ensure a level frame, and set it all under a minute. Slowly pulling on a pull tab within detaches it from the wall without a trace. FLIXI frames come in a variety of sizes (4X6, 5X7, and 8X10) and colors, all of which can also stand upright or connect together to make a two-sided hinged frame or a mobile. The many options FLIXI offers naturally lends itself to many display ideas, all of which can be worked out online through the Web app Toboggan offers.


AllBe1 offers one for all in a palm-sized personal security system

Several portable security devices have either reached the market or been introduced on one of the crowdfunding sites, including the multi-function Tye.

patent-claimedBut AllBe1 is out to top them all, offering about 10 features in one small device with multiple sensors. Those functions are each available to the user via mobile device apps: an out-of-range lockdown mechanism that will prevent anybody else from accessing one’s mobile device when the user steps away, a fitness/steps tracker, the ability to track people or pets, a car alarm, drawer opening detection, theft detection, and the ability to send alerts when the user’s body needs more sun exposure or less. AllBe1 also offers a smart button that can be used to alert somebody at a pre-set number if the user senses danger.

Automotive Connected Objects

Vinli brings apps, cellular connections to your ride

There have been several onboard diagnostics (OBD) devices for cars introduced already. Some have focused on a single main function. In the case of GoFar, for example, it was fuel efficiency.

Vinli seems a bit more ambitious, coming with a wide range of apps. It’s an OBD-II device that’s been designed to quickly transform any older vehicle into a smart car. The device adds Wi-Fi to a vehicle using T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network, allowing the car to always be connected. Like other OBD-II devices, its maker is stressing how easy it is to set up, saying it takes only seconds to connect it to a car’s data port located under the dashboard. Drivers can then use the connection to stream media and send data.


Input Music

The Oval percussion instrument rounds out digital music making

For many, the idea of learning a musical instrument inspires fear and dread. As such, many make attempts at smoothing the learning curve associated with it by using technology to rethink everything instruments can do. The Oval digital music instrument continues that trend in an effort to empower anyone to both learn and play music.

The Oval is inspired by the Hang, a percussion instrument based on the physical principals as the steelpan. The instrument sits on the lap, and is covered in a circular ring of seven multi-sensing, pressure-sensitive pads, with a single pad in the middle. Its MIDI-compliant design gives users the choice to use Oval with its iOS/Android app, or any other music creation software like Ableton. No matter the choice, a user can change the type of instrument being played, change scales, add effects, loop sounds live, and even upload their own sounds.


Backerjack Podcast #20: Catching Thoughts and Generating Buzz

In Episode 20 of the Backerjack Podcast, guest host Michael Rose and Ross check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders:’

  • Myle Tap, a Bluetooth microphone that captures your thoughts on the go and can route them to a wide range of apps.
  • Doppel, a watch-like device that rhythmically buzzes your wrist to calm you down or rev you up..

Download the episode or play it below, subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and follow Backerjack on Twitter and Facebook.

Connected Objects Food and Beverage

Yecup will keep ye drink warm, notifieth ye smartphone

Show of hands: who’s felt like a fool returning to a cup of cool coffee or tea after forgetting it was made in the first place? Pretty much all of us.

The Yecup is Bluetooth-connected tumbler that can either keep warm or boil up to 10oz of liquid, seeks to avoid such a sad scenario. An iOS or Android app is available to set the preferred mode, check the temperature of the drink, and send smartphone notifications when it’s ready. The Yecup concerns itself with more than just liquids, though. By using its built-in 6000mAh battery, users can power other devices, like smartphones. And when that smartphone is charged up, the Yecup’s selfie button will help satisfy those narcissistic, yet satisfyingly quenched, tendencies. A Yecup will set backers back $80, with an expected ship date of November 2015. The team behind Yecup is hoping to raise $40,000 by July 20th, 2015.

While mugs capable of keeping drinks warm exist, they require a constant source of energy and thus need to be plugged in. They don’t, however, boil drinks like the Yecup and its most similar rival, the Hey Joe Coffee Mug, do. The former features its own battery for external devices, a selfie button, and a dedicated app; the latter can brew its own tea and coffee. The choice comes down to each consumer’s specific needs, as both products are extremely handy.

Smart Home

Ola uses touch sensor, fingerprints to rock the smart lock

Smart locks have become one of the more popular components of the smart home product category. The one drawback of some of them is that they rely on the user accessing a smartphone app in order to open up a door, and that can sometimes take a while –- especially if the smartphone is buried at the bottom of somebody’s bag or, worse, the phone has been forgotten somewhere.

Ola is a smart lock that uses Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity and capacitive fingerprint technology that makes it not only a keyless solution, but also a phoneless one. It’s able to store up to 1,700 fingerprints and takes less than one second to open the door once the fingerprints are read by the touch sensor, according to its maker. Ola is powered by four AA batteries and doesn’t require a Wi-Fi connection, so it will continue to work even if the power goes out. It costs $179 as part of its Kickstarter campaign and will ship in March. Retail pricing hasn’t been set, but is expected to be about 30 percent higher, said its maker, who set a campaign goal of raising $125,000 by July 23.

Ola is bound to appeal to a wide audience. Although it doesn’t require a smartphone for users to open a door with the smart lock, there is an app for Android and iOS devices (and soon Windows) to facilitate registration for new users. The “masters” of the house can also use the app to give or deny access to guests or manually unlock the door via Bluetooth. The only minor drawback is that it’s water resistant, but not waterproof, so if it’s submerged in water for an extended period of time that would break the electronic components of the lock. Its maker also warns that it’s best to dry off one’s fingers before opening the lock because water can impact the sensor’s ability to recognize fingerprints.


Eedu educational kit lets you roll your own drone

The military, commercial, and extreme sport applications of drone technology have dominated news headlines and drone feature sets for the past few years. As such, this versatile technology’s reputation has been reduced to either a war machine or a camera with wings.

Skyworks Aerial Systems gives people a chance to explore all sorts of drone possibilities with its Eedu drone assembly kit. Contained inside the Eedu kit are all the tools and parts necessary to put it together, so new users can assemble and start programming quickly while more intrepid users can opt to install their own hardware. While the drone is compatible with a wide array of open source hardware, it isn’t necessary to use them. The company’s Intel Edison-powered LUCI drone controller has all the hardware and sensors to act as its brains and still be open to expansion for more varied use.