Music Networking

Hidden HUB plays any music anywhere while you’re there, pauses when you leave home

editors-choiceIt says something about the allure of crowdfunding platforms that companies that have had initial success (and sometimes not initial success) go back to the well when they have updated or new projects. That’s already been proven out by the team behind Hidden Radio — one of the first of the now ubiquitous portable Bluetooth speakers — and its sequel, the HiddenRadio 2.

But they’re now up for something that is — if not completey different — a big step up from the modest audio quality of its smartphone companions with the Hidden HUB. The circular, omnidirectional speaker uses larger speakers to create a more room-filling sound. Like its predecessors, can take advantage of virtually any online music source. However, it supports a number of new connection methods, including DLNA and Apple’s AirPlay  as well as tapping its own standard for creating Sonos-like multi-room audio.

The HUB can also connect to HiddenRadios to add an extra burst of audio around the home. And in keeping with the deisgners tradition, it can be controlled with simple touch controls on its surface. HUB owners can mount it on the wall and the video even shows it being used as a home theater speaker. But they can also use it untethered and outdoors (in nice weather) with its 12-hour battery — even at night when its subtle LED underlighting would stand out most.

Connected Objects Networking

The Egg shows if your shared files are all they’re cracked up to be

Although we live in a world saturated with powerful pocket devices, it’s often surprisingly difficult to get a simple file from one device to another. We have to contnd with multiple connection methods, multiple operating systems and multiple apps — sometimes even multiple authentication tags.

The Egg (by Eggcyte, naturally) is — true to its name — an egg-shaped device that acts as a personal server. Mobile devices such as iPhones, iPads and Android devices connect to The Egg to receive and send files sent by other mobile devices via a Web browser or companion app. It can also be used to stream HD movies that can take up a lot of room on a phone; the company claims 10 to 12 hours of battery life. Unlike some other products, The Egg can also be attached directly to PCs via USB and also be accessed remotely from home.

Connected Objects Imaging

XY Share It squares up photos with your circle of friends

Since the dawn of the digital camera and years into the smartphones imaging revolution that launched billions of photos around the Internet, syncing up photos with friends, family and fellow party guests is a game of jumping through digital hoops using a barrage of services with different tradeoffs: Facebook, Dropbox, Google Photos, iCloud photo sharing and on and on.

XY Share It offers a twist on photo sharing that addresses the sometimes surprisingly difficulty in sharing photos with mobile devices that may be right next to you. By introducing a small Bluetooth gadget similar to the locator tags (such as the one created by the company) that have deluged crowdfunding platforms, one can easily and securely share photo with those who have the tag. Essentially, the small squareish device acts as an authentication device.

Connected Objects Food and Beverage

Eazyshot dispenser keeps the good times simply flowing

Large and sophisticated robot bartenders have been featured on commercials for cruise ships, but simpler and less expensive models are making a pitch to be the next countertop appliance. Many of them seek to make a wide variety of drinks, even employing Keurig-like pods for cocktails.

Eazyshot, though, keeps it simple with a limited range of shots in its egg-like form. Liquors are filled up in its refillable tube-like reservoirs to make variations of “Mexicans” and “Bombers” from the tap of a companion app. The device can even function as a Bluetooth speaker to kep the party tunes accompanying the party. The Eazyshot is expected to retail for about  $495 but early bird rewards have started at about $345. The campaign is seeking $65,000 CAD (about $49,137) by September 24th.

The best part of Eazyshot is its portability, including the ability to run on battery power. Its smaller size means it can’t make the variety of drinks of other bartender bots, but — let’s face it — these are something of a novelty right now anyway.


Indie hardware market Grand St. shuts down on 10/1

Device companies have cause to celebrate when they’re successfully funded and often cause to scramble while they make they make the thing. But then there’s the business of selling the thing beyond the backers. Grand St. was an early company to create a marketplace for independently created gadgets. facilitating connections between products that had been successfully crowdfunded and new buyers.

The company had a chance to jump from the digital to the physical world when it won an opportunity to have a popup store on New York’s Lower East Side (not far from Manhattan’s Grand St.). It was acquired by crafts marketplace Etsy the following month and its staff likely had a role in developing Etsy’s Fund program that the company launched in June. Grand St, offered items that were ready to ship, available for preorder, and in development (Beta). But its marketplace is shutting down as of October 1st. It will still offer items for sale until that date. The Grand St. site lists nearly 270 device makers that it worked with.

Other marketplaces have cropped up for crowdfunded gadgets. These have included Indiegogo itself with its InDemand program, Amazon Launchpad, and Crowd Supply has also sold products funded on its site since its founding.

Displays Tech Accessories

NoonWear One lets you see your screens in the bright sun

The screens on today’s smartphones, tablets and laptops produce vibrant, saturated colors — that is, as long as they’re not directly in the path of the sun. Trying to fight the greatest light source for millions of miles is a tough battle to win and so screens become washed out and hard to read.

While most sunglasses only make the problem worse by blocking half of a laptop’s emitted light, Noonwear One provides a new approach to this problem with a line of sunglasses that create a dramatic improvement in screen visibility. The specs use diagonal polarization to allow light from electronic screens to come through better while still blocking sunlight.

Cell Phone Accessories Imaging

ScopeCam uses your phone’s better camera for selfies

Today’s smartphones put incredible photo taking capabilities in a device that’s always at home in a pocket. Their front-facing cameras have spawned millions of selfies. But the sad secret about these narcissistic snapshots is that the front cameras of almost all smartphones lag significantly behind their rear cameras in terms of resolution even as smartphone companies are steadily improving selfie features.

ScopeCam is a simple phone device that clips on to a smartphone, allowing you to use its rear camera to take forward-facing shots. This gives you the best of both selfie worlds, being able to use the big screen of the phone to frame the photo and the full power of the camera to take the photo — well, almost the full power as there’s no way to turn the flash to the front of the phone.

Sleep Travel

JetComfy props up your head through the long flight

Airplanes may be the places people spend the most time trying to sleep in a seated position. To make matters worse, passengers are usually jostled due to turbulence. This poses the double challenge of trying to achieve comfort while keeping the head steady when it tends to droop.

The JetComfy is the latest in a line of flight sleep aids — many of them fairly awkwardlooking — that seek to provide head comfort to the weary traveler. While many of these pillows steady the head by surrounding the neck, the JetComfy takes a unique approach by including a telescoping arm that attaches to the airline seat. This props up the memory foam pillow part of the device up to head level.


Sensel Morph force-sensitive input pad pushes past keyboards and trackpads

The keyboard and trackpad are cornerstones of mobile productivity, but they take up a lot of room. We’ve already seen one crowdfunding approach to combining them but the combination isn’t necessarily greater than the sum of their parts.

The Sensel Morph is a Bluetooth touch input device that’s sensitive to pressure — so sensitive, in fact, that it can pick up the bristles of a paintbrush with its 20,000 embedded sensors. The company is taking advantage of its versatile surface by making available a series of magnetic overlays that have raised surfaces. Some of the first are a DJ control pad, a typing keyboard, a music keyboard, a drum pad and game controller.

Cell Phone Accessories

DreamMe has your smartphone display dancing on the ceiling

For many smartphone owners, the alarm clock has become yet another device that the versatile device has replaced alongside the camera, camcorder, music player, navigation device and even flashlight. After all, one generally has to charge it at night. Why not keep it at bedside? But there’s at least one alarm clock feature used by some that smartphones couldn’t answer — the ability to project the time on the ceiling.

DreamMe is a lens that’s designed to sit atop your smartphone’s screen at bedtime. When used with its companion app, it can outdo projection alarm clocks by projecting a range of things on the ceiling, including the time in different cities, weather, social media or other messages. DreamMe requires no batteries or other power to do its thing. The device can be manually focused by twisting its halves. DreamMe’s creator seeks $10, 872 by September 23rd. DreamMe can be topping your smartphone for €18 (about $20) with the devices slated to be shipped in December.

The DreamMe is a clever little accessory that will fill a gap for what has proven to be a resilient alarm clock feature Its versatility could be a bit of a drawback as a social media stream, for instance, might do more to keep one awake than keep one asleep. But of course that’s up to the owner.