Cell Phone Accessories Tablet Accessories

Holho holograms float animated images atop your tablet display

The Premise. From Star Trek to Coachella, people have been waiting for the day that holograms become a staple in every home. The technology has existed in primitive forms for decades, but it’s always been too costly and complicated for personal use.

The Product. The Holho Full Pyramid can take any smartphone or tablet and turn it into a hologram projector without any modifications or complex installations.  By simply placing the full pyramid on the device’s screen in cooperation with the proprietary Holho app, any image or video properly converted can be displayed inside the pyramid and becomes fully rotatable.

The Pitch. A series of videos displays how the Holho system works on both smartphones and tablets and how owners can even make their own hologram version of Star Wars with a little movie magic. Imagination Farm which already has a Web site going for the product, seeks 8,500 euros to complete the project: the cost of a steel mold, pre-ordering the pyramid base in multiple colors, and finishing the companion app.

The Perks. Twenty-five euros gets you a Holho Full Pyramid for a smartphone, the app, and 4 videos for use with the app available as early as April or May of this year. €50 offers the same reward but for a larger Pyramid designed for 10” tablet screens. Additional money can be spent on purchasing more videos for use with the app or multiple Pyramids. For €438, Holho will create a video of a rotating cube with photos or videos of your choosing on its sides. Distributors can reserve 50 smartphone-sized Pyramids and 50 tablet-sized pyramids for €3,250

The Potential. While it’s certainly a low-tech solution to the absence of holograms in the home, the Holho system is a long way off from having Tupac do that concert in your living room that you’ve always wanted. The need for it to be used in conjunction with a smartphone or tablet at all times also prevents it from being used as a long-term decoration when you’ll undoubtedly need that device for something else. The high cost of the simple videos and thin novelty means that this product probably won’t revolutionize entertainment, but it could definitely be an interesting gift idea for that friend you met in the holodeck.

Technology Toys

Sabertron lets the foam be with you with illuminated scored swordplay

editors-choiceThe Premise. You may have seen them dressed up like knights or monsters, waging epic battles in your local city park. For years, foam combat enthusiasts and LARPers have been getting together for sparring, but have mostly had to rely on the honor system to determine a winner until now.

The Product.  LevelUp’s Sabertron is a foam sword combat game that is looking to bring 21st century innovation to 16th combat. Beneath the humble foam exterior is a polycarbonate plastic core housing an accelerometer to detect hits, LEDs to display player damage, and a speaker to output the sounds of combat. Five different game types are available and sensitivity settings can be adjusted by the players to even the fight.

The Pitch. The campaign video explains the technology behind the game while backdropped by demonstrations and battles. It also introduces the basic game rules, lay out planned expansion for the line (including body armor and helmets that will open the game up to be played on more than a one-on-one level), and project lead David Lynch explains the project’s genesis. There are also plenty of photos that range from scrapped prototype ideas to future possibilities, a look at the technology inside each sword, and a companion Web site already developed. LevelUp is looking to raise $195,000, which will help it finalize a market-ready design, conduct safety testing, and get the swords ready for store sale. If the project reaches $400,000, the stretch goals decree that the faux swords will be equipped with a rechargeable lithium ion battery that can be charged via MicroUSB.

The Perks. At $99, backers will get a pair of Sabertron swords. The pre-release batch set to ship in August 2014 is already sold out, but backers can still pledge the same amount to get a pair of the medieval-style swords delivered by September. Sci-fi fans can get a pair of illuminated swords in the color of their choice for $125, while a model where colors can be changed on the fly is priced at $199 for a pair.

The Potential. Sabertron is designed to bring laser tag-style uniformity and gamesmanship to foam combat sports. While weekend wizards and warriors might be reluctant to give up the DIY craftsmanship they’ve practiced for so long, this would be a great way to interest new people to try out their various games. Sold in toy stores, this could easily become a high-ticket must-have item for this year’s holiday season.

Food and Beverage Health and Wellness

Drink E-Z helps patients, sucks lazy into sedentary Wall-E future

The Premise. Whether it’s as a result of oral surgery, injury or old age, many people have trouble making use of the common straw as a beverage delivery system. Also, some people are thirsty and want to exert as little effort as possible to fix that problem.

The Product. Drink E-Z reinvents something as simple as the drinking straw in a way to make the process easier for those who need help drinking or need to avoid creating suction in the mouth. Made up of four interlocking parts and operated by three AA batteries, the Drink E-Z looks like your standard to-go cup aside from the tantalizing red button at the cup’s base. This button activates a food-grade micro pump that propels your drink up through the straw and brings it right to your lips. The whole thing tears down just as easily for cleaning and works with all but the thickest of drinks. (We’re looking at you, Shamrock Shake.)

The Pitch. Inventor Damjan Madjar introduces the Drink E-Z and its uses, how it improves the lives of the infirm, and explains the simple but effective design. A second video, featuring a dentist, gives an endorsement for the Drink E-Z and how it can help reduce infections in post-operative patients. The campaign is looking for $65,000 to finalize the design and make the injection molds. Looking past the campaign, the team already has a placeholder domain registered and a Facebook group for fans to get updates.

The Perks. $35 will get you your very own Drink E-Z (batteries included) when it launches in June 2014. Higher-tier perks increase the quantity of cups for each order. By simple multiplication, the $350 tier is worth 10 Drink E-Z cups. However, this tier also gives backers the chance to brand the cups with a company logo. La-Z-Boy might be a good one. The highest $850 tier gives retailers a pack of 50 to sell on their store shelves.

The Potential. The market for a self-sucking straw seems fairly specialized among those who truly need it and the inspiringly lazy. It’s not outside the realm of possibility to expect dentists and oral surgeons to recommend these to patients and they could very well be found in your local pharmacy after launch. This does appear to be a truly unique idea, but despite what the campaign and its videos suggest, it seems a little far-fetched to expect to see someone lounging on the beach enjoying a drink at the press of a button when the straw is already in their mouth.

Video Games

Nano Vapor provides affordable Steam Box platform

The Premise. The Steam Box platform is gearing up to offer top-of-the-line PC gaming experiences in the living room with set up and convenience similar to that of your standard gaming console.  One of the apparent strengths of the Steam Box/Steam Machines platform is its flexibility – there are already at least a dozen proposed models, each offering different components, different designs, tailored to fit any budget, any gamer’s requirements, and any entertainment center.

The Product. The Nano Vapor looks to hit the low end of two of those. The Vapor is designed to be small and convenient, both to set up and to purchase. Though it looks small, it’s packing serious heat under the hood currently operating with a 3.8 GHz quad-core processor, a Radeon 7750 graphics card, and plenty of RAM and storage. Any USB controller is expected to be supported, whether it’s an Xbox 360, PS3, or Steam Controller, or a good old keyboard and mouse.

The Pitch. The campaign is asking for a mere $5,000  (The company needs only 10 system pre-orders to move forward with production?) The campaign is designed to help the company pay for the system’s cooling units and to 3D print the prototype cases, in addition to funding the designers’ hunger for pizza as well as innovation. The price point of the Nano Vapor is expected to go up as they the device moves closer to production, so early adopters are getting in on a discount. There are no marketing materials yet aside from an early render of what the system looks like – a router with lots of vents.

The Perks. The project creators are keeping it simple. The $499 tier is both the highest reward tier and the lowest tier that offers a Nano Vapor at this time. Included in the cost is an HDMI cable to connect it to a TV, but no controller for the system.

The Potential. For the price, this is a solid, competitively priced performance option for gamers looking to get a Steam Box without paying full gaming PC prices. While it seems pretty commonplace to imagine seeing it on shelves of electronic, gaming, and department stores, it’s not without competition. Not only are there going to be scores of SteamBox models, but companies like CyberpowerPC and iBuyPower have announced models with similar power, and size at identical price point. The Nano Vapor could take off, but the company will have to figure out a way to stand out from the crowd, and really ought to try and bundle some kind of controller to compete.