Maker/Development Sensors/IoT

MATRIX’s sensor platform seeks to be The One for the Internet of Things

editors-choiceSmartphones are so ubiquitous because just one replaces a wide variety of real-world objects. This has yet to happen to in the world of Internet of Things. Instead, more and more companies create more hardware that do different things, and therefore, introduce more fragmentation. This makes things difficult for the developers and end-users who would have been clamoring for a standard that could simplify the entire IoT experience.

By applying the lessons learned from what the smartphone did for the real world, the folks at AdMobilize have designed MATRIX. Just as a smartphone combined a number of capabilities into one, slim package, MATRIX’s 15 different, embedded sensors do the same — just for the home or business.

Accents Connected Objects Maker/Development

With The Light Clock, it’s always time to light up

LEDs are everywhere these days, including inside our TVs and the Sunn smart light fixture.

The Light Clock finds another usage for them, featuring colored LEDs instead of normal clock hands to tell the time. The lights, which are placed around the clock’s perimeter, create a neon-like underlighting effect. Colors on the wall clock can be customized using Wi-Fi and a mobile/Web app available for computers, iOS and Android to match the user’s room décor or their mood. The device uses 120 LEDs to tell the time and each of those LEDs is able to display more than 16 million colors, according to its Kickstarter campaign.


$99 pi-topCEED desktop combines STEM learning with radical affordability

The STEM dreams of children around the world are being awoken and nurtured by the stream of educational devices aimed at teaching these children how to code. The team behind their self-titled runaway Indiegogo hit Pi-Top laptop is back with a second product that looks to lower the barrier of entry even further while dealing with its chunkiness a bit more effectively.

The pi-topCEED is the first $99 Raspberry Pi desktop featuring a 13.3″ HD screen, a 180° degree hinge for greater viewing angels, and a front-facing slide-away panel that allows access to the circuitry within. The unit comes with a Raspberry Pi 2 pre-installed with pi-top OS, an OS built by makers for maker that includes key functionality like brightness control along with gaming in the form of Minecraft and educational programs like Scratch and CEEDUniverse, a MMORPG that teaches circuit and programming basics.

Cell Phone Accessories Imaging Maker/Development

PIXELIO uses a smartphone or GoPro for an all-in-one 3D scanner

With 3D printers inching their way towards ubiquity, 3D scanners will rise in popularity alongside them. As of right now, though, there aren’t very many solutions for scanning, outside of the occasional Pouff3D every now and then. Smart3D Ltd. is hoping it’s PIXELIO all-in-one 3D scanner will catch people’s attention due to its usefulness and versatility.

The PIXELIO’s main draw is a universal cradle that can hold onto a smartphone or GoPro camera while it slowly pans around an object placed in its center to create high-quality, 360° scans or timelapses. PIXELIO employs Virtual Finger technology in the universal holder to replicate the feel of a skin with a bit of graphene to release the virtual shutter on smartphones, a clever invention for what could’ve been a huge issue.


Your kids will fill the brain of the creepy Ohbot2 robot head

Introducing young learners to concepts of coding and robotics are noble efforts, increasingly becoming more necessary as time passes with society’s growing dependency on technology.

Ohbot’s Ohbot2 is a robotic face with seven different servo motors that control parts such as its eyeballs and mouth. The creators envision its use a personable interface kids will instantly attach to and then program using Ohbot2’s simple, graphical programming interface. It may not be C+ or Python, but that’s not important: Ohbot2’s use in classrooms with young learners gives kids the fun, engaging opportunity to see how code affects real objects rather than regulating it to abstract environments.


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.


Form-Mate vacuum former gives your vacuum cleaner something else to do

Model makers, DIY enthusiast, and those dabbling in 3D printing have a need to create plastic copies quickly. For this, most use the simple process of vacuum forming, or the heating and stretching of a thermoforming sheet over a previously created mould. What isn’t simple at all or the current vacuum forming machines available, which can be large, complex, and expensive.

The Form-Mate is a vacuum forming machine on a diet, even if it’s 24 kg weight doesn’t seem so slim.  A bunch of features make it worth using, though., These include compatibility with household vacuum cleaners, customizable and savable settings, and ability to be folded. The Form-Mate is priced at $544, and is expected to be delivered by August 2015. Its $5,444 campaign goal is looking to be funded by July 22, 2015.

Compared to other vacuum forming machines, the Form-Mate offers improvement in many different areas; it can replicate a large variety of items due to its size. Even with this considered, this is a very niche product that will have trouble reaching its small target audience.


Musio robot may be music to the ears of AI fans, kids

The most widely-used personal assistant application remains Apple’s Siri. But, as many iPhone and iPad users know, it is pretty difficult to engage in a true conversation with Siri because its software can only do what it’s been programmed to do by Apple.

Musio is a cross between a robotic toy along the lines of Sony’s long-discontined AIBO and a personal assistant. The Android-based device features artificial intelligence and was designed to engage and grow with its user, while its Arduino-compatible board enables the device to do whatever the user asks, its maker says. It is being fielded in three separate versions, each featuring a different brain.

Kids/Babies Maker/Development Toys

MakerBloks snaps a fun STEM introduction together for kids

In the United States, introducing STEM topics to kids has faced many challenges in part because the way its done isn’t engaging enough. No one ever said these topics have to be boring, though.

MakerBloks answers the call with electronic components wrapped in bright, colorful casing that easily snap together to make electronic circuits. With the help of a companion tablet app featuring teaching aids and games, children can create a variety of projects like keyboards, burglar alarms, and memory games. Real electronic symbols are used on each block to familiarize children early on so that electronic schematics won’t prove to be a challenge later on. A full kit of 36 MakerBloks and an iPad stand goes for $159, with a ship date slated for November 2015. The campaign is hoping to raise $20,652 by June 16th, 2015.

MakerBloks’ presentation and connection with gaming combine offline and online worlds in a meaningful way, no doubt drawing kids in and keeping them hooked while facilitating a great learning experience at the same time. Keen-eyed readers will see some similarities between MakerBloks and littleBits, another block-based electronics system that is a great step up for the children who master sets like MakerBloks and are seeking more challenging interactions.

Maker/Development Video Games

Play the specters of gaming past with the Spectrocade Raspberry Pi mini-arcade cabinet

Although they may be known as retro games, many people even today still harbor a deep fondness for them. Titles like Ms. Pac-Man, Space Invaders, and Galaga quicken heartbeats in remembrance of the many hours spent dumping quarters into machines attempting to get the highest score.

While there exists many ways for someone to get their retro gaming fix, Spectrum Technology Solutions is looking to give people another choice with its Spectrocade. The product is a miniature arcade cabinet equipped to work together with a Rapsberry Pi, making it wholly customizable in which games can be emulated, no matter the availability. This isn’t the case for those who may use popular mini arcade cabinets that work with iPads or similar tablets, as their app stores may not have what they’re looking for. However, that flexibility comes at the price of simplicity; $541 is a lot pricier than those toys. It’s slated to ship in August 2015. Spectrum Technology Solutions is hoping to raise $22,000 by June 17th, 2015.

The Spectrocade gets points for working with a Raspberry Pi, but is unimaginative and priced like it isn’t. In addition, a lack of headphone jack or even a fourth button on the pad are obvious design flaws that should be included. The use of acrylic as the product’s material of choice rather than something else a bit more environmentally friendly rounds out a spotty execution.