Connected Objects Safety

RoboRanger serves as your personal safety device

Portable safety devices can come in really handy when there is an emergency. But many of them require being tethered to another device or Bluetooth connection to a smartphone, which a lot of consumers –- especially senior citizens – don’t often have.

RoboRanger is a water-resistant personal safety device that features a loud, 130-decibel alarm, around-the-clock monitoring, and friends/family notification. It also has a standalone connection to 911 and provides 24/7 coverage virtually anywhere in the world, its makers say. Plus, it connects directly to GSM and GPS without a smartphone or other device. It requires one simple motion to activate during an emergency situation: users just have to pull its pin and that will activate the alarm and transmit the user’s exact location to a professional 911 response team.

Home Safety

Saver could be a lifesaver if a fire starts in your home

editors-choiceMany consumers classify the smoke detector as a must-have product for their homes. But just because a smoke detector goes off and everybody hears it doesn’t necessarily mean that they will be able to get out of their homes before inhaling smoke, which is the cause of death in many home fires.

patent-claimedThe Saver Emergency Breath System is a small, personal device that enables users to breathe clean air in the event of a fire. The device can be activated in less than five seconds, according to its Indiegogo campaign. It was designed with a triple filter system that its maker says removes toxic gases for up to five minutes.

Each Saver costs $69. For another $30, consumers can opt for a version that includes a flashlight to help see through smoke and a built-in alarm for others to know where the person wearing it is. Each will ship in July. Saver’s maker is hoping to raise $50,000 by June 26.

It’s hard to tell from the campaign video exactly how simple it is to operate a Saver. It could be too hard for some people, especially young kids, to operate it, especially when they are frightened as a fire is raging near them. In that case, the airline rule of having adults put on their own device before equipping others would likely prevail. But certainly such a device will come in handy for many consumers and could indeed be a lifesaver for at least some of those people if it indeed works as effectively as its maker claims.


Automotive Connected Objects Imaging Safety

CarVi driving assistant lets you keep more eyes on the road

editors-choiceMany folks have been tempted by the high-tech safety features in newer cars, but wish there was a way to get them into their existing vehicles economically.

That is the goal of the makers of CarVi, a small, circular black driving assistance device that attaches easily via a bracket onto the windshield of just about any car. The device adds an extra set of eyes, monitoring a driver’s position in a lane and the location of the car in front of it. CarVi warns drivers if they are too close to the car in front, and if it senses any potential trouble will issue audible and visual warnings.

The device comes equipped with a camera capturing 720p HD video that CarVi analyzes in real time. Owners can set it to record 40-second to one-minute video onto a memory card whenever certain events occur, such as tailgating incidents. The user can then transfer that video to an Android or iOS smartphone for viewing later. Alternatively, CarVi can function as a full-time recorder if the driver desires. CarVi can also provide suggestions via the accompanying app on how to improve driver skills after the car is turned off. CarVi will cost $299 when it ships in August. Its makers are hoping to raise $100,000 by March 20.

The device holds some promise, especially for elderly drivers and the parents of new drivers. But similar products, such as Truvolo and Zubie, have already offered the same kind of functionality with varying degrees of success. While the warnings could indeed help drivers avoid accidents, it remains to be seen if many drivers will actually be willing to hear tips about how to improve their driving once they turn the engine off.


Safety Travel

The Travel Guardian combines smoke detector and alarm clock for ultimate safety travel companion

Citing that 1.5 million homes in the UK are without a smoke alarm and that most people do not regularly check their smoke detector batteries the makers of the Travel Guardian suggest killing two birds with one stone with their product. They suggest that since most people regularly change alarm clock batteries, that adding a smoke detector to alarms will ensure that both are always ready to go.

Travel Guardian is a large clock display that comes in a variety of colors. Inside is the smoke detector. Backers that pledge £250 (~$380) will get a limited edition metallic gold edition unit.

If you are very concerned about the possibility of smoke or fire hazards while you travel, the Travel Guardian may be for you. However, it’s a little odd that this product is specifically for travelers since at least hotel accommodations definitely have both alarm clocks and smoke detectors. It’s also a huge drawback that the Travel Guardian doesn’t attach to the ceiling, so it really won’t detect smoke at the first opportunity. Backers that contribute £50 (~$75) get the regular edition of the unit. The campaign is seeking to raise £100,000 (~$150,700) on Indiegogo.


The Right Lock door block protects against unwanted visitors

Not knowing who’s knocking on the door when one isn’t expecting any visitors can leave a person hesitant to answer. And if no intercom system is available, trying to hear what the person on the other side is saying is often a challenge.

The Right Lock allows the user to open the door about two inches or so, and the solid metal-looking design is touted as preventing an easy forced entry. It appears that installation is fairly easy with a drill and screwdriver bit.

The idea seems to have some good potential, but it’s doubtful that this item alone would really prevent a forced entry if an intruder where determined to gain entry. In addition, many have chain locks which really serve the same purpose. Interested backers might also like to check out McChi lock and Burglar Blocker. This campaign seeks to raise $15,000 on Kickstarter. Backers get one lock for $30 with an expected delivery of May 2015.

Safety Sensors/IoT

Instantly inform loved ones of accidents with Ridersmate safety device

As enjoyable as off-road cycling, horseback riding, or hopping on a motorcycle can be, one wrong twist or turn can mean the difference between narrowly avoiding an unfortunate accident or being on the wrong end of one. Sometimes, these accidents can happen in remote places, so it’s extremely important to get in contact with those who can help. The problem is that it may not be so easy to do so while possibly incapacitated.

Like a small traveling companion, the Ridersmate is always by a rider’s side. One end of the lightweight, portable device attaches to a rider and the other half attaches to the ride, whatever it may be. In the unlucky event that the two halves are disconnected, the dongle sends text messages to three pre-programmed contacts with information of exactly where and at what speed the accident occurred, along with a Google Maps link to the location itself. All this information allows emergency contacts to make informed decisions vital to making sure help arrives on time. The £199 (~$310) Ridersmate is looking for £19,900 (~$31,000) in funding. The product is expected to ship March 2015.

The Ridersmate is bright and features anti-crush construction to survive any type of mishap. In addition, its eight hour battery is USB rechargeable and can possibly last much longer due to how it doesn’t need to constantly check GPS. Something like the Urbanshell would go well with the Ridersmate to make sure others aren’t the cause of an accident.


iCanWalk adds illuminated safety to nighttime strolls

Many people feel that letting their kids walk to school or a nearby store is much more dangerous today than it was even a generation ago. Distracted drivers on mobile devices and the slowing reflexes of an increasing elderly population can mean more fatalities, even when one stays within the cross walk.

iCanWalk is a small light shaped like a stop sign that helps to alert drivers when the user is crossing the street. It is touted as being small enough to fit in a pocket, functions with a battery that can be recharged via the built-in USB port, and blinks when turned on. The attached handle makes it easy to hold and extend out or up to help with visibility.

This product seems like it may be useful at dusk or night in low light areas where there is a lot of traffic, but other than that, iCanWalk seems a bit over-the-top. Interested backers might also want to check out LightCycle and AquaLight. This project seeks to raise $200,000 by early February. Backers get one product for $100 with an expected delivery of January 2016.

Automotive Safety

Katasi Groove derails driving distractions, rewards focused driving with prizes

Driving while distracted happens to so many people more often than they’d like to admit. Our smartphones, although incredibly useful, can also be the reason why unfortunate and sometimes fatal accidents occur. This is the reason why phone manufacturers, along with third party companies, have attempted to offer solutions to the problem with different modes like ‘Do Not Disturb’ modes or in-car attachments.

The Katasi Groove is another one of those solutions, but this time it comes in the form of a unobtrusive dongle that attaches to a vehicle’s On-Board Diagnostic II, or OBD II, port. When connected, the driver pairs it with a smartphone and whenever the Groove senses it in the car, it works with carriers to limit what kinds of data connections are maintained. This means that mail and text messages are stifled for the length of the car ride while things like Pandora and navigation are let through.

While other phone modes or devices are manually set up, the Katasi Groove works without user input making it easier to have a real impact on driving behavior. To incentivize safe, distraction-free driving, the Katasi Groove also metes out points, named Gruves, that stack up the longer the device recognizes a driver’s self-control. These points can be redeemed for gas, food, and even concert tickets. Should the campaign’s $50,000 goal be met, a one-year subscription to the service can be had for $150.

The Groove is a promising piece of technology, but one that, frankly, needs to be made standard in all vehicles rather than a piece of consumer technology. With the OBD II port’s sudden increase of options, choosing between this or something like the Drivebot won’t be much of a choice. Unfortunately, it’s been proven that people will always choose day to day money-saving functionality over safety.

Safety Wearables

Ayefi provides personal safety in the form of a handbag, or so it claims

Most of us rely on smartphones to do everything for us, from sending e-mails to notifying us about special calendar events. However, we’re limited to apps to provide functionality and few offer options for personal safety.

Ayefi is a wearable open-source smart computer that promotes personal safety. When a special button is pushed, it triggers a message asking for help. It will take a video of what’s going on and send the video to help. Ayefi will also display images as well.

This device is, at best, very confusing. The campaign claims it has functions for education and fashion, but never really explains what that means. It claims Ayefi has a sleek look, but judging from the photos, it doesn’t. In addition, the personal safety functions don’t seem to do much more than simply calling 9-1-1 would. The campaign is selling messenger and handbags that integrate the device, but it’s confusing as to why. The handbag will go for $100 with deliver in February.

All in all, this device is trying really hard to be something innovative and cool, but it’s functions are too confusing to get excited about. Ayefi is hoping to raise a huge $79,000 goal on Kickstarter.

Connected Objects Cycling Safety

Augur Wolf bike light shift modes to avoid rider distraction

Avid cyclists need the best with regards to lighting in order to ensure they are seen on the road, no matter what the conditions. As such, most cyclists make sure they have the best lighting systems but don’t stop to think how it affects the rest of their team. Bright lights that hamper visibility is a huge problem when riding in a peloton, or a group of cyclists. In response, Augur created the Wolf lighting system.

The Wolf’s claim to fame is its communication protocol Collective Safety which senses other Wolf lights in the vicinity and dims appropriately, ensuring teammates can still enjoy full visibility of what’s ahead. In addition, Augur’s Wolf is is a robust lighting system that offers four different lighting modes. Need to grab attention? There’s the High Intensity Strobe mode. In complete darkness? The Full Power Beam mode will cut through it. Conserve battery with the Low Intensity Blink mode, and turn on a Low Intensity Beam for twilight riding. And don’t fret when the battery is low as a Low Power Mode pumps enough juice to get you home safely.

This fantastic idea can only sense other Wolf lights, which is a slight bummer. Each system costs $140 AUD (~$120 USD). Augur is looking for $60,000 AUD (~$51,600 USD) to have the product in backer’s hands by March 2015.