Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Neoji blends automation with energy monitoring

The Premise. The smart home revolution is banging down the doors of houses and apartments redolent in their wasting of energy; both for utilities and in the way residents have to get up, go home, and be present to control anything. Now that that revolution is here, homeowners need access to an automation hub that shares their goals and priorities.

The Product. Neoji can control the entire home using an app on a smartphone or tablet. Equipped with air sensors, a microphone, and an HD camera, homeowners can monitor their own home at their leisure or be alerted to motion or sound when they’re not paying attention. Because Neoji can learn about what’s part of the daily routine and what’s out of the ordinary, phones won’t be littered with notifications about pets playing or kids coming home from school.

The Pitch. Neoji introduces itself as a flexible device perfect for everything from baby monitoring to home security. With a focus on cutting energy costs and doing its part for the environment, Neoji takes things a step farther by planting or preserving a tree for every backer. Neoji wants to collect $100,000 in pledges in order to complete development and move beyond the prototype stage.

The Perks. A Neoji with app, energy coaching, and 24/7 technical support will arrive in April 2015 for those who pledge $299 to the campaign. A color choice between white and black is available for $349, and the model with an HD camera and air quality sensors can be had for $399. A flexible development kit with wall-mounts and access to the SDK goes to backers with $499 to contribute. Additional tiers offer multiple Neoji devices.

The Potential. Neoji is trying to be an all-in-one home automation system that revolutionizes the way homeowners interact with their property. The problem? It’s a little late to the party. In terms of its features and compatibility, this is really in the realm of what consumers are expecting from a device like this. The only way Neoji stands out is in its ecologically-focused presentation. If the campaign video is any indication, Neoji is somewhat fixated on reducing energy costs. For those that have a similar mindset, this will be the smart home environment controller that will be the best fit. Otherwise, Neoji winds up being another face in the crowd.

Music Sensors/IoT

SoulPedal gives guitarists effects controls with a wireless insole

The Premise. The world of entertainment is an ever-changing industry, always looking for ways to make the audience feel that they’ve gotten the best show possible. One of the most popular ways that 21st century performers do that is by breaking that “fourth wall” and interacting with the audience. While much of this has relied on the front person (or lead singer), guitar players are now getting a shot at this. Why is this important? Because more interaction usually means an invite to return to a venue. And if the band has merchandise, it can also mean more sales.

The Product. SoulPedal lets guitar players have the technology of their wah wah pedal in wireless form. To make it even more convenient, it gets worn like an in soul inside the right shoe, with a “dummy” left one included for balance. Built in arch support and a total weight of three ounces help ensure comfort. A tap of the foot turns the pedal on, and when it’s time to change the sound, a bend of the knee, slight lean forward, or stop of the foot makes it happen.

The Pitch. The video for the $35,000 campaign gives just enough detail on how the product works to satisfy the curious, and plenty of clarity on how to use it. Seeing it in action among other users is a nice touch, and it appears very user friendly.

The Perks. There are nine tiers from which backers may choose. The $279 early bird special offers the complete product with an expected delivery of September 2014. There is a chance for a full refund on the price for the backer who wins the contest announced at the indiegogo campaign site.

The Potential. The wireless technology aspect for this product makes it an especially exciting development for guitar players. Lead singers who play the guitar will likely be especially appreciative of this particular item. If there is an interest in the upgrade kit, a Windows system will be required. It’s noteworthy that there is also a development in the works for keyboard players in connection to note/velocity parameters that would eventually be available through the upgrade kit.

Cell Phone Accessories Connected Objects Sensors/IoT

FIND 2.0 searches for its spot in a crowded market of Bluetooth finders

find20With the number of crowdfunded solutions to lost objects out there, it’s surprising to think that anything is still lost. FIND 2.0 is another keyring solution that works in tandem with a smartphone app to alert users when they are leaving the vicinity of belongings, or through a reverse notification, the phone itself. Where FIND 2.0 falls short is in its manual search, where the FIND vibrates instead of the app using proximity detection like its competitors, but the ability to crowdsource a truly lost item and have anyone with a FIND app privately ping its location back if it is moved past is a great addition that would make this invaluable if widely adopted. FIND 2.0 is available for $17 and ships in June.

Cooking Sensors/IoT

SCiO spectrometer sniffs out the composition of food and fauna

SCiOIn science fiction, the idea of a handheld analyzer that can report on details of an environment, creature, or substance have been around for decades. SCiO, a pocket spectrometer and molecular sensor that works with the cloud, is bringing those ideas to life. With a flexible development environment, SCiO ships with apps for scanning food, medicine, and plants, but more functions may arise over time. In terms of food scanning, the SCiO is reminiscent of what was promised by the TellSpec, though hopefully this project is more on the level, without the tricky editing and the production backpedaling. SCiO is available for $179 and will ship out by the end of the year.

Sensors/IoT waters houseplants when you’re not on home turf

The Premise. People love to have plants in their houses and offices. However, sometimes it’s hard to know if you’re watering those plants too much or not enough. Sometimes we have to guess, which can have deadly consequences… for the plants that is.

The Product. is a smart plant watering device. This small product has two prongs that rest in the soil. The LED light on top indicates if the soil is fully wet, moist or too dry and also shows battery information as well as how much light the plant is getting. The device then uses this information to gauge how much water it should dispense to the plant. A long tube goes from the moisture source into the soil. A program allows the user to adjust watering settings from their phone or computer. They can either choose to water the plant manually or use the auto-detect function. runs on a battery that lasts up to two years.

The Pitch.’s video shows the device being used in a number of different settings with lots of different kinds of flowers, herbs, vegetables and the like. The creators from Slovenia use a bit of broken English throughout the rest of the campaign to describe the prototyping process as well as showing the accompanying program’s interface. Daisy needs to raise $18,000 in its 45-day Indiegogo campaign.

The Perks. For only $30, early backers can enjoy the with free shipping worldwide at a regular price of $33. Reward tiers go up to $303 offering different quantities of the product, but not much else. There is no estimated delivery date specified.

The Potential. The is perhaps the most sophisticated plant watering system around. Others claim to be as smart, but fail in their delivery like Jobe’s Smart Watering System that really only acts as an IV drip for plants. not only detects moisture, but sunlight as well which is a necessary detail to take into account when caring for plants. All in all,’s versatility in moisture detection and its ability to be controlled remotely make it a great product for green-thumbed backers.

Cell Phone Accessories Sensors/IoT

Duet won’t let your phone out of its sight

The Premise. There’s nothing quite as worrisome as the panic that sets in after realizing there is no longer a smartphone in the pocket it belongs in. There’s also few ways to figure out where a lost phone has gotten to without the help of somebody who wants to do the right thing. Now there’s a device to put an end to both problems.

The Product. The PROTAG Duet is a simple tag that uses Bluetooth Low Energy as it rests on any clothes, bags, wallets, or anything else. When the registered phone goes ten meters outside the Duet’s range, an alarm goes off to let users know that their phone is not currently with them. Once within range, a button on the Duet will cause the phone to ring, even if it’s in silent mode. There are privacy options to keep any alarms from going off in professional environments, and what’s best is the device works both ways. If a Duet owner puts the tag on their wallet and then drops the wallet, the PROTAG app on the phone will alert the user and tell them as they get closer and closer to where the item is located.

The Pitch. The campaign video features a likable yet forgetful young man who constantly loses his phone until the Duet changes things. The campaign itself goes into more details about the technology included in Duet and some of the other features such as the ability to track up to 10 tags with the iOS or Android companion apps. PROTAG wants to raise $5,000 to reduce production costs by ordering components in bulk.

The Perks. Duets are available for pledges as low as $17 plus $5 shipping outside Singapore, impressive considering the proposed $59 retail price. Higher tiers are available which offer a discount on batch ordering. Duet is expected to ship between May and June of this year.

The Potential. There are a lot of devices like these coming out that are designed to help people stop losing their items using Bluetooth, NFC, or just plain human decency. Duet looks to be a little more sophisticated than many because of its two-way performance. Whether losing a phone and getting an alert in time to grab it, or dropping a wallet and using a phone to locate it, Duet can handle it. It’s not the most precise method, and it might still require some hard searching, but it’s better than having no information on where to find lost items.

Safety Sensors/IoT

GunBoxLive sends forewarning of firearm finagling

The Premise. Gun safety in the USA has proven to be seriously lacking. Every year there are thousands of gun-related deaths, most of them accidental and preventable. The worst part is, people don’t know that their guns have been accessed without their permission or stolen until it is too late.

The Product. GunBoxLive is a gun safety system that connects to your smartphone. It alerts the user to which specific gun has been accessed, if the case has been moved, if gun has been accessed, removed or put back into the case. The app also provides immediate options to dial 911, report the gun stolen or show the map location of the weapon. GunBoxLive MD3G is a small device that works with any gun case roughly the size of a USB flash drive. The GunBoxLive HGC1 is a smart case with the device already built in.

The Pitch. GunBoxLive really goes for the shock factor in its campaign video with a sad and not-so-subtle dramatization of an accidental shooting involving two small children. The rest of the campaign follows suit with sad photos and even sadder statistics of gun violence. The developer is looking for a relatively ambitious  $100,000 goal in its 60-day run on Indiegogo.

The Perks. The GunBoxLive MD3G device goes for an early price of $279. The HGC1 smart case goes for $359 with estimated delivery dates of October 2014. Reward tiers include service member discounts for policemen, firemen and military personnel and go all the way up to $13,500. As expected for any device that uses a cellular connection, there is a subscription charge. The first year of the app is free, but each additional year costs $60 for one year, $100 for two and $120 for three.

The Potential. GunBoxLive offers a smart way for gun owners to keep track of their firearms. Its options to call 911 and show if the gun has been removed or not puts it above existing smart gun cases such as the Gun Box. While the campaign video may be a bit sensationalist, the issue it addresses is serious. The added cost of renewing the subscription for the app, however, may deter backers. Many gun owners may simply opt for a locked box, but particularly those with kids will certainly see the benefits of the GunBoxLive.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

SmartMat welcomes visitors into your smart home

The Premise. How many things pass through a front door step in a typical day? A door mat never gets to rest with packages, family and pets constantly making their way to the front door. There’s be value in a product that could keep a constant eye out, particularly if it were literally just underfoot.

The Product. The device is called the SmartMat, and it lies under your normal door mat. The Wi-Fi connected sensor can be customized with your smartphone or computer to respond to different types of triggers that respond to changes in weight input on the mat. If your pet wants to be let in to the house, an alert will be sent to your phone as they wait patiently on the SmartMat. It can even distinguish different waits to identify which users use the front door. The SmartMat also seamlessly integrates with other smart home devices, so you become immersed in your connected home even before you step through the front door.

The Pitch. There’s nothing fancy about the SmartMat video—just Dr. Andrew Clark, a tripod, and the product. Clark takes viewers step-by-step through each part of the SmartMat to explain how it works to customers. He demonstrates the simplicity of setting up the mat for use, but the video never shows the application or the mat in a real life situation. This leaves a lot up to the customer speculation as to just how well it works, which isn’t a great sign for a crowdfunded project

The Perks. The standard SmartMat comes at a price of $75 for the priority shipment (expected delivery around June 2014), and the price will rise to $99 with an expected delivery date of August 2014 after that. There’s also a SmartMat with Controllable AC option that controls the house climate controls by using a Wi-Fi AC power strip that responds to a trigger on the mat. This option comes with a $145 price tag, which will eventually rise to $169.

The Potential. There are other sensor mats already available on the market, but that’s not the entire issue. While the idea is useful, there is other technology that can do the job much better. Try this for example: Set up a connected motion-sensing camera in view of your front door step. Any movement will send an alert to your phone, and from anywhere in the world, you’ll be able to see exactly who or what is at your front door step with absolute certainty. This is more durable, not to mention cheaper, than the SmartMat and you get way more out of it as well. That said, the Smart Mat might be an option in, say, apartment buildings where there is no visible access to the front door and might be a better option for pets and packages that would be outside a camera’s field of view.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Zstat brings the heat (or cold) to your smart home, senses danger

Zstat  20140220113721-zss9[1]If you’re still suffering from the sticker shock of your last utility bill, Zstat might be able to take the bite out of the future ones. While not as sleek as the Nest. it costs considerably less and offers more safety features such as sensors for smoke, carbon monoxide, and air quality. It also comes in white or stainless steel and is easily controlled with the Zstat app or text messages. For at least $100, early bird backers get the version with the safety features and an expected delivery of August 2014.


The Nix Color Sensor makes everyone a color expert

 The Premise. There are millions of different tones and colors that illuminate the world. Getting the exact color you want is difficult with the variety of color types and brands. Color swatches are bulky, expensive, and brand specific, while the human eye is prone to error. There needs to be a reliable color sensor that can provide the customer with an accurate and affordable color reading.

The Product. The Nix Color Sensor may be familiar to designers and color purists. The company already had one very successful campaign that funded the design and production of the first sensors. The creators are now back looking for more early contributors to fund and receive their next batch of sensors. Once the color is scanned, the Nix Color sensor sends the palettes to your phone and direct you to the nearest store to purchase that color paint.

The Pitch. The video is a wonderfully animated two-dimensional video that shows just how the Nix Color Sensor works. The vibrant colors are very appropriate for the purpose of the device, and it’s design can make anyone a color expert. The Indiegogo page keeps it simple, but goes more in-depth behind the scenes of how it was made.

The Perks. The second batch still offers early adopters a great deal. The early bird special, which includes the Nix Color Sensor, carrying pouch, calibration card, and USB cable, is 50% off the retail value at $99.

The Potential. Designers, artists and picture and video editors are clear markets for the Nix. Beyond that, most folks don’t have a pressing need to pursue a Pantone value. Still, the Nix seems well-implemented and could bring accurate color matching to a broader range of professionals or the simply curious.