Tech Accessories

Wirca works with USB ports to share files among devices

Consumers today increasingly rely on mobile devices to store all the digital content they need while on the go. The ability to add additional capacity to these devices, especially when Wi-Fi service isn’t available to store new content, would be extremely useful.

The Wirca wireless card reader is a tiny network-attached storage (NAS) server that accomplishes exactly that, expanding the capacity of a smartphone or tablet without the need for Wi-Fi. The tiny device can be attached to user’s key ring or even placed in a pocket, handbag or backpack. Wirca, which can work with up to eight devices at the same time, can be used to store music, videos, photos and other types of files. When attached to a computer or portable power source via USB, it also sends a Wi-Fi signal and provides the user with access to additional storage. The basic version costs $45 and comes without a TransFlash (TF) memory card, though certain SKUs will include one. Wirca can store a maximum of 2 TB and will ship in May. Its maker is looking to raise $5,000 by April 19.

Wirca holds some promise but faces an uphill battle because there are just too many other devices from familiar brands that deliver the same type of functionality, including Kingston Technology’s MobileLite and SanDisk’s Connect Wireless Flash Drive.


Cell Phone Accessories Chargers/Batteries

Juicer uses one Android device to help juice another

Power-hungry smartphones often need to be charged frequently. Unfortunately, there isn’t always a charger around or a free electric outlet in sight.

The maker of the Juicer is out to remedy that. The Juicer is a dual-sided charging cable that enables Android phone users to transfer battery power from one Android device to another. The device costs only $10 and will ship in August. Its maker is hoping to raise $65,000 by April 10.

The Juicer holds some promise for Android users. While it isn’t the fastest-charging device around (it’s about as fast as a computer’s USB port) it’s still useful as sometimes all that’s needed is a quick 5 or 10 percent bump, just enough to make a call or send a few texts. Another plus is that the device is small enough to fit on a key ring or inside a purse. On the negative side, its lack of iPhone compatibility significantly limits the device’s addressable market.


Cell Phone Accessories Imaging

CAMpanion lets you mount your smartphone screen right behind the GoPro

The small size of the GoPro camera makes it perfect for shooting extreme sports activity. But its diminutive size also can make it difficult to use for shooting everyday subjects and activity where a steady hand is required.

The CAMpanion is a solution to that issue, offering a new mounting system enabling all GoPro models to be attached to any smartphone or tablet. In addition to making sure that every shot is perfectly framed, the mounting system also makes it more comfortable for the user to shoot. Attaching the GoPro to a smartphone or tablet also adds features including lighting via the mobile device’s flashlight app. The accessory holds promise, offering a simple but handy solution for the surging number of GoPro users.

Users can mount the GoPro in less than a second by just snapping the camera onto the CAMpanion mounting plate. The accessory will ship in May and cost $40. Its makers set a goal of raising $28,000 by March 28 through Kickstarter.

Cell Phone Accessories Chargers/Batteries Connected Objects Tech Accessories Technology

PowerLite provides more powerful smartphone camera performance

The multi-functional PowerLite from Australia serves as a power charger, as well as a light accessory for iPhones and Android smartphones. As a charger, the PowerLite provides six extra hours of battery life, while the thinner PowerLite Slim version adds three hours of battery life. The device uses 14 light emitting diodes (LEDs) to generate up to 630 lumens of brightness, about equal to a typical 40-watt light bulb. The light is controlled through an app for iPhones and Android phones. Users can opt to keep the device in flash mode or have the LEDs stay on constantly to record a video or illuminate a shot. PowerLite also serves as a remote selfie camera shutter. The device can also be used to find a misplaced smartphone. Pressing a button on it sets off an alert for the phone to make a sound.

Backers who provide $19 for the Kickstarter campaign will get either SKU of the device when it ships in June. That’s 58% less than PowerLite’s maker expects it to cost at retail. Its maker is looking to raise $60,000 Kickstarter.

PowerLite’s multi-functionality and slim design gives it a clear advantage over rival devices including the Lume Cube. The relatively low pricing is also a plus.

Organization Tools

Small, durable Keynade lets your keys hang around

KeynadePerhaps one of life’s major annoyances is that matter of frequently misplaced house and car keys – small but highly essential items. In an effort to put a stop to the craziness of trying to find them or remember where they may have been placed last, Keynade offers a key ring that has a hook for hanging keys in a pant or purse pocket. The solid, Aerospace grade Titanium sanity restorer also includes a bottle opener, tab lifter and screw driver that seems to be effective while still being TSA-friendly. This seems like it may be a rather quality product overall, but it might be even nicer if the hook functioned more like a mountain climbing clip. For $25, backers get one product with an expected deliver of December 2014.

Cell Phone Accessories Video Games

Game Cover lets smartphone game controls slide

gamecoverMobile games have become an unignorable aspect of the gaming landscape. Players have access to thousands of games wherever they are, but the one complaint most people will always have is control. Game Cover is a thin Android gamepad that slides out from the side the way keyboards slide out on certain phones. Only 8mm thick, Game Cover fits any phone and provides plenty of buttons for precision control. Game Cover also works as a remote for media or camera controls. The thinness is great for compatibility, but long-term use may cause hand strain without something larger to grip onto while playing. Gamers can power up their phones with a Game Cover for €25.

Cell Phone Accessories Imaging

iPhone Hema-Imager add-on lets it see heat like the Predator

The Premise. The ability to sense heat visually is a technology that has existed for some time but not in the consumer space. With the number of applications that thermal vision has professionally and in the home, now there’s a device to meet those needs.

The Product. Working with any Bluetooth- or Wi-Fi-capable device, the Hema-Imager offers consumers thermal imaging at a price point that is attractive enough to be practical. Detecting temperatures from -4 degrees Fahrenheit all the way up to 450 degrees Fahrenheit, the Hema-Imager has more range and doesn’t require constant shutter control or extra movement of the device. Whether detecting threats in a dark room or helping to insulate homes better to cut down on heating and cooling costs, the Hema-Imager is versatile enough and easy enough to use that it can tackle any job requiring real-time thermal imaging.

The Pitch. Hema-Imager inventor Erik Beall proudly cites the Predator movies as the inspiration behind the ability to create a device that allows consumers to see heat signatures using their smartphones. That sort of playful optimism is a staple of the Hema-Imager’s pitch video, while also staying grounded in the reality of how it can help emergency response crews for almost 1% of the cost of an existing device. The rest of the product’s campaign materials cover how it can be useful to the average homeowner, explains some of the components of the device, and how Hema-Imager stacks up to the competition. Beall needs $205,000 to offset the cost of buying a large quantity of the thermopiles necessary to make the device work.

The Perks. The Hema-Imager is available for $250 and will be out in November.

The Potential. There have been other heat mapping devices on the market for a long time now, but never in a package that is easy for consumers to purchase, set up and operate, and that is so cost-effective. While an apartment renter might not have a great deal of usage for thermal imaging, the applications for contractors all the way up to firefighters and police officers make this device a welcome addition to a relatively uncrowded market space. The added bonus of being compatible with devices that all consumers probably already have make the cost negligible for those that can use a tool such as this.

Cycling Imaging

Klamp smooths out the bumps in the road for extreme cycling videos

KlampThose involved with extreme sports love to record videos of  their adventures. Various cameras have been developed to help them do just that. Some attach to helmets while others lack any kind of fastening device. The Klamp works with several “extreme” cameras to capture action shots. It allows the user to film their ride in eight different ways and is designed to work with bikes. A pack of two Australian Klamps costs backers $38 AUD. While there are lots of camera arms and clamps out there, Klamp seems to offer more versatility and stabilization for capturing shots. This product hopes to raise $45,000 AUD in a month-long Kicstarter campaign.

Cell Phone Accessories Imaging

Micro Phone Lens brings the lab environment to the mobile world

microphonelensThe microscopic world is endlessly fascinating and always a great way to satisfy curiosity about the planet Earth, but microscopes are bulky, fragile, and expensive. The Micro Phone Lens is a surprisingly low-cost, simple method of keeping a microscope nearby at all times, because it attaches to the camera on any smartphone or device with a 5 megapixel or greater camera. This model is a follow-up to a previous campaign by inventor Thomas Larson, offering 150x magnification compared to the previous model’s 15x. This simple, intuitive microscope alternative starts at just $29 for the lens alone and will be available by July 2014.

Cell Phone Accessories

Snap adapts to affix your smartphone to nearly anything

The Premise. Phones and other essential items take up valuable space in pockets and purses. They also cause for a messier lifestyle with everything floating around willy-nilly.

The Product. Snap offers a better way to keep your life organized. Snap is an accessory for your phone, tablet or any other portable device that attaches to other essential items such as money clips or earphones. This nifty product can even be used as a mount to put on bicycles or the backs of car seats. Using a male/female connector system, one side sticks to the device using a strong adhesive while the other side clicks into place.

The Pitch. Snap’s snappy video is silly and fresh, making fun of “too cool for school” campaigns. The creators are smart and use the rest of the campaign to articulate problems they’ve encountered with other mobile accessories and say how their product solves those problems. They really emphasize the fact that Snap isn’t the type of accessory that changes with each new device, but that it is universal and adaptable. Pictures towards the end of the campaign show different ways to use the product. These creators from Utah hope to raise $40,000 in a 45-day run on Kickstarter.

The Perks. Snap keeps it simple with only four reward tiers. Right now, Snap’s creators are only offering the wallet and earbud attachments separately. Both go for early-bird prices of $10 and later-bird prices of $12 with estimated delivery set at May 2014.

The Potential. Snap presents an efficient way to organize your life with tons of different possibilities. Lately, lots of other products have been trying to do just that. The Sinch is a small accessory that keeps your earbuds untangled, but can only be used with earbuds. The Nerd Herder gadget wallet is a more elaborate, feminine item that can hold a phone, earbuds, money, credit cards and other things all together. Snap seems to be the most compact of these attachment accessories, but one drawback may be that only one attachment can be used at a time. Still, its universality is welcome in the mobile accessory market where most items are expensive and can only be used with one type of device.