Tool2Find uses GPS to locate children, pets; more reliable than Bluetooth

The universal fear of not being able to find a child or pet has created a huge market for tracking devices like the new Tool2Find from the Netherlands.

Unlike many rival products, the small Tool2Find doesn’t depend on a Bluetooth connection, but rather much more accurate GPS technology. The device, which can be clipped onto one’s belt or other object, works in conjunction with an App2Find app for Android and iOS mobile devices. Backers who pay €165 (~$198) will get an App2Find with accessories including a clip and UBS charger and update cable. That’s 34% cheaper than the device’s regular price. Its maker is looking to raise €30,000 (~$36,000) on Indiegogo.

GPS is clearly a superior technology solution for such devices than Bluetooth. But the market is just too crowded with similar devices to project any great success for Tool2Find. It doesn’t help that the device is also relatively expensive. The similar Iota, for example, costs somewhat less.


MatchStick hopes to catch fire like its Chromecast rival

Since the Chromecast’s runaway success, scores of companies have created their own version, or changed the dimensions of their existing set top streamers to better suit the now popular dongle look. The proprietary nature of most systems and the need to find some sort of workaround is a problem. This sort of problem presents roadblocks to the average consumer that they’re not willing or capable to negotiate.

This means that Matchstick, a new streaming dongle powered by Mozilla Firefox OS, has to be something truly special to catch people’s attention. And for the most part, it does. The small stick is a completely new product category for the OS, standing apart with its completely open platform that will work with any device. You can download the design schematics to build your own version or use a versatile developer SDK to grow the platform; the company’s developer program supplies interested parties with prototype models, ensuring that will happen.

It doesn’t rest on its laurels with just those points. Its hardware is a move up from competing devices: bragging 4GB onboard storage and 1GB DDR3 memory where the Chromecast has none enables it to do everything other streamers do with just a bit more pep. Chromecast will need to play catch-up because a quick recompile will make current Chromecast apps compatible with Matchstick.

There’ll be a rather small assortment of apps at launch, like Netflix and HBO Go, compared to the rest of the big players already enjoying a broader range. With Airtame working similarly across all devices and being able to beam to multiple displays, Biggifi a full Android experience but only working with Android, and the premium priced Sugarcube able to stream 4K, the Matchstick has plenty of competition. Its $100,000 goal and $18 price tag will definitely give it a better shot at success.

Automotive Kids/Babies Safety

Starfish brings travel safety to baby and parent

The Premise. Perhaps every parent’s worst nightmare is forgetting that they have their sleeping baby in the backseat and accidentally leaving the child in a sweltering vehicle. What if there were something on the market that would alert a parent’s smartphone if something like that were to happen?

The Product. Starfish is a seat sensor and app. The app uses Bluetooth to pair up with the parent’s iPhone or Android phone, and the two pieces work together to build a geo-fence around a particular area where baby has been placed, such as a car. The geo-fence is approximately 20 feet in diameter, and the app takes about three minutes to set up. The seat sensor portion is weight activated, so if the parent leaves the area without the baby, a notification is sent to their smartphone that the child may be in danger. If the parent doesn’t respond within five minutes, emergency contacts are notified.

The Pitch. The video for the $15,000 campaign lays out some nice detail for how the product works, which seems to be pretty user friendly. The call for assistance to get the device into the hands of parents and caretakers around the world is indeed one that makes sense and seems potentially lifesaving.

The Perks. There are 12 tiers from which backers may choose. Perhaps the most interesting of these comes with a pledge of $40. Backers have the unique opportunity to be a part of a testing group, and will have the opportunity to provide feedback for the testing and design of the product, information that would be put toward the finished product. Anticipated delivery for this tier would be November 2014.  A pledge of $50 gets a backer the actual product with an anticipated delivery of December 2014.

The Potential. This product seems like a great idea and would likely be appreciated by any parent, especially new parents. We’ve seen a couple similar products on Backerjack before like the Babeep. Starfish would make a great baby shower gift or perhaps even a Christmas gift. It also has the potential to be of benefit to grandparents who help with care giving, daycare centers and preschools.

Cell Phone Accessories Wearables

SUNZs unlocks phones and does other things that phones also already do

sunzsOne little-known risk when it comes to phone security is that an often-unlocked touch screen may have smudges showing the security code needed to access the device. SUNZs is a buckle for any wristwatch that has an NFC chip inside that can be tapped on the screen to unlock the phone, access key features, and can be programmed as a quick launcher for up to eight apps. The product is pitched in an infomercial style, and claims to be “the coolest and most useful tool ever,” which may be overstating things a bit. Of course, since it requires NFC, the iPhone is out for now. SUNZs is available in six colors, and will ship out in August for backers who pledge $13.

Cell Phone Accessories Toys

Nubo turns your iPhone into a little animatronic toy

Nubo 0fdfe40a11e00aec27ec850e5147e06d_large[1]It’s alive, master! For those of you who have become bored with your phone in its present state, Nubo has created something of a lively, pocket-sized companion. Three specialized apps and a silicon case named Nubot that looks a bit like a little green pet an alien might find in a Mars gift shop (if there were such thing) all give your phone the personality you’ve probably been longing for it to have. It waves, dances, and can even become moody – just in case you don’t already have enough moody people in your life. For $150 a backer gets a Nubot and estimated delivery of April 2014.

Cell Phone Accessories

ShutIt makes your Android shut up when you need it to

ShutIT 20140207024507-3D_Model_1_copy[1]For those times when Android phones should be seen and not heard, ShutIt offers a practical solution to quieting all the bleeps and buzzes. The ShutIt provides a novel approach to adding quick access to device controls by plugging into your Android’s headphone jack. It works in conjunction with a specialized app, and saves you the hassle of rummaging through your screens to put your Android on silent mode. It also offers five additional settings of vibration, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Auto-Rotation, and Flashlight. The ShutIt plug comes in slate grey, capri blue, electric red, glacial white, stealth black and champagne. For at least $19, a backer gets one ShutIt plug in slate grey and full access to the app, which should ship to backers in May 2014.

Cell Phone Accessories

Dots911 amplifies cell signals, points you toward coverage

editors-choiceThe Premise: There have been too many cases where people have been lost or stranded without cellphone reception to make a call for help. People often have to wander off blindly in search of a stronger signal in hopes of getting out of their sticky situation. Not being able to find a cell signal — a nuisance in daily life — can turn into a life-threatening scenario, particularly in extreme temperatures.

The Product. Dots911 is a combination of hardware that boosts signal strength and software that directs you to the nearest signal if you don’t have any. It’s an insurance product to make sure that you never end up stranded without signal, and it can sometimes be the difference between life and death. The app, which is available for Android and iOS users, doesn’t directly control the product. However, it is a good complement, providing a quick access map of cellphone coverage in the area, while the amplifier — which resembles a small, clear satellite dish — boosts whatever signal there is to make a stronger connection.

The Pitch. In their video, the creators provide examples of people who have been stranded and unable to call for help because they didn’t have cell-phone coverage. They show how their app uses color-coded dots to direct the user to the closest signal, and how the signal booster can fit within the trunk of a car for convenient signal access.

The Perks: The app for Dots911 is available only to those who make a $35 pledge or more. That pledge is also enough for a compact 8-inch signal enhancer that requires no power and works with any mobile phone in the world. You can pitch in more money to receive larger signal enhancers for increased signal power.

The Potential: While the potential value of the Dots911 system is compelling, there are other cellular amplifiers on the market, many of which are more compact. Their signal enhancer looks like the product of a garage, some extra plastic, and an old camera tripod. It’s not portable enough to be a product that campers or hikers would consider bringing, and for the average cellphone user, a laptop sized satellite isn’t exactly the number one solution for a text message that won’t go through. However, throwing one in the trunk of your car might not be a good idea if your travels will take you to remote and potentially dangerous places.