Catzenpup feeds dog or cat wet food, can’t replace an owner’s love though

There are lots of automatic pet feeders out there that feed your cat or dog when you’re not at home. However, must focus on dry food or only serve either dogs or cats, but not always both.

Catzenpup is a new device that automatically feeds your dog or cat when you’re away, but with wet food. Wet food is better for pets. Not only does it provide more nutrients, but it keeps them better hydrated as well. If owner isn’t around to feed Fido, then how are they supposed to give him water as well? To use, either schedule up to four feeding times per day or set a timer to dispense food every so often. Catzenpup is battery-operated and has a low battery indicator.

While this is a great idea because many pet owners simply can’t stay home all day, there are some flaws to this design. Similar products, like the PetPal use an accompanying smartphone app to dispense food when the owner chooses. A schedule is probably better for the pet’s health, but it’s still nice for owners to have the option to use their smartphones. In addition, this product, as well as others like the Kittyo, come equipped to interact with dog or cat as well for some fun play time. Last and probably least, Catzenpup isn’t very stylish, look like bulky medical equipment much unlike the similar PETLY.

Catzenpup has a ways to go before it can compete with the scads of similar automatic pet feeders out there. For one, backers will have to donate $89 for estimated delivery in June 2015. This product is hoping to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter.

Connected Objects Food and Beverage

Arist connected coffee maker promises a bespoke brew

Once upon a time, it used to be enough for people just to have an old, red-handled, glass coffee pot filled with basic black brew. Now, there are more ways to customize a cup of joe than there are days in the year, and everyone has their personal favorite.

Arist is an all-in-one connected coffee maker like those already on the market that attempts to recreate the gourmet, barista-brewed coffee experience any time and every time. With storage for beans, an internal cooler to keep milk fresh, a temperature regulator, and self-cleaning functions, all that needs to be done to get a cup of perfect coffee is tap on the app.

What’s more, the same app can recommend new recipes based on what kinds of coffee beans are being used or purchased, download the latest recipes from renowned baristas, and be customized ever so slightly across nearly a dozen brew steps to get the coffee perfect every time. Arist needs $120,000 to start the day, and coffee lovers can grab theirs for $349 in July 2015.

Arist is the perfect gift for true coffee lovers, opening up a whole world of new coffees, or just the comfort of the perfect cup every time. This is sure to be a must-own on many holiday wishlists.


MotionSeat automatic toilet seat is happy to show you what’s up

Going to the restroom is a pretty crappy experience for most people. If you think about, there are a ton of germs pretty much everywhere and the ways in which we interact with toilet elements don’t necessarily lend themselves to hygiene. With women constantly in danger of sitting on wet sets and men forced to handle the seat to avoid that from happening, both genders are always under fire from unsavory particles that linger there.

MotionSeat is an automatic toilet seat that instantly opens up when it senses your squirming presence. It takes only five minutes to install and contains a battery that lasts at least two months with the capability of being charged either in the seat or separately. By being so straightforward, the product manages to address an issue that’s often considered but that hasn’t really been addressed in an simple manner —  and that’s where it gets all of its appeal. Backers who pledge €65 or more can get grab their very own MotionSeat and help Affinis VOF reach their funding goal of €12,500.

Connected Objects Lighting

For Vocca light switches, your voice is a turn-on

The Premise. Sometimes the light switch is just too far away. Whether you’re cozy in bed, just getting in the door with your hands full of groceries or unable to easily get to the switch due to injury, flipping the switch can sometimes be a pain. 

The Product. Vocca is a voice-activated light switch. The small white device screws into any conventional light fixture. Once in, the lightbulb then screws into Vocca. By simply saying the phrase, “Vocca switch light,” the device turns the light on or off. Vocca Pro allows for customization and the user can program up to five trigger phrases for the light using an accompanying app. The product itself is white and very discreet. 

The Pitch. Watching the Vocca campaign video is like seeing a musical on Broadway. Sort of. The star bursts into song from the get go and sings robustly, and informatively, about Vocca explaining that normal light switches will still work and comparing other products. There’s some drama in there too and, like all classic narratives, a conflict about who’s getting up to switch off the light and a solution, Vocca. The rest of the campaign goes through the specs of Vocca and Vocca Pro, showing off its features to potential backers. This smart light switch product hopes to raise $40,000 in a two-month Kickstarter campaign. 

The Perks. For $29, backers will get the Vocca at a special early price. For later backers, $39 is enough to get the Vocca delivered by December 2014. The Vocca Pro goes for an early tier of $42 and regular tier of $49. 

The Potential. As the video points out, there are other smart light switches out there. As the video also points out, these come with limitations. Messing around with your phone isn’t really too much faster than hauling your butt up to turn off or on the light. While Vocca does feature the convenience of customization on your phone, including setting the lights to turn on when you want to wake up, it doesn’t rely solely upon that. For instance, Belkin’s WeMo LightSwitch lets you customize your lighting, but the phone is always needed to control it. If you lose your phone, you’re hosed. With Vocca, simply remembering the phrase is all you need to operate the device. All in all, people are very lazy and for that reason alone, there is definitely a place on the market for Vocca. 


Cliris provides a quick cleaning for your glasses

The Premise. Cleaning eyeglasses can be tricky. Most methods either don’t get the job done well, create micro scratches on the lenses, or leave smudges behind. It’s difficult to find a fast, efficient and effective way to clean your sun or eyeglasses. 

The Product. Cliris is a glasses cleaning system that requires very little effort on your part. Simply place the glasses in the black or white pod and push start. Four minutes later they’ll come out clean and dry with an added fragrance. The product uses an environmentally safe, biodegradable cleaning solution for the glasses. Each month of daily use requires a new cartridge that gets placed in the back. Cliris plugs into the wall for power. 

The Pitch. The Swiss creators of Cliris spend the campaign video discussing the design and manufacturing of their product. They assert that this product is great for kids, teachers and business people alike. For their 33-day Kickstarter campaign, they’ve set a $280,000 goal.

The Perks. For one Cliris, early backers can donate either $269 or $299 with their choice of either black or white color and two cartridges. At a regular price, the creators are offering one Cliris and two cartridges for $328. Higher reward tiers offer the product in multi-packs with several cartridges. Estimated delivery is set for May 2015.

The Potential. The market has plenty to offer in terms of electronic eyeglasses cleaners. Most out there are also sold to clean jewelry. For instance, the Magnasonic uses only tap water to clean glasses and jewelry and has five different settings. Cliris, on the other hand, uses its special cleaning solution and add fragrance to the glasses, which other cleaners don’t generally do. Although, some might think it unnecessary to have glasses that smell like anything at all. In addition, the separate cartridges might be a hard sell as they are expensive and don’t last very long. All in all, Cliris appears to be an expensive way to get the job done right.

Accents Home

Aquarius is the dawning of the age of automatic plant watering

The Premise. Every house or apartment feels more like a home when it includes houseplants. However, like any living thing, plants need to be cared for, fed, and watered. Needing to leave for business or vacation means finding a way to have plants cared for.

The Product. Aquarius is an adjustable watering system for plants that can be controlled while away from the home. The bland, cubic waterproof base holds the water needed for a potted plant that rests on top of the base. Then the adjustable nozzle points down into the pot and with the push of a smartphone touch screen or by assigning it to a schedule, the Aquarius gives plants the water they need automatically.

The Pitch. The sight of a woman sobbing after her plant dying and the phrase “ruin vacations” are both used in the campaign video in relation to plants withering from dehydration to great melodramatic effect. The product itself looks great as it waters plants of all sizes, and the app looks easy to use as well. The campaign combines attractive houseplants with the sleek design of the product itself. Aquarius inventor Gleb Kudryavtcev needs $30,000 to bring the Aquarius to the masses in terms of production and manufacturing. Stretch goals will be available after reaching the main goal for solar power, making it an entirely autonomous device.

The Perks. A single Aquarius will cost backers $65. The Aquarius Duo, which will allow owners to connect the devices together and water two plants, is available for $85. The Aquarius Quatro, which one can easily deduce will water four plants, can be had for $100. Eight- and 16-plant sets are also available, with each set of four able to exist in a different location. All watering devices will ship out in February 2015.

The Potential. While there are already plenty of ways to ration water to plants while on vacation, this may be one of the first that can be controlled using a phone or tablet. The design is more concerned with function over form, and seems to work great, while leaving a little something wanting in the looks department. At the end of the day, for people who want to keep their plants happy and healthy, the Aquarius is a great option to consider. Others who may not be as prone to breaking out into tears at the possibility of a dead houseplant may not be so compelled to pull the trigger on this product.

Food and Beverage Technology

Barobot mixes drinks from up to 12 bottles at once, won’t hear your sob story

The Premise. Getting home from a hard day at the office or throwing a party for friends would be better if nobody had to play bartender the whole night. One can always pour their own cocktails, but getting the ratios right can be difficult and what should be refreshing can turn out overpowering.

The Product. The Barobot is a shelf-top device for top-shelf liquor that can hold up to 12 bottles and pour perfect shots into a cup as it moves it back and forth down the alcoholic assembly line. With an open source, open platform design, the Barobot is completely customizable — from the LED lighting displays to the touch-screen interface that makes ordering any drink a snap. New cocktails can be added to the menu easily, and for those that want to have a drink waiting for them, a tablet can be used to place a drink order so that by the time the walk to the Barobot is completed, so is the beverage.

The Pitch. The Barobot pitch is just like its design: colorful, playful, and inviting. The idea alone of a robot that makes drinks for an entire party is something to smile about. The Barobot team is wise not to get too involved in the technical side of things, going so far as to compare assembling the device to playing with LEGO. Barobot is looking to raise £90,000 to handle production of the device.

The Perks. The Barobot is available to supporters for £774, complete with all of the necessary hardware in choice of color, and the app. For those that doubt their construction skills, the fully assembled version is available for £1,479, and those that want a one-of-a-kind personal touch can have their Barobot customized for £3,499. The first batch will ship in August, with more in September of 2014.

The Potential. Between the high-class image that comes with owning a bartending robot, the quality parts, and the open source design, the Barobot is a very tempting item to consider owning. The price point is a little high for a device that moves cups and pours shots, however, no matter how trendy it looks. It’s a shame to be turned off by the price alone when the rest of the machine is extremely likeable, but it will probably prove to be a price point too high for all but the most affluent of home technology show-offs.

Furniture Health and Wellness

The StandDesk keeps users active at work with the touch of a button

standdeskThe war on sitting is in full effect, as research has shown that standing throughout the day is better for disease prevention and workplace productivity. Of course, being able to transition from standing to sitting at a desk is rarely both simple and cost-efffective, only recently being realized with products like the Stir Kinetic Desk. The StandDesk is looking to change that with its simple automatic adjustments and ergonomic design. The StandDesk boasts a strength of 225 lbs. at any height, and convenient allowances for both device cables and surge protectors. The StandDesk can be a part of any home or office in September 2014, and the standard kit starts at $399.


Easy Throw Shovel enables tackling a snow job with one finger

The Premise. Shoveling snow can be deadly. Literally. People die every year while shoveling snow because of how sneakily strenuous it can be.

The Product. The Easy Throw Shovel is a snow shovel that uses leverage from the weight of the snow to activate the throwing arm. The shaft of the shovel is made out of wood and the lifting arm is made of aluminum with two small wheels on the bottom that touch the ground. The two are connected by a durable strap. When the snow is ready to be thrown, one must simply push down on the handle to activate the lifting arm.  The lifting arm also acts as a stand, allowing the shovel to remain upright on its own.

The Pitch. The Easy Throw Shovel’s Kickstarter campaign tells of how an aching back and leverage are responsible for the product’s conception. A helpful diagram shows the different parts of the Easy Throw Shovel and what they’re made of. The video features the shovel in action, along with proving that the shovel can bear a huge load by showing how it can throw weights around with ease. With Kickstarter, Easy Throw Shovel’s creator hopes to raise $72,000. The campaign is currently on hiatus but creator Christopher Lloyd Bush hopes to relaunch soon.

The Perks. The lowest price for an Easy Throw Shovel is $65 CAD, known as the “get the ball rolling special”. Donation tiers go all the way up to $500, but each tier only offers one Easy Throw Shovel. Estimated delivery is currently June 2014 for the shovels themselves, which, unfortunately, puts the shovels smack out of season for backers.

The Potential. Alternatives to the snow problem exist, but can get rather pricey. Snow blowers cost over $100 and tend to break easily. The Easy Throw Shovel is a truly neat invention, proving, once again, that electronics can’t always solve the problems that simple machines can. The Easy Throw Shovel uses leverage and pivot points to do twice the work that a normal shovel does. This product definitely has a place in the market amongst tired suburbanites at risk for heart attack upon shoveling with a regular old shovel. Even better, the Easy Throw Shovel was invented in Canada, probably one of world’s most authoritative countries on snow.

Automotive Connected Objects

Truvolo plugs in to vehicle diagnostics

The Premise. Technology is fabulous. Alas, we still do not have flying cars, but if we do you can bet they’ll be connected to our smartphones. In the meantime, car manufacturers are focused on connecting gravity-bound automobiles.

The Product. Truvolo is a small device which plugs into your car’s data port along with a smartphone app that collects data from the device and sends it to a secure cloud-based platform. The device, which plugs into a car’s on-board diagnostics (OBD-II) connector can clue you in to problems, help optimize gas mileage, and send alerts for unsafe driving. Being connected, it also provides several car-related services such as regular maintenance reminders, alerts when it’s time to fill the gas tank, alternate routes when traffic is heavy and an organization system which helps account for trips for business and separate them from personal travels.

The Pitch. Jaideep Jain, co-founder and CEO lays out the need for Truvolo in a straightforward video in which he also explains that the project was inspired as his son approached legal driving age. He thinks of Truvolo as “the place to go for everything car-related.” He explains that Truvolo can help make you and a safer driver by providing feedback on driver performance in addition to location information. He claims that in the future, Truvolo will even be able to block texting while driving. Other than the video, the campaign on Indiegogo features a link to the various press Truvolo has garnered to date in addition to some partial screen shots of the app.

The Perks. This project has many, many reward tiers starting at $30 for the most basic level of support with a corresponding reward of a Truvolo tee and letter of thanks. The first 150 people to donate $89 can become either an “early bird” or “beta tester” of the Truvolo device and app, with beta testers receiving the product about two months in advance of other audiences. Other tiers escalate to increasing amounts of product and rewards which include dinner with the founders (transportation excluded) and for $6,000 you can even become a “development partner.” According to the posted project schedule, units will complete beta testing in May and start shipping to Indiegogo supporters in June 2014.

The Potential. While there’s no doubt in the potential for a new connected standard for future vehicles, the concrete benefits to a product like Truvolo remain somewhat unclear for now. Similar products like Zubie and Automatic are already available in the market and it’s difficult to see how Truvolo will differentiate itself. Most people already know how to be safer drivers — slow down, use caution, stop fully at stop signs, etc. But there’s something to be said for hard evidence. If Truvolo can’t leverage that to change driver behavior, it may be seen as just an expensive way to remind yourself to get an oil change.