Cycling Kids/Babies

ZumZum balance bike teaches tykes to zoom along in safety

Balance bikes for young children have remained generally unchanged since their inception in the mid 1800’s: they employ seats that gradually rise up until it the child is too big for it, at which point they can move on to an actual bike with ease. Just because they work as well as they do doesn’t mean they aren’t due for an upgrade, which is exactly what the ZumZum does.

Made from durable birch plywood, the ZumZum is the balance bike for the age. Made from three main components, the handlebar, frame, and wheels, the ZumZum is one of the lightest on the market at only 7.5lbs. The birch plywood and the product’s overall design facilitate natural suspension disconnected from the ground, so that children can avoid potentially damaging shock to their still developing lower backs.

ZumZum is as much a toy as it is a bike, so indoor and outdoor use is encouraged with its non-marking rubber tires. An interesting addition is the NFC tag built into the frame that, when tagged, displays information about the owner and the warranty of the bike. Useless for the most part, but a nice touch. Early birds can grab the ZumZum for $149, while everyone else will pay $199. The $50,000 campaign is looking to get this product shipped by March and April of 2015.

NextGen Bikes, LLC have created something that is fairly unique. Smart, sleek design come together to streamline a tried and true design. As tried and true as it may be, kids have proven to not have become any easier to deal with, so prospective backer/parents giving this the look over may want to also consider the Follow Me Bicycle Handle as well.

Health and Wellness

The VIX Jive lets you train your cane to hang

Nope, it doesn’t require a smartphone or an app. Not even a tablet or Bluetooth or any other electronic gadgetry. But it will make canes behave and prevent them from tumbling to the ground when not in use. The VIX Jive is a cane accessory that can be attached to any cane or walking stick via the included Velcro strips. That means no special tools are required for assembly. The product’s unique clamping system can be connected to any tabletop, positioned, and then pressing down for the clamp to activate. If there isn’t a table surface handy, there is also a hook so that the user’s cane could be hung on a chair or some other convenient place.

Losing one’s cane or having it clatter to the floor can mean an awkward moment for users. Vix Jive prevents such occurrences and its versatility means that it can go anywhere the cane can. Other items mobility assistance items that backers may want to check out include the Movi Wheelchair,  Beech Walker Sand Crab, and Backtrack. This campaign seeks to raise €6,265 (~$7,800). For €12 (~$15) backers get one product with an expected delivery of December 2014.

Connected Objects Fitness

Yoga SmartMat provides guidance to make you a perfect poser

Yoga is all about balance. Unfortunately, our bodies are alarmingly lopsided. A pose that we can do perfectly on one side of our bodies is surprisingly difficult on the other side. Yoga teachers are constantly adjusting their students to maintain balance in their poses. The SmartMat does the exact same thing. By connecting with your tablet or smartphone via Bluetooth, the SmartMat collects data about your posture, balance and alignment to assist you with becoming a yogi master. It first adjusts your alignment, telling you, for example, to move your right foot forward. Then, it tells you to shift your weight so there is equal pressure on both sides of the body, a very important aspect of yoga. The app lets you monitor your progress over time and even gives you new yoga moves to try out. Powered by battery, this mat boasts up to six hours of life. For a mat and the Android/iOS compatible app, backers will have to shell out $347, $100 less than the retail price, for estimated delivery in September 2015. SmartMat is hoping to raise $110,000 during its campaign on Indiegogo.

By all accounts, SmartMat looks like a super cool way to get your yoga on. Most fitness monitoring devices focus on higher impact sports, like the runScribe. SmartMat, while expensive, provides a ton of useful information since the entire mat is collecting data from the entire body, pretty cool. Looking like a traditional yoga mat and made out of most of the same materials, it’s a little concerning how long this mat will last. Some mats wear out over time, but with such an expensive investment, it’ll be important for SmartMat to prove its functional longevity. Also, it’s only water and sweat resistant and not proof. Big sweaters and hot yoga practitioners will have to protect the SmartMat with an extra towel. Still, this super cool product is a great tool for yoga enthusiasts looking to perfect their practice.


BeamBlock poses an opportunity for improving balance


With its primary color motif, you might think BeamBlock is a trade show prop from Google, Microsoft, eBay or some other company that has adopted four colors in their logo.Or maybe it’s a a new version of Simon that you play with your feet? Alas, it’s neither electronic nor noisy. True to its name, the simple device is a cross between a (short) balance beam and a step block. Yoga teacher, personal trainer and all-around fit Londoner Thierry Giunta abstains from actually demonstrating use of the device in the campaign video, but makes up for it with some pose photos. Alas the reward tiers are as difficult to understand as the choppy audio in the campaign video. It seems, though, that one can pick up a BeamBlock for £120, an insane amount for what appears to be a plastic block. But it may arrive on your block in March 2014.