Backerjack Podcast #24: Security, Safety and Screens That Show It All

In Episode 24 of the Backerjack Podcast, Steve and Ross check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders, including:

  • Angee, a hybrid home monitoring system that can capture video in any direction.
  • Skreens, a small TV add-on that lets multiple vide sources go up on the TV at the same time..

We also mentioned a few other products we wished we had more time for, including the Holapex hologram visualizer.

Download the episode or listen below, subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and subscribe to the Backerjack Daily Digest to make sure you catch all the gadgets we’re covering. Also check out Steve’s great work on Apple World Today!

Smart Home

HUUM portable security system keeps you humming along without a worry

More and more, security systems are coming into their own in this new era of connected technologies, fitting into smaller packages and accomplishing as much or even more than they ever have. The HUUM is another addition in this space, offering a portable security system with a diverse array of features to keep users safe with minimal effort.

The HUUM is as small as a pencil case, but packs motion tracking, temperature monitoring, flood detection, and location tracking within. And since it’s portable, its possible uses aren’t limited to just the home. Although the system is compatible with both iOS and Android devices, the latter is able to utilize NFC tapping technology to easily activate or deactivate your alarms, change settings, or set up new devices, eliminating the need to input codes or any other form of authentication. In addition, multiple smartphones can be connected to a single system to keep everyone informed on an open window on a rainy day or even intrusions, all without monthly fees. The campaign is looking for $20,000 CAD (~$14,500 USD) to get the $89 CAD (~$77 USD) device out to backers by March 2015.

The HUUM works over Wi-Fi and, while that affords it impressive range, it’s also a drawback in that if something is wrong with the connection, it won’t be as effective. Other products, like the Canary and the WataSensor, are similarly handicapped but offer more features than the HUUM. The HUUM’s portability and size are its prime traits and its price compared to other similar systems sweetens the deal.

Smart Home

Point offers simple home security without putting sensors everywhere

The conception of home security in the connected age is one full of cameras and the complex systems that go along with them. Cloud storage and daily app interaction combine to make the use of these systems more tedious than it should be. The team over at Form Devices, Inc. believes that implementing security measures in your home should ease worries, not give you more to worry about. Their inaugural product, Point, is a representation of that thinking.

Point is a subtle, circular device that attaches to a wall in your home with design cues let it blend easily into most any aesthetic. Once installed, the device multi-tasks by listening for unusual sounds in your home and analyzing the air for disturbances. With the onboard Wi-Fi chip, Point can communicate a variety of information to your smart device, such as when a window breaks, guests arrive, when humidity levels are abnormal, or when there’s smoke present. In addition, Point uses a combination of lights and speakers to facilitate notifications to you or guests so that you can gently remind guests to keep it down when they party too hard. A Point can be had for $79 with an expected date of delivery in July 2015. Form Devices, Inc. is looking for $50,000 to complete manufacturing.

Unfortunately, Point’s most glaring lack is the inability to to detect carbon monoxide, something that should be standard at this point and is a severe oversight. In addition, it comes with a speaker but users can’t communicate through it which would be a nice touch. All in all, the Canary offers a much more robust feature set that includes the ability to sound a 90dB alarm to ward off intruders and respond to emergencies with a one-touch call to the appropriate authorities. Although Point emphasizes the removal of the camera in an effort to reclaim the feeling of one’s home, the capability for HD video most of the time is welcome. In any case, Point is a low-cost way to introduce some connected aspects to one’s home without going overboard.

Automotive Smart Home

WataSensor WA1 detects dirty deeds in home or car

The Premise. In 2012 alone, there were 8,975,438 property crimes in the U.S. according to the FBI. Collectively, those crimes (which include burglaries, larceny thefts, and car thefts) resulted in a loss of $15.1 billion dollars for the victims, and the rate that agencies made arrests on these crimes is 528.1 arrests for every 100,000 crimes.

The Product. WataSensor aims to improve the security market, and improve the alarming number of property thefts in the U.S. Their product, the WA1, can sense a window breaking, a door opening, or a fire burning and will then send an alert to your smartphone so you can always monitor your property safely. The WA1 is completely portable, and works in any car or house up to 2000 square meters, plus it doesn’t rely on line-of-sight or motion-sensing technology like its competitors. Simply pair it with your smartphone, and you’re protected with the WA1 — no wires or additional set up required.

The Pitch. WataSensor’s video explains just what its product is capable of, and how the company hopes their product can protect property in both the home and automotive markets. According to WataSensor, 90% of homes are unprotected and they hope to change that number for the better. By raising $100,000 the company plans to invest in manufacture tooling for the WA1 and complete their development of the smartphone app.

The Perks. Early adopters, for the price of $249, can be among the first to be protected by the WA1 when it ships in July 2014. That package will also include regular updates from the team and a special edition t-shirt as well. For those more enthusiastic about the product, $400 will include the aforementioned items plus the current generation device which will ship in February.

The Potential. The WA1 will go head-to-head with a huge crowdfunding success story, the Canary, as well as the crowdfunded iSmartAlarm. These products disrupt the security market by creating a device that allows protection without the monthly payments or costly setup procedures, although those who want a professionally monitored option will need to look at options such as the SimpliSafe2. These options also have the advantage of letting you move houses without having to start over and work in just about any setting. Indeed, if the WA1 be even used in a car as the company states, it may be poised to advance home security into apartments where penetration is even lower than in houses.