Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Knocki lets you turn surfaces into a remote for anything

editors-choiceIt’s 3 a.m. and it would be nice to turn the TV and lights off without getting out of bed.

patent-claimedKnocki is a short, cylindrical device that attaches to any surface and transforms that surface into a touch interface that can control other devices. Users set Knocki to perform specific actions through a set number of taps. It uses non-acoustic sensor technology to detect gentle surface gestures that are even a short distance away, but Knocki also has the ability to filter out random vibrations. The device works anywhere there is Wi-Fi, and there is a companion Android and iOS app for it.



A modular smartband is what’s Nex

One of the biggest criticisms about most smartwatches and smartbands is unsurprisingly similar to smartphones: they can’t be upgraded. Consumers are forced to buy products with a static set of features that, while they may be expanded on slightly using OTA updates, they eventually become fundamentally outdated after a certain time.

The Nex Band is looking to outfit consumers with a bit more choice. The modular smart band allows users to fully customize it with Mods, small little blocks each with their own functionality. This makes it possible for users to use the iOS app to program hacks in combination with IFTTT, so opening and closing the garage door, turning up the A/C, and controlling every other connected aspect of life is possible — all from the wrist. A community aspect is present where users can share mods with each other.

Input Music Smartwatches/Bands

Skin wearable music controller needs appeal that’s more than skin deep

Not many people would enjoy the idea of having to take out their smartphone while working out to change music. There’s a level of focus necessary to really get the most out of a workout, and doing that will definitely make sure it’s never achieved.

Swiss inventor Yves Steinmann’s Skin wearable hopes to make that small but annoying situation an afterthought. It’s a simple black wristband that uses Bluetooth to connect to a device in order to control music without an app.

Automotive Connected Objects

DRIVE drives smartphone interaction with your hands on the wheel

It may be the case that more recent models of cars have integrated smartphone connectivity, but usually they’ve done it in uninspired ways that don’t take in account the unique issues driving brings to the table. It isn’t like the only thing to do is stick a touchscreen and a dock in the middle of everything and call the job done. There are very particular design challenges that stem from the fact that we’re in two ton metal boxes with wheels. Because of this, safety is of upmost concern even if it doesn’t quite seem like it is.

Luckily for RISE Devices, their new DRIVE shows that they have safety on the mind. Along with deftly handling phone calls with its three mics, DRIVE reads out notifications and messages and allows the user to respond utilizing their own voice when it’s convenient. Two infrared beams shoot out of the device and a flick with both hands interrupts them, giving you an easy and unobtrusive way to activate DRIVE. Because of how it works, there aren’t buttons not any janky voice recognition or commands to get in the way. Its companion app facilitates the use of most messaging services and platforms like iOS, Android, and Windows, and since it connects via Bluetooth LE, other uses like music control are possible.

This device is both elegant and simple, but for that you’ll have to pay. As much as it gets done, it could use a few more bells and whistles as it has lots of potential. The product has an estimated delivery date of July 2015 and is currently going for $149, shooting up to more than $199 after the campaign’s end. For DRVINE, $88,000 is the goal to launch it into production.

Input Tech Accessories

Motus leads the movement for new desktop controls

The Premise. Aside from the stubborn curmudgeons and the technologically impaired, people need more than a keyboard and mouse these days. Touch screens and mobile devices have brought about simpler, more intuitive methods of controlling a computer. Now it’s time for those controls to become part of all computing experiences, including the desktop.

The Product. Motus may look like a tablet, and may control like a tablet, but it certainly has some new tricks up its sleeve. Connecting to computers over Bluetooth 4.0, Motus sits well on the side of the keyboard opposite the mouse, giving users the ability to use gesture controls in the space above the Motus itself to pan, zoom, rotate, scroll, and more. Motus is designed to be comfortable, intuitive, and allow three-dimensional concepts to find their way into the computer control scheme. Motus also has 15 touch capacitive buttons that owners can customize and program to do any functions that they may need quick access to.

The Pitch. Motus is an attractive piece of tech with an exciting feature set, and Ideas Un Limited knows this, so their campaign video focuses on the excitement of using the device and the sleek look of the product itself. A good portion of the campaign itself covers the design process of the Motus and the tech that goes inside of the device, with some tutorial and introduction videos sprinkled throughout. Ideas Un Limited needs $128,000 CAD to make using a Motus a reality for most consumers, and also has a stretch goal in place at $250,000 CAD for some different colors for the device.

The Perks. In order to get their hands on and above a Motus, backers will need to pledge $149 CAD and wait until November 2014. Developers who want to push the abilities of the device can get one of the very first devices available and have open access via phone and email with the hardware developers for $600 CAD.

The Potential. The personal computer is long overdue for an overhauled control scheme, but a big hurdle that needs to be overcome is designing an operating system with new controls in mind. Windows 8 took a big step in this direction, and the programmability of the Motus should make it flexible to handle any task with enough setup, but until a device like this is big enough to get native integration to a popular OS, it might be more of a struggle to get it working properly than it is to just stick with a keyboard and mouse for now while devices like this and Motix (sense a “mot“if?) try to find a lasting foothold in the PC market.

Health and Wellness Wearables

Whatever your music tastes GoGlove plugs into the new wave

The Premise. Exercising can be even more exhilarating and fruitful with the right music on to help push you to go further. No music, or slow sappy music, can completely mess with your workout rhythm or even make you want to stop. Most music players need to be handled manually in order to change the song, which can be a total hassle.

The Product. The GoGlove is a sports glove that connects to your music player via Bluetooth. Using different finger touch patterns, the wearer can adjust the volume, skip, go back, activate SIRI, play and pause their music on the go. The thin glove can be worn alone or underneath a ski glove for those engaging in winter sports. Its black material makes it look discreet and subtle.

The Pitch. GoGlove’s campaign video shows a humorous montage of runners, cyclists and other athletic types interrupted by a sappy love song. Its creators discuss the functionality of their product, along with stretch goals. The rest of the campaign discusses battery life and other tech specs of the glove. GoGlove is reaching for a $50,000 goal in a month-long Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. For early-glove-wearers, the product is $69 or $79 at a regular price with estimated delivery in December 2014. A stretch goal of $60,000 has been set in the hopes of creating an accompanying Android/iOS app so that wearers can customize their glove experience. A second stretch goal of $100,000 would allow the creators to develop a second product in a wristband form, for warmer sports.

The Potential. There’s nothing like exercising to great music and most people know what it’s like to be powering it out to Beyonce only to lag behind when Jack Johnson comes on. Lots of headphones and earbuds offer a way to adjust the players volume easily, but don’t have the array of options that the GoGlove has. Similarly, most opt to simply make a gym or exercising playlist filled with techno jams to keep that heart rate up. Still, GoGlove’s concept is novel in the fitness accessory world and will certainly be a welcome addition to the market, especially for those engaging in colder sports.

Connected Objects

Fitlime cuts off juice, puts the squeeze on laziness

The Premise. If it wasn’t for distractions such as work and the family, fitness would be so much simpler. Well, okay, the TV, video games, smart phone, computer, social networking, iPad and various other gadgets might have a little something to do with it too. What if there was an electronic device that could assist people with restricting such distractions?

The Product. The Fitlime Air System is a combination of hardware and software that is ironically used to keep you from some of your favorite hardware and software. A bland black loxkbox prevents use of videogame consoles while the app is used to restrict permissions on phone or tablet apps such as games. The key for the lock device can be left with a trusted friend until workout goals are completed. Fitness goals are registered in the app by the user along with the offending gadgets of distraction; the company is planning to integrate with popular exertion tracking apps and devices such as RunKeeper and the Jawbone UP.

The Pitch. The idea for the product came to founder Trevor McGerri back in 2011 while working toward his dentistry degree; the aspiring oral doctor struggled with the newest gadgets distracting him from his fitness goals and studies. The campaign video hits on the idea of distractions interfering with fitness goals by using 1960s Woodstock-style music and a guy who zones out with his smartphone when it’s time to say his name. The point is accentuated by a woman who rolls off the gym treadmill while answering her ringing smartphone. Of course, as soon as someone says they’ve never heard of such a thing, a McDonalds-style lawsuit will be splashed all over mainstream headlines on just such an event.

The Perks. Before you have the privilege of self-denial, you’ll need the discipline to send at least $74 to the campaign, which is the price for a console. This includes the hardware locking device and a remote to unlock it plus apps to connect up to 10 devices, Depending on which tier a backer selects, the estimated delivery date would be anywhere from March to May of 2014

The Potential. From the time of Odysseus and the sirens, we’ve known that precommitment can be a powerful aid in resisting temptation. More recently, we’ve seen sites such as Stickk that require you to pay money when you miss certain goals. The Aim hardware device is similar in concept to Bob, designed to control tasks such as TV watching and game playing for kids. It, like the Aim, is ineffective for battery-controlled devices such as the iPad. Fitlime is trying to set straight tech junkies, game addicts, and those who tend to get wrapped up in TV, the Internet and social networking to the point of losing track of the time once they get started. But the veneer of prevention that it provides doesn’t appear to be enough of a deterrent.


Fin rings up a versatile approach to wearable gestures

The Premise. Technology has evolved by putting more power directly at the tips of our fingers, but there hasn’t been much breakthrough in the way we input information since the first iPhone and Kinect came out. Touchscreen devices and motion sensing appliances put control directly into our hands, but there hasn’t been a gadget that’s been able to unite these devices until now.

The Product. Fin allows you to take control of your entire digital world with a small ring that transforms your palm into a touchscreen of sorts. One edge of it flips up like a hairdo with tips. Small taps and finger swipes control the functions of Bluetooth devices such as smartphones, smart TVs, smart homes, and cars all through one sleek and handy (pun fully intended) device. Fin uses low amounts of power while also being both dustproof and waterproof, so it’s a practical way to make technology more ergonomic in the way that we interact with the world.

The Pitch. There’s a sentimental aspect connected to using our fingers for everything, and Fin’s video does a good job of capturing it, even campaigning for it as a fashion statement. Fin’s creatoors show how adaptable it can be by using the awakening the sense of touch to improve the quality of life, and end the video by urging the user to “wear the world.”

The Perks. The price seems a little steep for such a small device at $99 for the early bird price. The technology that it packs is worth it, but they won’t deliver it until September 2014. There are different packages for more Fins, but one is more than enough to get you started as the technology of it continues to develop and improve.

The Potential. Right now, there simply aren’t enough devices that the Fin can effectively control. It definitely has the potential to be a device that can control the way we interact with technology, but it will need more developer support. They also still haven’t completed their design and the nine-month waiting period before shipment gives cause for pause. If you want to get your digits dancing on the cusp of technology, it could be worth pledging.