Automotive Tools

QuickTrick SL/SLX helps keeps your tires aligned

The Premise. Out of whack steering can be scary when you’re driving. Bumps, potholes, hitting curbs or everyday wear and tear can mess up your wheel’s alignment over time. It can be costly and time-consuming to bring your car to the mechanic in order to have the alignment checked.

The Product. The QuickTrick SL is a wheel alignment diagnostic system. The product attaches easily to your wheel on the ground, so no lift is needed. It comes with a digital reader that uses arrows to alert the user whether or not the wheel needs to be realigned. The product is made of metal and is about the size of a tire iron, making it easy to store in the car itself if needed.

The Pitch. The campaign opens with a high-quality video showing the QuickTrick being manufactured as well as narrative from the creator about the inspiration for the product. She goes on to explain in detail how to use the product. The rest of the campaign shows testimonials for people who like the QuickTrick and different statistics about the U.S.’s high rate of tire use. QuickTrick hopes to raise $28,250 in a 30-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. Early backers can nab a first production-run QuickTrick SL for $145 with an estimated delivery date of July 2014. Later backers will receive the QuickTrick for a $195 donation in August 2014. The highest $5,500 reward tier offers a trip to Alabama as well as accommodations. The creators plan to use the money from the stretch goal toward attending and competing in a large automotive venue new products competition.

The Potential. While the Internet offers a slew of “home remedies” for diagnosing alignment problems, all depend on feeling instead of hard data. The QuickTrick SL is a great way to save a trip to the mechanics by doing a simply diagnostic all by yourself. The reliability of the instrument is unknown, but if it is completely accurate, the QuickTrick will no doubt enjoy success on the automobile accessory market. 

Automotive Connected Objects

AutoBot transforms your smartphone into a translator for your car

The Premise. All modern automobiles come standard with a powerful diagnostic electronics system that handles the electronic functions of the vehicle and monitors the car’s performance. Getting to that data as an end user is not an easy task, however, and is often left to mechanics and auto shops to access.

The Product. The AutoBot is a simple device that can plug into a car via cigarette lighter or if the vehicle is manufactured after 2007, into the ODB-II diagnostic port on the car. While both outlets are supported, the cigarette lighter only offers simulated data compared to accurate readouts from the ODB-II port.  Because ODB ports are often inconveniently placed, the AutoBot comes with a long but unobtrusive cable, making the device ideal to set up. Once installed, the AutoBot delivers data to the Android or iOS, including GPS information for up to 60 days, suggestions on how to reduce fuel usage, and driving leaderboard data between friends.

The Pitch. The AutoBot team shows off the project through a series of modern, well-designed images, explaining the device’s functions and how it intends to bring “wearable tech” to the auto market. Questions not addressed in the campaign photos are likely found in the extensive FAQ section of the campaign. Only $10,000 is needed to bring the AutoBot to market, which is needed to distribute the device internationally and not just in China.

The Perks. Getting an AutoBot will take a pledge of $79, packed with both the app and the OBD II and USB cables. Higher tiers simply feature additional quantities. The AutoBot is expected to ship from China in August.

The Potential. As the Internet of Things continues to expand to every imaginable niche, it’s no surprise that now that market includes the car. Simpler diagnostic devices are available to the consumer especially thanks to the development of the OBD-II interface, but the AutoBot offers a more personal profile and advice, not just what drivers need to do to turn off the check engine light. It might not be something that every driver needs or even wants, but for those that treat their vehicles like their kin, keeping an AutoBot handy will help the driver/auto bonding process.