Drive offers the warm glow of achievement by removing the warm glow of TV

Whether it’s being used for playing videogames or the binge watching of TV shows, the television continues to help adults and kids procrastinate.

patent-claimedDrive is an outlet adapter that connects to a home Wi-Fi network and receives instructions from its owner on when to enable or disable the use of a TV. It works in conjunction with an Android, iOS and Windows app. If parents don’t want their kids to watch TV or play games until they are done with their homework or household chores, Drive can be used to bar those children from using the TV for a set period of time. If adults make a New Year’s resolution to exercise and lose weight, but can’t manage to bring themselves to turn off the TV, Drive can be set to automatically block the TV from being used until they burn some calories.


Revolution Hybrid Magnetic Golf Tee improves drives, gives way under pressure

Golf tees are an essential part of getting the best drive. However, their simplistic design hasn’t been update in quite a while.

The Revolution Hybrid Magnetic Golf Tee puts a new spin on the traditional golf tee. This product consists of a base that sticks into the ground and a magnetic tee that holds the ball. Since the base is always stuck into the ground the same way, the tee remains at the same height, making it easier to hone those driving skills. In addition, the tee gives way when the ball is hit, cutting down on resistance so that the ball goes farther.

As with many sports devices, the real question is always: does it actually work? The argument that the ball will go farther is a little doubtful, but the consistent tee height should be enticing to golf enthusiasts. Backers can have their very own on Kickstarter for a donation of $13 with estimated delivery in April 2015. The Revolution Hybrid Magnetic Golf Tee (whew!) hopes to raise $10,000 in its campaign.

Connected Objects

U-Wake headband keeps drivers from snoozing

It’s a sad truth, but even the most responsible, experienced drivers have found themselves dozing off at the wheel every now and then. For the most part nothing happens, but if something does, it can be terrible. With driver fatigue responsible for over 100,000 accidents in the US alone, some fatal, it’s certainly a problem that needs to be addressed.

Besides copious amounts of unhealthy energy drink or sugar-laden coffee, there aren’t very many solutions to keeping a driver up and alert. U-Wake is aiming to change that with a Bluetooth-connected headband device that uses EEG to analyzes a driver’s brain wave patterns to detect unsafe levels of fatigue. If the driver is found to be too tired to safely handle the vehicle, an alert is sent to the U-Wake companion app to keep them awake and to family and friends to keep them informed, too. The device weighs in at a sparse 25 grams, so drivers won’t even notice it’s there most of the time. U-Wake goes for $185 and is expected to ship in May 2015, provided its campaign reaches the $200,000 funding goal.

It’s very important to make sure all aspects of a driver’s trip, from the car to the drivers themselves, are in tip-top shape. What used to need constant supervision now only needs a few different devices, so the U-Wake is in good company even if its construction is a bit ungainly. This product will be especially useful to long-haul truck drivers. A DRIVE and a Bluetooth tire pressure management system are solid options to round out a person’s next trip and keep their attention focused squarely on the road.

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.

Cell Phone Accessories

Moobitalk takes a low-tech approach to allow hands-free car conversations

Cell phone usage while driving is not only dangerous, but illegal in most states. Many people, however, must suffer a long commute to work and simply can’t remain silent during the whole ride, whether they’re talking to work or their families. Moobitalk seeks to give commuters a way to take on the phone hands-free. It attaches to the seatbelt once it is already fastened. Then, when a call comes in, simply hit speaker phone and attach the phone’s screen to Moobitalk. It uses micro-suction technology to keep the phone in place without damaging the screen. Backers can nab the Swedish-made Moobitalk for £18 (~$29) with an estimated delivery date of December 2014. The hands-free device is hoping to raise £34,000 (~$54,000) on Kickstarter.

Moobitalk is a good idea, but executed poorly. Like many other car-centric devices, GPS’s and DVD players included, Moobitalk requires some setting up before use. So, while the driver is talking there are no hands being used, an incoming call still requires some set up. An ear-attached hands-free device that only requires the push of a button for picking and hanging up calls may be more safe for chatty drivers on the road. In addition, many newer cars come equipped with built-in Bluetooth technology, meaning that pretty soon most hands-free devices will be deemed unnecessary.


Stingray seeks to eradicate those little trees hanging off your rearview mirror

Many people enjoy using various aromas in their vehicle to keep the air fresh. But what if there were an air freshener device that would allow for variety at the press of a button and also helped people to stay healthier during cold and flu season?

Stingray is an air freshening device that uses various natural aromatizes to enhance respiratory health. It doesn’t require any special tools or skills to install, and is touted as having reliable fastening in any situation, even if one is into doing 4×4 truck shows in which one hits the ramps, goes airborne, and lands with a crowd pleasing, high wheeling thud (see video).  As for normal drivers, they may be more interested to know about having the option of four scents, which can be changed at any time of their choosing at the press of a button. The fragrances release every 5, 10, 15 or 30 minutes, with an “extra” button that can be used at any time.  Stingray automatically shuts off when the car is turned off, and is hardy enough to withstand extremely cold temperatures. It also has two USB charging ports.

Stingray could be enjoyed by pretty much anyone who drives a vehicle. It would be nice to know what scents will be offered with the product, if they ever need to be replaced and where or how one would get the refills, but this is not clearly indicated. This campaign is seeking to raise $200,000 by November 14, 2014. For $69, early bird backers get one product.


Chute trainer improves your golf shots by adding lag

Golf is one of those sports that seems none too stimulating. Untrue. There’s a lot involved in perfecting one’s stroke to get that ball close to or in the hole. Chute Trainer is designed to perfect your swing. Essentially a little parachute, it attaches to the bottom of your club to teach you the dynamics of lag. This helps to strengthen the golfers’ arms so that they shoot with more force, leading to drives up to 20 to 30 yards longer. Chute Trainer is small, folds up in your pocket and is completely detachable from the club. One will cost backers $35 with a Kickstarter campaign goal of $25,000.

Golf trainers are many and short between. Most, however, focus on putting, like GreenPlay, X Ball and Zen Bloodhound covered on Backerjack. This is one of the few that aims to improve a golfer’s drive, the first and most important step in getting par. While really only appropriate for serious golfers, Chute Trainer is a good tool for those who find themselves on the green most days, if it actually works.

Tech Accessories

Reversible flash drive always knows which way is up

Super MotorUSB drives are an incredibly useful method for sharing information. The Super Motor USB Flash Drive is a new and improved design on the traditional USB. Not only does it boast more storage space and faster processing, but it’s also reversible. The campaign video shows how the drive can go in one of two ways. It’s unclear why this is entirely necessary, but we’ve all had trouble inserting USBs at one point or another so the Super Motor does make the whole process easier. One will cost backers $15 for 8GB of space. Super Motor hopes to raise $7,000 on Kickstarter.