Automotive Connected Objects

FenSens sensor protects your fender

Many accidents occur when parking a vehicle, often because it is hard to see exactly how much space one has when backing up into a spot. Parking sensors significantly cut down on such accidents, but the vast majority of cars don’t have them and they can be too costly for many consumers to afford.

patent-claimedFenSens is an affordable wireless, connected and sensor-based parking assistance system that works in conjunction with an app for Android and iOS mobile devices. The patent-pending device gets attached to a vehicle’s front or rear license plate frame and is easy to install in less than five minutes. FenSens enables uses to see (through a visual display), hear (through beeps), and feel (via vibration) any near-by objects in a driver’s blind spots from the convenience of a mobile phone screen. An alarm buzzer sounds if FenSens is tampered with and the device will allow users to register it with specific phones, making it useless for unverified mobile devices.

Automotive Connected Objects

Frizon HUD guides your car with a transparent screen, responds to gestures and speech

Heads-up displays (HUDs) tend to be better than traditional GPS devices because HUDs allow users to keep their eyes straight on the road in front of them while getting navigation and other useful information. A HUD display pops up directly in front of the driver, over the windshield, but doesn’t block the driver’s ability to see the road.

Frizon is a HUD with a transparent, Active Matrix OLED (AMOLED) screen. It auto starts with the car engine and responds to hand gestures and through speech recognition to control the radio, answer the phone and perform other car functions. Users can see all the car’s gauges on the screen without having to look away to the dashboard.

Automotive Imaging

Drive Guardian guards against falling asleep at the wheel

editors-choiceDistracted driving continues to pose a major safety hazard to the public and few types of distracted driving are as dangerous as falling asleep at the wheel.

Drive Guardian is a safety alert system with a driver-facing camera that detects drowsiness. After setting it up and turning on a vehicle’s engine, the camera monitors drivers’ eyes and pupils in real-time and, using sophisticated algorithms, the device alerts driver by displaying LED indicator lights and sounding audio warnings whenever they are drowsy or distracted.

Drive Guardian ships in July at $249. But early bird Indiegogo backers can get one for a pledge starting at $169. Its makers hope to raise $50,000 by April 21.

Automotive Connected Objects

Radiomize helps drivers keep their eyes on the road

editors-choiceDistracted driving remains a major problem that causes many needless accidents. Dashboard mounts for smartphones don’t really resolve the issue because they still require drivers to take their eyes off the road to look at their devices. Heads-up displays, meanwhile, tend to be costly, typically focus only on driving-specific information, and have raised their own set of safety concerns.

patent-claimedRadiomize is a steering wheel touchpad cover that sends commands to smartphones via patented gesture control technology. In addition to taking control of smartphone functions, it reads aloud text and social messages, as well as news that would be of interest to the driver.

Automotive Connected Objects Imaging

Fenderhawk keeps an eye out for fender benders

Cars are all too often banged and scratched by other cars even when they are parked. It would be nice for drivers to know when such accidents happen –- and how they happened — when they’re not around.

patent-claimedFenderhawk does exactly that. It’s a smart license plate frame for the front and rear of a vehicle that features a full HD camera with a wide-angle lens, as well as a built-in accelerometer and flash storage. Fenderhawk is controlled via an app on Android and iOS mobile devices. It assists users while parking a car and continues recording video after leaving the vehicle.

If there is a collision, Fenderhawk sends the user video footage recorded on it immediately, according to its Kickstarter campaign. Fenderhawk ships in October at $199.99. Its makers hope to raise $450,000 by Dec. 24.

The device may certainly appeal to some drivers, but its functionality seems somewhat limited when compared to driving assistance devices like CarVi. Avoiding accidents while driving, after all, seems much more important than guarding against fender benders while parked and there’s nobody in the car.

Automotive Connected Objects

Driver Watchdog’s dual cameras keep watch over your car inside and out for a fee

With the smart home space getting more crowded and connectivity coming to he vehicle, there’s been a growing number of driving assistant and monitoring devices that have sought crowdfunding in recent months.

Driver Watchdog is a wireless plug-and-play device featuring dual HD 175-degree panoramic cameras. The external camera records road conditions and accidents, while its internal camera monitors distracting behavior going on inside the car. The cameras record simultaneously and automatically stream data to the cloud for storage and review at a later time.


ArmRestor keeps road warriors focused on enjoying their drive

Driving can be one of the best parts of taking a vacation. ArmRestor was created with the road warrior in mind, providing a comfortable and convenient resting place for that left arm.  Since it attaches to the inside panel of the door and window, it can be used with either the window opened or closed. The latch system makes it compatible with most modern vehicles.

As for those creature comforts, ArmRestor provides easy access to one’s water bottle and a place for tissues and coins. The product’s one drawback seems to be the plastic-looking covering rather than cloth, which means that it may be hot on the arm during the summer and cold during the winter. Overall, the product seems like it has some quality to it, and that it’s a great idea – especially for those who spend a lot of time driving. This campaign seeks to raise $16,000 after having canceled their original campaign back in November. Early bird backers get one product for $24 with an expected delivery of May 2015.

Technology Wearables

SmoothEye goggles combat DWI; tell you when to call a cab

Driving while intoxicated remains one of the largest safety issues facing the United States today. Thousands of people die in DWI-related car accidents each year.

The new SmoothEye, from a New Jersey company of the same name, resembles typical safety goggles. But attached is an infrared diode and small black camera that tracks the user’s eye movements to accurately measure alertness and focus level. The device is programmed to conduct the same sort of field sobriety test that’s used by police to estimate alcohol intoxication. Consumers can also use the device to discover what distracts them and what helps them focus. Backers who make a pledge at the early bird price of $149 or more are expected to get the device in March. Its maker is looking to raise $30,000 in crowdfunding.

SmoothEye lacks the fashion sensibility of a wearable device like the Vive Smart Bracelet, which was developed by students at the University of Washington and featured at Microsoft’s Design Expo, that can also measure a user’s intoxication level. SmoothEye is just too bulky for the average consumer to travel with it to a bar or other location outside of the home where it would most come in handy. The fact that it, at least initially, must be attached to a Mac or Windows PC to be used only makes matters worse. It is not yet compatible with any mobile devices. Still, the notion of a device that may prevent DWI’s is certainly welcome on the market, however awkward it may be.


SpexGrip offers a safe place for your glasses in a pinch

spexGripFor those who wear eyeglasses, it’s important to have them at the ready when driving. Most eyeglasses clips for the car live on the visor and, when the clip is released, come crashing down right on the driver. SpexGrip holds your glasses in the car, but attaches to the center console instead. The glasses slide into the product so they’re easy to remove without incident. One SpexGrip will cost backers a donation of $5, with an extra one thrown in. This is one of those incredible simple and cheap products that could actually be quite convenient. SpexGrip is looking to raise $3,600 on Indiegogo.

Automotive Cell Phone Accessories Safety

Buoy protects loved ones from texting temptation in the car

The Premise. Texting and driving is a scourge affecting us all. Few drivers haven’t been tempted by the opportunity to compose a text or check e-mail while sitting at an intersection or navigating down a road, despite increasing technological and legislative attempts to curb such dangerous behavior. Admirable as these attempts have been, they haven’t addressed the fundamental root of the problem: the phone being in the driver’s hands at all.

The Product. Buoy, a sleek dock that mounts to the dashboard of your vehicle, is looking to confront that problem head-on. Using a patented system of proximity sensors, either within a newly manufactured car or an already functioning car with a built in docking station, The product can always detect when the driver’s cell phone is in the car. After a set amount of time, an alarm sounds accompanied by a flashing light to urge the driver to place their phone back in its designated position in the dock. By applying the idea of using behavioral cues similar to seat belt alarms to influence driver actions, DNJ Innovations is looking to position itself as a necessity rather than just an option to major car manufacturers.

The Pitch. Their campaign video not only shows off the 3D-printed Buoy prototype, but the final retail model in all its sleek glory, too. It also clearly explains everything from the legal issues DNJ Innovations had in mind when constructing Buoy to its ultimate goal of getting it into every car manufactured. Their 50 day campaign funding goal of $110,000 will support a full scale production run in the immediate future.

The Perks. The expected retail price for Buoy will be $149.99, but the various perks DNJ Innovations is offering cuts that price down. There’s an early bird special that nets you a Buoy in black for $95 and another, more general perk that does the same for $115. You can choose a different colored Buoy for $125, with bulk options of five or 10 Buoys for $500 and $850. The ultimate perk at $10,000 grants you the opportunity to both meet and talk business with the developers.

The Potential. DNJ Innovations has hit the nail on the head with this idea by approaching it with the kind of thinking that makes the idea itself seem completely obvious after you’ve heard it. In an industry trending heavily towards voice control in the car as a solution to using cell phones while driving, DNJ Innovations has taken a step back to take a look at the problem from fresh angles with Buoy as its result. Both the level of safety Buoy provides along with its relative simplicity should prove extremely attractive to major car manufacturers, as there’s no worry about the potential licensing and/or software issues other, more complicated systems present.