Smart Home

Channel your inner Joaquin Phoenix with Cubic AI assistant

Movies like “Iron Man” and “Her” have posited the idea of digital AIs that exist beyond the borders of their physical confines. They present a conception of technology where we could command these systems to do things for us, whether it be to set up a room to the user’s liking to simply ordering some pizza. With each passing year, what was once incredibly far-fetched technology has become more and more commonplace, and the team behind the Cubic has stuffed it all in a box and mix it in with lots of smarts.

The Cubic is a humble looking, Wi-Fi enabled box that houses a personal AI bursting with intelligence and charm. Its multi-topic conversational system allows users to naturally respond to jokes, news, text messages, and phone calls. From the current weather and traffic time in the morning, keeping users up-to-date with emails and news throughout the day, or preparing a user’s home by controlling connected home automation devices on their way back, Cubic is incredibly versatile and presented to be effortless to use.

The device boasts a 25ft range of voice recognition at home but Cubic doesn’t end when users leave: a wearable Power Badge takes Cubic with you so that users can constantly stay informed and have total control over apps like Dropbox and Facebook with or without headphones. It can also learn: Cubic will adapt to a user’s humor, and users can teach Cubic to critique movies and even differentiate types of liquors. The $195 Cubic is expected to be delivered by November 2015 provided the campaign reaches its $100,000 goal.

The Cubic bears a more than passing resemblance to Ubi and Amazon’s Echo, but is looking to provide more than a home-based, voice-controlled device but rather an AI assistant that can be of help all day. It’s hard to believe the Cubic works as well as it’s being presented, though, as many companies have been trying to nail down voice recognition for years and still have trouble recognizing basic phrases. Cubic is promising in theory, so it would be a shame if the team behind it dropped the ball.

Input Video Games

Echo shoots to kill traditional first-person gaming controllers

The Premise. All the buzz of the Oculus Rift has made a giant wave in the gaming community. The games themselves may be growing more and more lifelike and advanced, but the controller interface remains largely the same. With VR headsets and omnidirectional headsets comes the need for a controller that is as immersive for action as those peripherals are for vision and movement.

The Product. Echo is a PC and Linux-compatible wireless controller designed for first-person shooters that offers unparalleled immersion. The housing for the control is a modified real firearm, not unlike high-quality airsoft rifles. With extra buttons and an added joystick, players can use the Echo as a stand-alone device for movement, in addition to realistic aiming, firing, and reloading. Fire modes can be changed from single shot to automatic, and reloading is accomplished by ejecting and reattaching the gun’s magazine.

The Pitch. The video pitch for the Echo is all about high drama, with an intense musical background and plenty of action in some of today’s hottest first-person shooter titles. The rest of the campaign’s coverage can be a little technically dense in terms of explaining the functionality of the device, but the passion and excitement of the Echo Solutions team in the attached videos is easy to understand upon seeing the controller in action. They company’s funding goal is $100,000 to bring the controller into production, but multiple stretch goals are available, opening the door for MacOS support, force feedback and peripheral add-ons, and eventually console support at $150,000.

The Perks. A product designed for elite gamers, the Echo controller is available starting at $400 pledges. Functionally, there are no upgrades available, but in terms of style points, backers can get a custom camouflage on their Echo for $700, and a personal engraving with weapon case for $1,000. The Echo supply drop will reach the battlefield in November.

The Potential.  Shooter fanatics have to be salivating at the look of this controller, especially with the suggestion that if this peripheral can reach production, gamers will have a choice of their favorite gun models to choose from. Devices like these are almost always a case of novelty more than competitive control, but it would make watching e-sports that much more exciting to see a team of players running on treadmill controls and using the steadiness of their own arms to pull off their professional-grade shots.