Adaptalux offers a hydra of color to light up macro photography

editors-choiceMacro photography can produce some startling images. However, unlike, say, portraiture that is often done in a studio, it’s difficult to have fin control over the kind of lighting and color in an image.

Adaptalux is a lighting add-on that attaches to the hot shoe of a digital SLR camera. The main unit hosts up to five flexible hose-like LED lights in five different hues that can be used with diffusers or gels to produce striking lighting effects for pictures of small objects such as leaves or bugs. The company also offers a miniature platform for staging such spectacles. Adaptalux Ltd. seeks £100,000 (about $150,000) by May 2nd. Prices range from about £100 (about $150) for a starter pack that includes two lighting arms) to £300 (about $445) for the complete set of lighting arms, diffusers and filters. All rewards are expected to ship in November.

Adaptalux dramatically expands the color options available to macro photographers in the studio or the field and the flexibility of the lights allow for a great deal of creative control. While the product has a companion app, it would be great to see it control the brightness of the various lights directly rather than merely offering advice, a feature that’s likely on the roadmap.


HomeHalo router clips kids’ wings with parental controls

For pretty much everyone with access, the Internet is an indispensable part of our daily lives and facilitates more and more of it every single day. The second you become a parent, however, that same marvel immediately becomes a minefield for the little ones. It’s been a struggle for parents to figure out how best to filter the content available and limit the time kids spend on the Internet to protect their growing loved ones. Inventor Chris Gray went through this same dilemma, was ultimately dissatisfied with the options on the market, and created the HomeHalo to truly empower parents.

The combination router, cloud service, and iOS/Android app come together to create a simple system in which any parent, not only the technologically savvy ones, can have total control over their children’s Internet habits across all devices. HomeHalo separates from other products because it allows for different profiles for each child.  This way, younger tykes can have stricter filters and limits than, say, a 15-year-old.

The app will let parents approve or deny additional time requests, and review, approve, block, and whitelist Web sites in real time using push notifications. HomeHalo will also alert you if its hardware is being tampered with or turned off as well, letting you take action immediately. The HomeHalo campaign is pushing for a £30,000 (~$47,000) infusion. Those who are interested can grab a beta version with no fees ever for £75 (~$117), while a regular version goes for £140 (~$220). The device is estimated to be delivered by February 2015.

The HomeHalo is a promising little product built atop a categorization system that doesn’t strictly rely on DNS addresses, which greatly reduces the chances something like this will be bypassed. Even still, systems that try to limit and filter Internet time like the HomeHalo and box&rox are based on the assumption that kids will never figure out ways around them, underestimating the incredible tech savvy of young ones.

Health and Wellness

Mynus wants to help smokers quit one step at a time

The Premise. Quitting smoking is challenging because the body learns to depend on nicotine. Gums and patches exist, but can be difficult to self-regulate, and the same goes for e-cigarettes, which sometimes reinforce the habit more than they help reduce intake.

The Product. Mynus is a small-flask sized device that smokers might not expect to be able to smoke with. Not only does it let them smoke, though, it’s designed to help them quit by reducing their nicotine intake over time. The product uses a series of step-down filters that progress from allowing 100% of the smoke through down in 10% increments to 10% itself. This creates a way that smokers can gradually wean themselves off of the bad stuff while also increasing the value of their cigarettes because the smoke stays in the Mynus chamber. Additionally, there’s almost no second-hand smoke or cigarette smell, and by having the device on-hand at all times, a fix is just a mouthpiece and a filter away.

The Pitch. CEO of Epuphany and Mynus inventor Kelly Adamic explains how the product began as a way for his hospital bed-ridden friend to have a smoke in a place he certainly wouldn’t be allowed to. From there, Kelly’s passion for a world without smokers took shape, and Mynus was adapted to allow smokers to quit gradually and on their own terms. Unlike many other anti-smoking campaigns, Mynus keeps the heavy-handedness of statistics to a minimum, and stresses that it allows smokers to still enjoy a cigarette at a level that’s satisfying for them. Mynus wants to raise $500,000 to hit the market and hopefully revolutionize the process of quitting smoking.

The Perks. Mynus is expected to start helping smokers quit in November 2014, and backers can get one for $165, with a Platinum-plated Founders edition available for $375. There’s even a almost ludicrous tier that offers 25 Mynus devices for $3,995.

The Potential. Anything that can help people quit smoking is definitely going to attract attention, but Mynus is a double-edged sword. By having a device that eliminates virtually all over the smoke and odor, desperate smokers might be inclined to use it to sneak smokes  in places they would normally not be able to. And let’s not even get into what the citizens of Washington and Colorado might try to pull off with this. Ultimately, it’s up to the owner how Mynus is used, and that’s why it could both be a huge success or failure when it comes to helping people actually quit.