Pets Wearables

Arden Collar combines LEDs, GPS and Bluetooth to help find and identify lost pets

Pets have the tendency to wander off, much like children. When they do, they have a much harder time finding their way home. Not only that, but they run the risk of getting hit by a car or snatched up by some Cruella de Vil type. Once pets are gone, pet owners must resort to flyers which usually produce no results.

The Arden Collar works to keep your pet safe at all times. This silicone collar features a GPS tracker which hooks up via Bluetooth LE or Wi-Fi to an app so that you can see where your pet is. In addition, with the help of NFC, those near the lost pet will be alerted to its missing status. The collar will display the pet’s information on their phones, including name and address as well as the vet’s name and address. This makes it possible for others to easily help Fido find home.

This collar isn’t only useful in times of emergency. With Hi-LED lights that can be activated at the push of a button, owners can walk their dogs at night with maximum visibility. Also, the collar tracks the dog’s activity, temperature and other vitals and stores the data in the cloud. This way, owner and vet can make sure the pet is healthy. For maximum convenience, Arden has a detachable battery to make charging possible without removing the whole collar.

The Arden Collar has lots of cool features that will make it useful to lots of dog owners. It takes GPS tracking a step further by giving strangers the opportunity to help. In addition, it monitors the dog’s health like a FitBit does for humans. The one major drawback of this product, however, is that it may cost up to $45 each month for the services it provides. For those who don’t mind the monthly bill, one will cost $149 for estimated delivery in October 2015. Arden is looking to raise a ridiculous $400,000 on Indiegogo.

Kids/Babies Wearables

FTRAC promises cheap and easy tracking of kids, others

Tracking solutions come in all shapes and sizes, but one thing you can be sure of is a hefty price tag associated with keeping connected to the bells and whistles these devices give you. A lot of the time, though, the device supposed to help you worry less makes you worry more because it doesn’t work as properly as it should.

FTRAC is a versatile and thereby more functional tracking alternative. It takes advantage of its GPS, GSM, and Wi-Fi capabilities to ensure that whatever is being tracked, a child, an elderly family member, a pet is always detected. The device comes in three models: the Superior boasts all the bells and whistles such as a microSD slot, the EXP can be worn in a multitude of different ways, and the Pets version comes with a collar. The FTRAC iOS, Android, or Web companion app allows users to set geo-fences, facilitates alerts for wet pets, and provides a map UI for easy tracking.

That usually fearsome monthly fee? It’s $2.95 through FTRAC, or users can opt for their own data plan through another carrier. Their $18,000 Kickstarter campaign is offering a free six month subscription for an early bird backing of anywhere from $69 to $89, depending on the model. They could’ve done more, though, when compared to the subscription perk Pip is offering. Start tracking beginning February 2015.

Connected Objects Pets

Pip pings pooches, passes on perpetuating perennial payments

One of our biggest worries concerning our four-legged friends is the possibility of them getting lost. Microchips work only 50% of the time, while Bluetooth trackers only function in a very limited range. Pip is combining a Bluetooth-capable receiver with a GPS and a CDMA radio in order to keep tabs on your pet’s paws no matter where they may wander off to.

Pip relieves the dread that comes along with a pet’s disappearance by simply being attached to a collar. It’s combination of utility interfaces with the PIP companion app to show a pet’s location with an accuracy of five feet. It also tracks activity as well, keeping you in the loop on the benefits of your pooch’s tail-chasing session. The device boasts a three month battery life because of its low-power mode when in safe areas, and with Kickstarter backers enjoying no fees for the lifetime of the product, Pip provides peace of mind outside of pet protection. International folk are out of luck though, due to its CDMA radio. In any case, Pip is going for a hefty $179 and is expected on doorsteps by June of 2015. The campaign is trying to raise $50,000 by mid-December 2014.

Connected Objects Music

Wayit combines an app and gadget to let you listen to others’ jams

We’re in an age where sharing pretty much anything is a possibility, giving rise to an entirely new class of devices taking advantage of the technology that allows us to do so. With that in mind, Wayit is letting users share not only music playlists like other services but also exactly what they’re listening to at the moment. The iOS/Android app itself works by syncing to whatever you’re listening to at the moment, making it available to others wanting to jump into the groove with you.

Their Indiegogo campaign is not about the app, though. What Wayit is looking to do is raise $250,000 to complete the production of a companion wearable device that allows users to benefit from proximity to other Wayit users. GPS and proximity sensors would allow friends or strangers to be alerted to other users in their presence, let them listen in to their music, and even have those tunes be influenced by the emotional status of the person listening, possibly facilitating some spontaneous friendships in the process.

The device’s retail price will be $45, but for now backers can grab one for $30. And while that low price may convince some to ignore needing to buy a separate device solely for this feature, it ultimately won’t fly as an extra device on top of everything else we carry has to really be something special and Wayit isn’t that device. Backers can expect their Wayit in April of 2015.

Sensors/IoT Wallets

Jayster wallet lets you know of its absence via Bluetooth

Losing anything valuable can put a huge dent in our day, throwing us off from what we need to do and causing unnecessary worry and stress. Instead of running around trying to get it sorted by retracing your steps or calling your credit card companies, Jayster wants to help you avoid that altogether with its wallet sensor. Without adding much weight or volume, Jayster gives your wallet all the functionality necessary so that you can get it back in your hands when it isn’t.

The slim insert comes in a variety of colors, and is outfitted with both Bluetooth and GPS technology that allows it to connect to your iOS or Android smartphone. If your wallet somehow strays further than 15 feet away from you, an audible alarm on the insert itself will sound in its Nest mode. If it ends up lost even after that, a companion app uses a hot/cold system or a more accurate GPS to find it. Jayster will continue to grow and be useful down the road with its upgradeable firmware and replaceable battery that lasts for two years as well. As much as this will avoid lots of headaches, its $20 price tag certainly reflects its limited functionality. The campaign is looking to deliver the Jayster by November 2014, with a campaign goal of $10,000.


Kids/Babies Safety Smartwatches/Bands

Linkoo shrinks down the size, price of the child locator watch

No matter how many precautions are taken, a parent’s worry for their child’s whereabouts isn’t something that is easily quelled — if at all. It’s ingrained deep in our wiring to be worried for our offspring. From getting lost to more serious concerns like predators, the only defense a parent really has are cell phones. For younger children, though, a smartphone comes with excessive maintenance costs even if it may contain everything a parent needs to feel better.

Inventor Lionnel Legros has created Linkoo to ease the worry of parents across the globe. Linkoo is a combination GPS tracker and cell phone for specifically for kids. The myriad of bright, fun color options appeals to kids while the integrated GSM appeals to parents, programmable with each parent’s number and one SOS number for emergencies. The child can make calls to these numbers or receive calls from anywhere around the world, and if the child doesn’t pick up a call, the watch will automatically call back ensuring the parent gets in contact no matter what. A Web portal and companion iOS/Android apps offer parents an additional layer of protection in the form of  maps with real-time tracking and geo-fencing capabilities. The Linkoo is going for $129 with an estimated delivery date of March 2015. Inventor Lionel Legros is looking for $50,000 in funding.

Capitalizing on a child’s excitement for their first watch is a smart move on the inventor’s part, even if it’s a little sneaky. But for parents, nothing is ever too sneaky to ensure their child’s safety. The excessive costs associated with maintaining a smartphone for a child are mitigated with a solution that keeps just the essentials, making it very child-friendly. There are tons of other GPS, childcare smart watches on the market like the 1Decision Bracelet that interacts with an accompanying bracelet worn by the parent, taking responsibility off of the child’s shoulders to signal for help. So the question remain: will a child actually wear it if they were to know what it actually does? The video paints an ideal picture, but is it a truthful one? We all know how finicky children can be, after all.

Pets Sensors/IoT

Pod pet locator can withstand the elements

When a pet goes missing, it creates a tense situation full of nerves and panic as the family members try and locate a living being that could be absolutely anywhere and is unable to pick up a phone or write.

Pod is a GPS tracker that can be clipped onto a pet’s collar that provides a mixture of tracking and social features to push notifications to phones when a dog or cat goes wandering off  unsupervised. In addition to being able to simply locate a pet, Pod functions as a sort of local social network for pet owners to compare running speeds or area explored. The tracker is lightweight and waterproof, so it won’t risk shorting out and won’t weigh the pet down or make it uncomfortable. Pod needs $50,000 to do its part in preventing lost pets. At the $149 pledge level, supporters can get this real time tracker and attach it to their beloved pets.

Anything that can prevent a lost or endangered pet is a great tool to have, although a lot of the core design is built around letting pets run free. That kind of attitude is not global, and owners will still be responsible for their pet’s behavior, so buyers beware.

Connected Objects Technology

Findster ditches cellular connection but lets you locate at long range

The Premise. Many people can remember the mind-numbing worry that comes along with losing track of a younger member of the family or a pet. Striking that balance between watching them while also giving them room to enjoy themselves has always been a tricky, but most would err on the side of caution. Although products now exist that help track people or pets, either their range or their costly monthly fees don’t make them very practical.

The Product. Findster is a proprietary tracking solution created so that users would never have to worry about losing a loved one while fretting about range or monthly fees while doing so. There are four parts to the system that make it what it is: a tracking module for both the guardian and the child or pet, a basestation, and a smartphone app tying it all together.

The product is simple: a parent or guardian uses the Findster smartphone app to mark a predetermined space. Once created, push notifications alert the guardian if a child or pet leaves that space, leading them in real-time so that both can reunite. The tracking modules have a range of one kilometer, but base stations can expand this range by two kilometers, with no limit on the number of repeaters. This allows guardians to stay connected with kids at school, or pets at home. Group monitoring adds more layers of security. In addition, other Findsters can act as anonymous relay points to aid in your search. Additional features, like fall detection for kids and a pet activity monitor, give you an extra pair of eyes where there are none.

The Pitch. The campaign’s professionally done style is clear, concise and super informative, doing a great job of explaining the many capabilities of this technology while being careful to avoid being heavy handed about it.

The Perks. If you want to get set up properly with Findster, $199 is the price of admission for either the kids or pets version. Either comes with a one base station, one guardian’s module, one Findster module, and a charging module. A package for $550 (retail $949) is available which includes four basestations and four Findster modules, while another for $649 includes one guardian’s module, 10 Findster modules and one charging module. Estimated delivery of all perks is slated for April 2015.

The Potential. One of the biggest issues with GPS-only devices is their inability to work well indoors, a problem Findster has addressed with its base station concept. This makes the potential range more or less unlimited, provided there are enough around to do the job — and that’s appealing considering there are no monthly fees. All in all, the range may prove to be an issue for some, but the Findster will shine in closed environments like local parks and campuses where an interested party can outfit them with the needed number of relay points.

Connected Objects Fitness Smartwatches/Bands

$29 Jaha fitness band counts steps, saved dollars

jaha2With the likes of the Fitbit Flex, Jawbone Up, and Nike Fuelband hogging up the spotlight alongside other, lesser known fitness bands, Jaha is hoping their version will stand out. With the options to locate and challenge others nearby or take up the virtual challenges Jaha will throw at you with the accompanying iOS app, the product isn’t content with only keeping you informed, but motivated as well. Of course, the challenge is that we’re starting to see a lot of this step-counting functionality built into the smartphones themselves. Jaha’s campaign is trying to shore up $25,000 to have their band around your wrist by November 2014.

Connected Objects Pets

Iota teams up with more of its kind to track anything

The Premise. Tagging something so that it won’t be lost can be done any number of ways, from something as simple to a tag with contact information to microchips and affixed GPS trackers. Now it’s time to know more than simply where something is; it’s time to know where it’s headed and what condition it’s in.

The Product. Iota is a small GPS tracker only slightly larger than a quarter that packs a lot of data processing power underneath its tiny hood. With the ability to be attached to any material, Iota can report the location of a pet, child, bicycle, or key ring. An alarm can be triggered through the Iota app in case it’s hiding in plain sight, and a variety of sensors can push notifications if something’s wrong. With an accelerometer and a temperature sensor, Iota can report if a dog needs to get out of the sun or can be put on a door frame to alert owners to someone entering their home. The Home Base attachment can be set up in a home and offers GPS tracking in four miles in every direction, and can also communicate with other Home Bases in the coverage area to cover even more ground.

The Pitch. Iota’s simple design aesthetic carries over into its pitch video, which chooses to demonstrate the different features of the device as opposed to being flashy or needlessly over-produced. The campaign itself covers the features of each of the unique profiles and how to set up an Iota more thoroughly to demonstrate how simple it is to keep track of the things that matter. Iotera, the maker of Iota, is looking to raise a whopping $250,000 to create molds, get the proper certifications, and go into production.

The Perks. An Iota with Home Base and accessories to attach it to any number of things can be picked up for $99 with a shipping date of January 2015. A second Iota tag is added to the package at the $169 level, and a third at $249. The tags and Home Bases continue to multiply as the reward tiers get more and more expensive.

The Potential. If Iota simply tracked, it would be easy to say that there are a number of other options that would do its job just as well, but because the device is flexible enough to be a pet monitor, a home security system, and more, Iota is an exciting prospect that deserves support, and once it hits the market, some lucky things may never go missing again.