Pika portable tattoo device gets ink done on the run

Tattoo artists are only as good as their tools. For them, the vibrating needles they use to infuse ink into skin must be sound, clean and accurate in order to deliver the best results.

Pika takes the traditional tattoo gun and adds portability. This battery-powered device allows artists to give tattoos wherever they’d like. It’s also a great way for artists to switch between colors more easily. The cordless unit allows the artist the ability to adjust the speed, throw, and depth of their needles. Pika offers customizable plate design too, so that the artist’s personal taste can shine through their tool.

While Pika isn’t the first of its kind, it does offer the type of convenience a freelance tattoo artist may crave. Unfortunately, the offered customizable plates are fairly lame. Still, backers can have one of their own for a donation of £65 (~$98) by April 2015. Pika is looking to raise £5,000 (~$7,600) on Kickstarter by March 25.

Input Video Games

Trinity Magnum lets you virtually bring a gun to a keyboard and mouse fight

The Premise. Since video games became a cultural phenomenon, gamers and developers alike have craved ways to become a part of the game. After 20 years of stalling and failing to launch, virtual reality headsets are on the brink of becoming the next big thing in gaming. Now it’s time to gear up with the weapons to survive the games.

The Product. The Trinity Magnum is a motion controller designed to handle and feel like a gun, the kind of which one would find in any first-person shooter. With one- or two-handed grips, a trigger, two joysticks, and four buttons, the Magnum is intuitively compatible with a number of titles regardless of genre. With a 9-axis IMU and optical tracking using a compatible camera, 1:1 motion is offered with no drift and maximum accuracy.

The Pitch. The launch video for Trinity Magnum is exactly what those who follow the gaming industry should expect. With hands-on footage from Game Developer’s Conference and testimonials from developers and users alike, it’s easy to get excited by what’s on display. The campaign itself goes into more detail regarding compatibility and functionality, as well as existing partnerships for the device. TrinityVR are shooting for a goal of $60,000 to assemble and test the prototype before finalizing and shipping the Magnum.

The Perks. A Magnum Developer Kit can be scored for $80 and will be out by the end of the year complete with SDK and the gun itself, though a compatible camera will need to be picked up elsewhere. Higher tiers simply offer multiple Trinity Magnums.

The Potential. As is pointed out in the pitch video, virtual reality gaming is all about immersion, and a VR headset is just half the battle. The technology behind the Trinity Magnum should make it an incredibly powerful tool in bringing games to life. Unfortunately, some of that realism might be lost through the current prototype design, which looks a bit like a Wii Zapper and a PlayStation Move controller had a baby as opposed to resembling a gun. The other issue this campaign might run into is focusing only on backers receiving development kits: which is great news for designers, but more than the average gamer needs. Add to this that an OpenCV camera is required, and there’s something that’s a really great piece of technology, but maybe a little too rough around the edges to really sell VR equipment.

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.

Safety Sensors/IoT

GunBoxLive sends forewarning of firearm finagling

The Premise. Gun safety in the USA has proven to be seriously lacking. Every year there are thousands of gun-related deaths, most of them accidental and preventable. The worst part is, people don’t know that their guns have been accessed without their permission or stolen until it is too late.

The Product. GunBoxLive is a gun safety system that connects to your smartphone. It alerts the user to which specific gun has been accessed, if the case has been moved, if gun has been accessed, removed or put back into the case. The app also provides immediate options to dial 911, report the gun stolen or show the map location of the weapon. GunBoxLive MD3G is a small device that works with any gun case roughly the size of a USB flash drive. The GunBoxLive HGC1 is a smart case with the device already built in.

The Pitch. GunBoxLive really goes for the shock factor in its campaign video with a sad and not-so-subtle dramatization of an accidental shooting involving two small children. The rest of the campaign follows suit with sad photos and even sadder statistics of gun violence. The developer is looking for a relatively ambitious  $100,000 goal in its 60-day run on Indiegogo.

The Perks. The GunBoxLive MD3G device goes for an early price of $279. The HGC1 smart case goes for $359 with estimated delivery dates of October 2014. Reward tiers include service member discounts for policemen, firemen and military personnel and go all the way up to $13,500. As expected for any device that uses a cellular connection, there is a subscription charge. The first year of the app is free, but each additional year costs $60 for one year, $100 for two and $120 for three.

The Potential. GunBoxLive offers a smart way for gun owners to keep track of their firearms. Its options to call 911 and show if the gun has been removed or not puts it above existing smart gun cases such as the Gun Box. While the campaign video may be a bit sensationalist, the issue it addresses is serious. The added cost of renewing the subscription for the app, however, may deter backers. Many gun owners may simply opt for a locked box, but particularly those with kids will certainly see the benefits of the GunBoxLive.