Music Networking

Hub lets you stream wireless hi-fi audio to multiple users

It would be nice if multiple people could all listen to a song, play a videogame, or watch TV using their own headphones or earbuds. It would be especially nice if the sound provided was hi-fi-quality.

Hub is a device that enables existing headphones or speakers to receive wireless, hi-fi audio from any source. Each user just selects a battery-powered sound “puck” receiver from the Hub base station. Each person can control the volume on their own headphones. In addition to promising better sound quality than many wireless audio solutions,

Smart Home

Eco Automation monitors your scene, keeps things green

At some point, the connected revolution lost its way and became a Tower of Babel of many incmopatible companies and standards. Zero Energy’s Eco Automation platform not only address the disparate world of these devices exist in, but takes advantage of the information being obtained to automatically monitor and conserve energy in addition to tailoring the connected home around the user’s lifestyle.

Its Eco Technology Bridge is the centerpiece of the platform, pairing nine radio protocols like Z-Wave, Zigbee, Wi-Fi and an array of others with a universal translation engine to make sure they all understand each other—and leaving room for another should another important spring up in the future. The Eco Automation’s Energy Meter connects directly to electricity panels and provides real-time consumption and production reports, going so far as to pick up differences in an HVAC’s power draw to determine when a filter needs to be a changed and offering up preventative maintenance reports for everything else.

Tech Accessories

With new MacBook ports, Apple taketh away and Hub+ giveth back

A consumer has just bought the new 12-inch MacBook and wants to connect a desktop monitor or a couple of other devices to it. That consumer will quickly realize that it’s not possible out of the box because Apple’s new computer only has one USB-C port.

patent-claimedThe Hub+ solves that problem. It’s a USB-C hub specifically designed for the new MacBook that offers all the ports most users will need, including two USB-C ports, one SDXC card reader, one mini DisplayPort and three USB-A charging ports. It also includes a built-in lithium-ion battery to charge any mobile phone. Hub+ costs $99 and will ship in July. Its maker set a Kickstarter goal of receiving $35,000 by June 16.

The compact hub is targeted at a very niche customer base at this point because it was designed specifically for the new MacBook. But it could be seen as a must-have accessory for anybody who buys that computer or a wave of new laptops that wlll use USB-C such as the new Chromebook Pixel.


Heat Seek turns up the the heat up on lazy landlords

The Premise. Although New York City winters can’t compare to those further up the eastern seaboard, they still pack quite a punch. For those with poorly heated apartments, they can be downright brutal. Although avenues exist with which to report heating violations, they are often too unreliable to truly make a difference — literally leaving people out in the cold.

The Product. The team behind Heat Seek is proposing a tech-centric solution to reduce the inefficiency. The initiative uses a set of connected devices relaying temperature information back to a central hub in an Internet-connected apartment. (Only one hub is needed, reducing the barrier of entry for those without a connection.) All this information is then sent to a server where it can be accessed by tenants, advocates, and lawyers using a Web app.

The company hopes this information will allow timely resolutions to violations. Tenants coming home to a toasty apartment are not the only beneficiaries, though: Heatseek NYC wants to partner with responsible landlords to help them stay compliant by figuring out how best to avoid heat loss, maximize heating efficiency, and potentially save thousands. (How many responsible landlords there are in NYC remains to be seen.)

The Pitch. Their Kickstarter campaign has a lot going for it. Its simple and clear video tells the real story of a current NYC resident living in an improperly heated apartment. By telling her story and showing how the company’s sensors would help, the video presents a compelling issue and a solid call-to-action. Although the team is looking for $10,000 to begin manufacturing, it is ideally seeking $50,000 by campaign’s end to put 1,000 sensors in the hands of New Yorkers who need it most.

The Perks. You can gift a temperature hub for a New Yorker in need for $30, or pay $60 to do the same and receive one yourself. Conversely, you can gift a hub while receiving one yourself with a backing of $120 or more.  No matter what option you choose, every perk has an estimated delivery date of February 2015.

The Potential. Any serious attempt to revamp bureaucracy can be messy (here’s looking at you,, but Heat Seek NYC’s solution to a persistent problem is simple, elegant, and easily applicable to a wide range of situations. Heat Seek has attracted a lot of attention via a back of a string of wins in app competitions However, it faces a long journey in the real world if it seeks to become a standard in New York or beyond.


A low maintenance ride is the #1 Priority

The Premise. The design of modern bicycles has changed little over the years. Since its conception, the typical bike operates just as it did many years ago, but only with better materials. Simple problems that this design comes with have been tolerated because there are so few better options out there.

The Product. Priority is a completely redesigned, updated bicycle. Its creators have made a number of changes to the typical bicycle design all in the hopes of making cycling easier and more convenient for everyone. They started out with a completely aluminum frame for ease of portability without the hassle of rust. Priority’s seats and handlebars were made so that the rider maintains a straight back and good posture. This bike has 3 speeds which exist in its internal hub. For breaking, the rider simply needs to back pedal, which cuts down on the amount of maintenance the bike will need over time. In addition, Priority’s creators have decided to use a belt instead of a chain around the bike’s gears. Chains need lubricant, can rust and usually end up ripping clothes while a belt is smoother and will result in a quieter ride. Finally, the tires are puncture resistant and the use of bolts instead of quick-releases means that the bike is theft deterrent.

The Pitch. With a clean and simple campaign video, Priority’s creators show off the features of their bicycle in an appealing way. They manage to be convincing but not cloying and make the bike really seem like an improved alternative to traditional rides. The rest of the campaign goes more into detail on design specs and even invites interested New Yorkers to stop by the workshop to test ride Priority. This new-fangled bike hopes to raise $30,000 in a month-long Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. For $349 backers will receive the Priority bicycle by December 2014. The highest and only other bike tier offers 10 Priority rides for $3,499.

The Potential. Bike riding has recently exploded as a great way to not only exercise but to also get around the green way. Once pointed out by Priority, the annoyances of the modern bicycle do seem somewhat intolerable. Bikes that offer more convenience in addition to unnecessary gadgets cost upwards of $1,000. Priority is made extremely intelligently, eschewing tech additions for smart design. While it may not be the flashiest thing on the road, the bike does take everyday concerns into account to make for a simple but dazzling product. Due to its great design and incredibly low price, Priority will certainly take over the bike market in no time.