A modular smartband is what’s Nex

One of the biggest criticisms about most smartwatches and smartbands is unsurprisingly similar to smartphones: they can’t be upgraded. Consumers are forced to buy products with a static set of features that, while they may be expanded on slightly using OTA updates, they eventually become fundamentally outdated after a certain time.

The Nex Band is looking to outfit consumers with a bit more choice. The modular smart band allows users to fully customize it with Mods, small little blocks each with their own functionality. This makes it possible for users to use the iOS app to program hacks in combination with IFTTT, so opening and closing the garage door, turning up the A/C, and controlling every other connected aspect of life is possible — all from the wrist. A community aspect is present where users can share mods with each other.

Smart Home

Ivan not so terrible, keeps an eye on your place for few rubles

Home security used to be synonymous with pricey hardware and exorbitant maintenance fees. The advent of the Internet of Things has made that a thing of the past, instead using either base stations or the smartphones we all know and love to keep the home safe at a fraction of the cost.

These systems come in many shapes and sizes, but the Wi-Fi-enabled Ivan home security system is the size of a deck of cards. It’s also extremely simple in how it focuses on two main areas: security and IoT integration. Its use of a passive infrared movement detector, or a PiR, ensures that only body heat can trigger alerts sent to predefined family and friends through email, SMS, or Twitter. In an emergency situation, a dedicated panic button also does the same. When all is well, though, Ivan’s IFTTT integration allows users to control any other connected products in the home by using it as a remote control. Ivan is priced at $95 with an expected ship date of February 2016. Goio, the company behind Ivan, is looking for $98,000 before August 12, 2015.

The home security and sensor market is certainly crowded. The addition of Ivan to the mix only serves to make it more so. While its $95 price undercuts competing products like Presence, its lack of connectivity with smartphones and tablets may prove underwhelming for some. More fully featured products include the aforementioned Presence along with the SandboxHome.

Connected Objects

Noteu Wi-Fi display lets you know you have a message and not much else

Thanks to the Internet, there has never been a more abundant supply of information so freely available. As beneficial as this abundance is, the sheer amount can quickly become overwhelming without efficient methods of consuming it all. Smartphones do an amazing job of keeping up with the many Web sites and services people use every day to communicate, but sometimes there’s a desire for more passive notification, particularly among iPhone and Android holdouts.

For those times, the Wi-Fi connected Noteu smart clock helps out by constantly streaming information. Besides being a customizable alarm clock, the product uses widgets to push Facebook messages, tweets, e-mails, and RSS updates. In addition, IFTTT support lets users create custom alerts tailored specifically for them, such as shipping and stock updates. A single Noteu will run $133, with an expected ship date of September 2015. The campaign is aiming for $14,919 in funding.

This campaign marks the fourth go around for young inventor Jack Trowbridge, signifying a process of iteration that has led to Noteu’s current model. However, when compared to competing products like DISPLIO, it still falls short. It’s clunky, isn’t context-sensitive, and just doesn’t do enough especially considering it doesn’t seem like a user can act on any of the notifications from the device. IFTTT support expands its capabilities immensely, though, and may be its saving grace.

Smart Home

Point offers simple home security without putting sensors everywhere

The conception of home security in the connected age is one full of cameras and the complex systems that go along with them. Cloud storage and daily app interaction combine to make the use of these systems more tedious than it should be. The team over at Form Devices, Inc. believes that implementing security measures in your home should ease worries, not give you more to worry about. Their inaugural product, Point, is a representation of that thinking.

Point is a subtle, circular device that attaches to a wall in your home with design cues let it blend easily into most any aesthetic. Once installed, the device multi-tasks by listening for unusual sounds in your home and analyzing the air for disturbances. With the onboard Wi-Fi chip, Point can communicate a variety of information to your smart device, such as when a window breaks, guests arrive, when humidity levels are abnormal, or when there’s smoke present. In addition, Point uses a combination of lights and speakers to facilitate notifications to you or guests so that you can gently remind guests to keep it down when they party too hard. A Point can be had for $79 with an expected date of delivery in July 2015. Form Devices, Inc. is looking for $50,000 to complete manufacturing.

Unfortunately, Point’s most glaring lack is the inability to to detect carbon monoxide, something that should be standard at this point and is a severe oversight. In addition, it comes with a speaker but users can’t communicate through it which would be a nice touch. All in all, the Canary offers a much more robust feature set that includes the ability to sound a 90dB alarm to ward off intruders and respond to emergencies with a one-touch call to the appropriate authorities. Although Point emphasizes the removal of the camera in an effort to reclaim the feeling of one’s home, the capability for HD video most of the time is welcome. In any case, Point is a low-cost way to introduce some connected aspects to one’s home without going overboard.

Connected Objects

Cubic ORBneXt is an artful light that provides color-coded notifications

The Premise. As great as smartphones are, the frequency with which they alert users with notifications can be extremely distracting. Setting custom notifications can single out the truly important information, but can be time-consuming to set up and can be impolite in social situations.

The Product. The ORBneXt is an updated version of the Orb art piece/single-pixel notifier created by Ambient Devices in its early days. It’s a hand-held, easy to use accessory that can sync up with any phone wirelessly and display notification information through a series of ambient colors. The ORBneXt connects to a phone and its Wi-Fi network by resting on top of the device, and then , using a blinking-light sequence similar to the one used by Quirky’s smart devices, can be programmed through its app to monitor information like weather, sports scores, stocks, and more. That information can then be tied to colors (for example, turn red when the weather’s getting warmer), so that the displaying color carries with it information that matters to its user’s life. The ORBneXt is made with a stylish Japanese glass housing, and has an easily modifiable brain in addition to its flexible IFTTT-enabled app.

The Pitch. The creative minds at Ambient Lumonics Labs show off the ORBneXt inside and out with their campaign information. The video focuses on the everyday use of the device while the photos and text cover all the technical details and stress how easy the device is to customize for any need. A second video that demos the product does a better job of selling the device’s strengths for the end user. Advanced Lumonics Labs needs $12,000 to complete a market-ready product in order to apply for certifications.

The Perks. Backers looking to score an ORBneXt can have one by August for a pledge of $79. Anyone with one of the older Ambient ORB devices can retrofit it to function as an ORBneXt for $69, with self-installation. If that’s too long to wait, a prototype of the device is available in June for $500.

The Potential. The flexibility of the ORBneXt’s internal hardware and its app belie the simplicity of the information it can display. Unfortunately, without being able to acknowledge a notification and clear it or get more precise details without unlocking the phone and looking at the app, its effectiveness is limited. The device does look sharp at home on a desk or in the office, but the amount of time it saves is measured in small bursts of seconds, and might not be worth it for some. Like the original Ambient ORB, the ORBneXt’s appealing form is overshadowed by its lack of function.