Connected Objects Lighting Music

Riflo connected LED lights up your abode with glorified notifications

We’re not quite at the point of questioning’s someone’s grasp of reality if their lights aren’t connected to the Internet. But while most would immediately point to the Philips Hue as the de facto connected light bulb for the technologically savvy dweller, the Riflo’s Indiegogo campaign presents an alternative.

While the Hue’s array of color options and scenes are all the rage, the Riflo programmable smart color LED expands on these features by adding a Wi-Fi connected speaker to the mix. This speaker can do things like audibly communicate information pertinent to the user (e.g. “You have a meeting in an hour,” “You have a new email.”) or stream music with or without a companion streaming app. Or, it’s Wink feature uses the colorful LED to silently communicate what needs to be known without a possibly annoying robo-voice droning on about it.

Chargers/Batteries Smart Home

The YOUMO modular power strip makes supplying power electrifying

While smartphones and laptops continue to slim down and offer more powerful specs, the humble strip keeps on chugging along in all its practical, drab glory, doling out power and taking names. Most of the time, though, it doesn’t offer much in the way of functionality.

The YOUMO is a smart modular power strip offering users a wide range of plug-and-go modules for a custom power solution for any situation.  Good Gadgets, the three-man team behind the Kickstarter campaign, has designed YOUMO modules to be lightweight for travel and aesthetically pleasing, a far cry from most dollar store varieties. It all starts with a base cord in three different lengths and seven different colors. From there, six modules can connect in any combination to each other.

Maker/Development Sensors/IoT

MATRIX’s sensor platform seeks to be The One for the Internet of Things

editors-choiceSmartphones are so ubiquitous because just one replaces a wide variety of real-world objects. This has yet to happen to in the world of Internet of Things. Instead, more and more companies create more hardware that do different things, and therefore, introduce more fragmentation. This makes things difficult for the developers and end-users who would have been clamoring for a standard that could simplify the entire IoT experience.

By applying the lessons learned from what the smartphone did for the real world, the folks at AdMobilize have designed MATRIX. Just as a smartphone combined a number of capabilities into one, slim package, MATRIX’s 15 different, embedded sensors do the same — just for the home or business.

Connected Objects Smart Home

GATE connected mailbox makes postal mail notifications just as annoying as e-mail notifications

Even though mailboxes have been around for at least a century, they haven’t changed all that much. They’re still physical boxes, they hold mail, and they don’t do much else. In a world where everything is digital and integrated with the Internet of Things, that simply isn’t enough when such important information is routinely mailed everyday.

GATE smartens up the humble mailbox by adding a Wi-Fi or zWave connected home unit and solar-powered mailbox sensor to the mix. With this done, a sensor-equipped mailbox can send an alert to the home unit whenever it is opened, notifying home owners with a blinking light at a range of 500ft. SMS, email, and Twitter notifications can also be sent out as well so that no matter where someone is, they can stay informed through their iOS or Android device. If mail theft is a big problem in the neighborhood, multiple GATEs can connect to share information about the occurrences. Each GATE goes for $249, with an expected ship date of December 2015. Its campaign is looking for $10,000, and ends June 20th, 2015.

GATE sits opposite the bare-bones Postifier, an Arduino-based mailbox solution that sports a low price but a lack of functionality. As such, there is no contest: GATE pushes the bar up on what a connected mailbox should be, truly bringing it into the 21st century — for a premium.

Smart Home

The only finger you’ll lift is a thumb with the xRemote smart home hub

The prevalence of home automation devices has given the Internet of Things a messy start. The more of these products are created, the more a common standard is necessary, and the faster infrared-based devices continue to be phased out.

Since that common standard isn’t here, the xRemote offers users a way to control everything instead. The smart home hub is outfitted with infrared sensors and Bluetooth LE to cover both the old and the new both in the home and a user’s body with the use of an Android app. As a result, preset modes can be designed with the help of the xRemote’s intelligent learning to tailor the home exactly to a user’s liking.

xRemote also boasts abilities like GPS location tracking to warm up or cool down the home in anticipation of a user’s arrival, or the remote control of lights within the home, and long distance control of the home from anywhere in the world through Wi-Fi.

xRemote joins the ranks of products like RoomBox, AnyMote and Puck in offering bridges for the gaps in home technology, but forces the purchase of multiple units to ensure range. A product like NUZii does so much more, but lacks the infrared component, which can be easily added in its case.

The flagship xRemote Gateway will be awarded to backers for $99, and the $100,000 campaign is promising the product in June of this year.

Connected Objects Home

Listnr assists in controlling the Internet of Things with claps, stomps, and snaps

One of the easiest ways to interact with the environment is through sound, and voice-controlled technology is at the forefront of this potential. For instance, Amazon’s Echo is trying to make one’s own voice the cornerstone of the cloud-connected experience. But sometimes, things just don’t have to be that complex.

Billed as a user’s listening assistant, the Listnr pays more attention to sound than to voice. The device’s iOS app allows users to attach connected objects in the homes (like a Philips Hue lightbulb) to actions like clapping, stomping, or snapping fingers. As a result, hands full of groceries or a comfortable position in bed won’t be obstacles to devices in and around the home. In addition, the Wi-Fi-enabled device can send notifications to iPhones, and even identify the emotional tenor of the voices in the room.

Overall, the product can be useful but only with a wide variety of actions. Without that, it just isn’t as compelling. Early birds can grab a Listnr device for $99, due to ship in August of this year. The campaign is looking for $50,000 in funding by March 6.

Connected Objects Sensors/IoT

VERVE2 lets you assemble your own Internet of Things like LEGOs

The Premise. The Internet of Things is garnering a lot of attention and excitement, and rightfully so. Just as getting people connected online revolutionized communication and information, connecting objects online stands poised to change what people expect from their appliances and tools.

The Product. VERVE2 is an easily programmable, highly customizable family of sensors that allow users to give any item a degree of online functionality. Detecting touch, light, heat, or motion, VERVE2 can be clipped or affixed to anything and then programmed to interact with computer programs or Web sites to create new and exciting functions.

The Pitch. The very first words for the VERVE2 campaign call it the “LEGOs of the future,” and this sort of do-anything approach is what the video and campaign material strive to portray. In the video, viewers see everything from a DIY burglar alarm to a greeting card turned into an automatic tweet whenever someone is thinking of a loved one and touches the card. VERVE2 creators inXus interactive are hoping to raise $10,000 for manufacturing and assembly. At $50,000 dollars, backers who get at least 7 sensors will also receive a sheet of Velostat to make touch panels of any shape or size.

The Perks. Getting started with VERVE2 only takes a pledge of $45 to get one connecter cable, the hub, a light sensor, and a flash drive with the required software. A pack with seven sensors goes for $89, with a light sensor, button, touch sensor, turn sensor, motion sensor, DIY sensor, and magnetic sensor. Finally, the $160 tier level includes 2 of each of the aforementioned sensors, plus temperature sensors, force sensors, and loudness sensors. All perks are expected to deliver out in November.

The Potential. Just by how easy the VERVE2 system is to set up and tweak to accomplish different tasks, it’s an incredible way to bring the power of connecting objects to the Internet to even the most average end user. That being said, from a practicality standpoint, the system may not be as flexible as promised, offering a lot of options to use, but not a lot of outstanding features that would be intuitive to many. The creative and curious will derive a great sense of joy from getting their hands (and fingers, and voices, and lights) on VERVE2, but for the person who just wants something they can plug in and use to make their lives easier, VERVE2 might not be the right buy. This sort of real-world physical programming has been put out before with products like Ninja Blocks, but being able to turn any object into computer input is what makes VERVE2 an exciting alternative.


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.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

oort aims to turn your smartphone into the master of all devices

oortWith today’s pace of technological advancements, it’s reasonable to expect everything to connect with one another cleanly on a unified network. With a smart hub, beacon tags, and power strips, oort is aiming to be the link that binds all smart devices together. By functioning over Bluetooth Low Energy, oort can allow connected users to control the items in their home, locate pets or keys, and even get business recommendations as they move through the city. The sky’s the limit for oort, though in order to be successful, it will take a nation of adopters. Backers can get an oort hub with beacon in September for $199.

Smart Home

Soap cleans your home of extra devices with an Android tablet home hub

The Premise. A smart home control hub is great for giving access to all the connected devices in a house or apartment, but why shouldn’t the hub be able to do more than just give access? Why can’t it give control to devices, usage, security, or any other important aspect of a home network?

The Product. Soap is a powerful Android tablet that also doubles as a smart home hub and a full wireless router. Designed to over complete control over all connected devices in the home and the people who use them, Soap is built with functionality, security, and complete control in mind.

The Pitch. Soap’s campaign video is a bit of an understatement when it comes to the kind of flexible power the device actually offers. The video shows the device mostly as a control for connected amenities and accessories, but downplays Soap’s qualities as a fully-featured Android tablet or its ability to work with other Soap devices, something that really sets this device apart from others. Soap is raising $42,500 to complete testing and begin production. The campaign is also implementing an incentive scheme that allows backers to accrue credits toward a free product by sharing links with a personal code.

The Perks. The basic Soap Solo is available to backers who pledge $240. For $5 more, the device will be delivered two months earlier. (December 2014 compared to February 2015) At $250, a beta Soap Solo will be sent out in October. The Soap Dual, with a dual core processor is available at $280 (beta at $350), the quad-core Soap Quad starts at $360, and the Soap 8.4 with a larger 8.4 inch display and a quad-core processor starts at $500, with the beta version at $550. Higher tiers include multiple devices for setting up a whole home or more, with the highest tier coming with a boggling 100 Soap units.

The Potential. Soap seems like a great way to really integrate the wireless router, smart home hub, and control center into one neat, portable package. What keeps Soap from being redundant in both the tablet and smart hub markets is that it fully functions as both, simultaneously even. The processing power and ability for Soap units to create a more powerful mesh network when used in tandem allow for something that works as a great in-home tablet for watching movies, listening to music, or being productive providing you don’t move it from its fixed location. However, it just as easily lets you move that content around across other devices while simultaneously allowing users to turn off lights, change the thermostat, or notify kids to get ready for bed without interrupting usage. Soap may just be blending two great technological tastes into one concoction, but it’s doing so with the necessary horsepower to not cut any corners.