Cell Phone Accessories

cPulse phone case shines some light on whatever you’re up to

cpulseIt’s common sense to put smartphones in cases to prevent any damage to the device if dropped or worse. But why don’t cases do more than just protect? cPulse is a new smart LED lighting case for Android phones that offers a variety of functions using 128 LEDs that will sync up to music, function as a powerfully vivid alarm clock, or display unique visual notifications for incoming calls or messages. The wide variety of options available in terms of apps and features make cPulse an interesting option for those with customization in mind, but the added drain on a device’s battery may not be worth some added visual flair. cPulse lights up the market in February 2015 for $89.

Connected Objects Lighting Music

Whome sets the mood with lighting and streamed audio

The Premise.  The primary necessity for any home situation is adequate lighting. Plain light bulbs are so 20th century. Why not have customizable, smart light bulbs that can stream audio throughout the home?

The Product. Whome is a Wi-fi enabled system of LED light bulbs that can be controlled using a proprietary app. Designed for customization and sharing, each Whome supports 256 LED bulbs to fine-tune the color and intensity of the light to fit any room, mood, or social situation. Additionally, each bulb also comes with a built-in speaker, and audio can be streamed to the Whome to provide a whole-home output for party music or ambient backgrounds for relaxing in bed. The app allows users to set timers that will change the bulb’s settings for different times of day and allow easy management of all networked lights in the home, no matter which room.

The Pitch.  Whome is a trendy idea, and so Whome developer WaveBomb has framed its product as young and fashionable in its campaign video. Viewers get a glimpse of the product in action from friends watching a soccer match in proper team lighting to a suggestive bedroom encounter complete with mood lighting and appropriate soundtrack. The Whome’s ease of use in on full display, with simple examples of controlling the light in real-time through the app and connected the bulbs to streaming audio featured. With a goal of £20,000 in place, WaveBomb is hoping to raise the funds necessary to begin mass production and get all the necessary certifications.

The Perks. A single Whome is available for £60, set to launch October 2014. Those who want more than just black or white can get a two-pack in any color for £155. Additional tiers offer quantities of five or seven bulbs.

The Potential. Similar products have been introduced already, either taking the smart light bulb route or the music-powered light approach. Whome feels less like a novelty because it tackles both of these concepts in one device. The design makes the bulbs look a bit like ultra-modern salt and pepper shakers, but being able to stream audio and control lighting color and intensity using a phone and being able to program it to act as a much more pleasant form of morning alarm make this a very appealing product for those that have an easier time rising and shining to their favorite music.

Imaging Lighting

RagLite weds LEDs to fabric for a flexible photographers’ friend

RagLiteFlashlights, portable headlights, keychain lights and other lighting systems aim to provide convenience and light when on the go. Most of these types of lights are either bulky or don’t provide enough light when necessary. The RagLite combines portability and extra bright luminance to make a lighting system that is effective and easy to carry. RagLite consists of several strips of LED lights affixed to a piece of fabric. It comes in different sizes and is super lightweight and portable so that it can be taken anywhere. One mini RagLite costs backers $75 with an estimated delivery date of October 2014. This cool, yet expensive product, needs to raise $25,000 in its 60-day Kickstarter campaign.


GlassXPro puts headlights on the head for nighttime romps

GlassxproEver need light at night, but need your hands free at the same time? Introducting GlassXPro, a pair of glasses with bright LED lights attached, making nighttime rummaging or traveling all the easier. GlassXPro joins the safety market, with tons of other lighting devices designed to make you more visible at night, like Vega Edge lights. One setback of wearing glasses with lights is that the rider can’t wear their prescription glasses if necessary. A pair of these luminous glasses goes for $25 on Kickstarter with an estimated delivery date of May 2014. The glasses creators hope to raise $8,000 in a 30-day campaign.

Lighting Smart Home

AirBulb is the lightbulb that ears can enjoy

The Premise. In the 21st century, a lot of innovation and engineering has gone into making artificial light less energy-intensive, longer-lasting, and more natural to the health of the eye. But why do our lightbulbs only serve to illuminate the dark when they could be doing much more?

The Product. The AirBulb is a smart, Bluetooth LED lightbulb that syncs up to iOS and Android devices that has an internal speaker for enjoying music without any complicated wiring. AirBulb can be used in any standard lamp socket and can be controlled traditionally or through the AirBulb app. With the app, light warmth can be changed, and the bulb can be set to flash in conjunction with an alarm clock or as a notification of an incoming call.

The Pitch. Aptly named for a project such as this, Hong Kong’s Avantconcept shows off its vision that every home not only needs light, but also a means to enjoy music. The video goes over all the current features of the device, and the campaign pictures highlight the technical specifications of the product and break down the reward tiers simply. Avantconcept needs $100,000 to finish mass manufacturing and the AirBulb, and has also set a stretch goal at $150,000 at which point more features will be added including multiple brightness levels and notifications for social media, text messages, email, and low battery.

The Perks. A pledge of $59 gets backers one AirBulb to use in their home. Higher tiers can be used to order several at once, and all AirBulbs are expected to be delivered at the end of 2014.

The Potential. Overall, this feels like a neat tech idea but also like an abuse of technological power. While some might be attracted to AirBulb, others will struggle to find a reason why lightbulbs and speakers should be one in the same. Paying nearly $60 for a lightbulb will give some hesitation, while others will wonder just how much the acoustics of a lampshade will affect the enjoyment of their music. Chalk this up as a novelty for now, and don’t expect people to set up their homes to resemble The Exorcist when a call comes in, but maybe in just a few short years products like these will become the standard.

Cell Phone Accessories Imaging

Ember takes low-light iPhone photos beyond the flash

The Premise. According to a 2013 study, 23% of all smartphone users take at least one photo a day with their phone’s camera. While the result is more visual media than ever and the meteoric rise of the “selfie,” the ever-popular camera doesn’t always provide best results. Every new generation of phone promises more and more megapixels, but what about lighting? What will it take to get more than a basic flash?

The Product. Enter the Ember, an iPhone accessory that naturally attaches to the contours of the iPhone 5 and 5s, providing warm light that makes photos pop and stand out. The Ember makes the phone’s back panel a 56 LED light source with an independent power source that lasts for up to 4 hours of continuous light. Because it’s independently powered, the Ember can even be removed and held in a different position to provide my dynamic staging to any otherwise low-light photography. Color and diffusion filters are available that can be slid in and out of the housing without any fuss. Additionally, the top of the device can be removed to support any peripheral lenses.

The Pitch. With a video that calls out to the heart of every Instagram addict and selfie genius, the Ember introduces itself as a fully capable addition to any 5-series iPhone. What really makes the strongest point however, are side-by-side comparisons of night photos taken with the built-in iPhone flash versus the Ember. The colors are warmer, the details more natural, and the overall aesthetic is much more pleasing. Naturally, Instagram is among the social networks that Ember is present on. Creator Jedd Goble needs $30,000 to make his dream of well-lit mobile photography a reality. At this time the only stretch goal available is that at $50,000, Ember will be fully funded for large-scale production.

The Perks. Getting an Ember in choice of white or black, with tripod adapter and warming filter, takes a pledge of $59. The Pro Package at $99 will include additional colored filters.

The Potential. While a bit big and ungainly, the accessory perfectly complements the modern Bohemian market that Apple has worked so hard to cultivate. Attaching an Ember makes any iPhone scream business in the front, fashion shoot in the back. The features of the Ember stand out against its competitors and are well-designed to appeal to the finicky perfectionism of professional photographers while being simple enough for the late-night party crowd. The Ember might not be for everyone, but people who always have their phone out taking pictures for social media will definitely want to pick one up.

Cycling Video

Blinking Fly6 bikecam lets tailing motorists know they’re being watched

The Premise. For those who bike to commute or just for fun, laws and convenience tie them to the same streets that cars speed down. Every intersection is an accident waiting to happen, every passing car might not notice the cyclist doing his best to move with traffic beside him. As a result, cyclists are constantly in fear of something much faster and heavier than they forcing them off the road.

The Product. The Fly6 is a combination LED taillight/HD camera that clips right to the seat post and can record the traffic behind for up to 5 hours. The philosophy behind this design is that it will alert motorists to cyclists, and at the same time let them know they are being recorded should they try to do anything dangerous or reckless. Every Fly6 comes with a USB-rechargeable lithium ion battery and an 8GB microSD card.

The Pitch. Introducing the Fly6 are Australian inventors Andrew Hagen and Kingsley Fiegert. Kingsley explains that the inspiration for the device came about when a car full of inconsiderate young people pulled up beside him in a motorcycle and shot him point blank with a slingshot, nearly causing him serious injury. Shocked by the incident, he forgot to take down the license plate number. A number of demonstrations are shown, illustrating the taillight strobe and the camera recording functions, as well as how the current model is waterproof. At the end, the two cleverly reveal that the entire video was shot using a Fly6, illustrating its quality. Andrew and Kingsley are asking for $95,000 AUD to finalize the design, streamline the software, patent the device, and more.

The Perks. $119 AUD ($15 AUD to ship outside of Australia) is all it takes to get a Fly6, delivered in May 2014. A special white model is available for slightly more. At the highest, $399 AUD tier,  backers will be shipped a prototype in March with free shipping, to test out and provide feedback before the finished product launches, which they will also receive.

The Potential. The Fly6 could be to cyclists what the insurance dashboard camera is for Russian motorists. Not only does it provide a real safety need, but it could lead to a new generation of viral videos as one of the promo videos hints.

Connected Objects Pets

Bluetooth-connected app control brings color to the collar

The Premise. Nighttime can be rough for dog owners — especially owners of skittish dogs. If a dog runs away under the veil of night, how are you supposed to bring it back to safety?

The Product. A team in Boulder, CO has created a Bluetooth LED dog collar to hopefully make these situations less stressful. While still early in its development and may be useful for those who own multiple dogs, it seems a bit trivial in the grand scheme of things. Upon first glance, the generically named collar looks like any other dog collar save for the LED studs. Once activated via the smartphone app that it talks to, however, the collar quickly illuminates, becoming something out of a science fiction movie. You can create custom profiles for each dog, ensuring that you know who is where if you’re dealing with multiple animals at once. The collar is waterproof and runs off of standard AA batteries. The custom profiles feature is perhaps the most valuable part of the offering. It allows you to create a digital dog tag, and you can share your profiles with others via the Web.

The Pitch. The very basic video — music, poor lighting and artifact-filled audio — sets up the idea that the project owners view the dog collar as something of a frivolous stepping stone before moving on to bigger and better things. The campaign page goes on to show closeups of the product and accompanying Android app; there’s no iPhone support for now.

The Perks. Because the collar uses Bluetooth, it’s perfect for those who use smartphones on a daily basis.  Due to ship in March 2014, the collar will ship to backers for #30.

The Potential. For fawning owners of finicky dogs, this could be a fun product that might end up getting a lot of use. Turn your dog’s collar green for Christmas and orange on Halloween, or  your favorite team’s color on game day. For a connected product, it’s pretty inexpensive and one could easily see it or something like it showing up on the shelves of Petco.