Home Lighting

Shade light switch auto-dims lights, smartens smart bulbs

The lighting in any home can make or break a room. It’s best to have lots of light so as not to be left in the dark, but have the ability to dim those lights for dinner or intimate time with a spouse. However, constantly running to the light switch to adjust these levels isn’t very smooth.

Shade is a smart lighting system that adjusts light automatically. It will brighten or dim any room based on sunlight. With photocells, this product detects sunlight and brightens or dims accordingly. In addition, it uses Wi-Fi to allow for scheduling, remote control and geolocation settings. However, as Shade is used more and more, the product will learn common habits and adjust the lights to match them. For instance, if brighter light is desired on weeknights, Shade will customize itself to such a preference.

Unlike other smart light switches, Shade doesn’t require a smartphone to turn lights on. It uses a physical on/off switch. This is because the folks at Shade believe such a tool is much easier to use than having to get out the phone, a good thought. It’s easy to get caught up in the technology of it all without recognizing that sometimes the old ways work better.

Shade will definitely make a great addition to any home. For offices, however, it may not work as well. Workers need bright light to see whether the sun is high in the sky or not. Still, it’s great for setting the mood for dinner. Unfortunately, backers much purchase one light switch at a time, so rigging the whole house may prove costly. For one switch, Shade is asking for an $88 donation with estimated delivery in July 2015. This product is looking to raise an ambitious $125,000 on Kickstarter.

Kids/Babies Lighting

PopSwitch turns light switches into simple animations

It’s quite possible that kids are the only ones who pay attention to light switch covers – but maybe that’s because your average cover is pretty boring and little kids are actually fascinated with the result of flipping the switch, which adults tend to take for granted. PopSwitch takes the idea of pop up story books and creates an interactive light switch that may very well double as a child’s newest “toy” if installed. For those who won’t mind the constant on and off flickering, the only instillation involved is the base plate, which requires a screwdriver. After that, the sliders get placed on top of the base plate, and the magnetic cover mounting holds both pieces in place.

This constant switching of scenes means that the pieces may get lost when mom or dad’s back is turned. Nevertheless, the product does seem like a fun one to own. This campaign seeks to raise $5,000 by December 10, 2014. Early bird backers get one single switch scene for $30, or one double switch scene for $40 with an expected delivery of December 2014.


MagSphere and MagBounce flash diffusers mellow the harsh

Photographs are important to us. They document the best moments in our lives, they inform us of what’s going on in the world and they keep our memories alive. That’s why bad photographs are the enemy. No one wants a giant shiny forehead front and center in their wedding portraits. That’s why the folks at MagSphere have come up with a way to calm your flash down for more flattering light. It fits over the MagMod, a flash modifier, and looks like frosted glass. MagSphere dims and softens light so that it spreads in a more flattering way instead of tacking itself to your every flaw. Best of all, it includes a gel slot so that colored light is also possible if you want to get really fancy.

The similar MagBounce, also included in the campaign, is an open version of MagSphere that increases the size of your flash by 300%. It still softens the light, but expands it as well for when you need some extra shine. For more detailed information on all things light, visit the campaign.

Usually, a product that is only compatible with a certain brand, as the MagSphere and MagBounce are with the MagMod, seems a little inconvenient. However, backers don’t seem to mind, flocking to this campaign with support. Similar products we’ve seen on Backerjack, like the Flekt, offer light diffusion, but are limited in their options. They work to expand light, much like the MagBounce does, but few aim to soften light, like the MagSphere. For $79, backers will get one MagSphere and one MagBounce. Higher reward tiers offer the MagMod, a smart move on the part of the creators, for estimated delivery in February 2015. These light diffusers hope to raise $50,000 on Kickstarter.

Home Smart Home

Kuna embeds a smart camera in a porch light to scare off intruders

Home security is a big concern for people worldwide. The old security systems of the 80’s and 90’s rely on off-site, outsourced professionals to contact the authorities and hope for a response in time. This technology needs an upgrade.

Kuna is a combination outdoor light and smart camera that allows owners to get notifications when someone approaches their door and, using the Kuna app, see them, talk with them, or sound an alarm. Disguised as a stylish exterior home light in one of three available styles, Kuna has all the function and convenience of an app-controlled outdoor light.

The fact that Kuna also includes a fully functional security camera with all the bells and whistles is a welcome addition. Operating on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0, Kuna is easy to install and easy to use. Kuna is raising $50,000 to complete testing and ship out units. A donation of $149 is all it takes to provide peace of mind with a Kuna.

This isn’t the first smart camera and intercom system that’s been released on the market, but it may be the most multi-functional and most discreet; great for making a home look welcoming poorer for deterring unwanted guests outright.

Tech Accessories

Nimbus light brightens up when dark clouds surface

The only real light source we constantly have on us is the LED on the back of our smartphones but that’s not entirely reliable as there are so many more parts of the phone constantly requiring precious energy to function. NIMBUS wants to become your go-to light source instead. The USB-powered light stick can be mounted on the edge of a book or the lid of an open laptop to give you the light you need to do what you need to do.

One could also take it along with you for those impromptu photo shoots, but the glaring lack of even the smallest of internal batteries will keep what should be an extremely portable product pretty useless unless you have a portable battery pack. At that point, though, it comes full circle — you might as well use your smartphone. NIMBUS just doesn’t do enough and what it does do, it doesn’t do too well. The $25 gadget is estimated for a December 2014 delivery.


Swan-like Showcome lamp offers many methods of control

For those who find the words “on” and “off” to be boring and predictable, there is now a light that responds to the word “aladdin” instead. And yes, it is shaped like a lamp, sort of.

Probably more of a cross between a swan and a lamp. But Showcome also responds to other forms of communication. It also offers a Smartphone app, motion-sensor control for hands-free operation, and touch control that also allows the user to adjust how much light is being given off. The LED light source also offers potential room-to-room portability with a height of just over two feet and a width of just over seven inches.

The cord may be a bit short, though, at only 5.9 feet, depending on where and for what purpose one wants to use it. For $58, backers get one product with an expected delivery of January 2015.


Switch Port pioneers the write light

Here’s a rather clever idea for writing notes to self – or anyone else in the house for that matter. Switch Port is a light switch that functions like a small, dry-erase board. Users can write notes or reminders in a location that is easily seen and in full view every time the room is entered. The ink doesn’t get absorbed by the light switch because the surface is enameled in an epoxy. This product will be some easy installation using only a screwdriver. The screws are included with the product as well as the fine point dry erase type marker. It appears that the marker sits relatively securely on a small ledge at the top of Switch Port, but it might be a nice touch to add some Velcro or something that helps to keep the marker secure when not in use so that it doesn’t end up getting knocked to the floor or lost. The item comes in both single and double switch options, with the single being available for $12. Expected delivery is December 2014, and should arrive before the holidays.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Notion can sense just about anything around your home

There are a wealth of different smart home solutions available to tackle specific tasks or watch certain parts of the home. From home intrusion tags on windows and doors to humidity sensors that can detect potentially dangerous conditions for collectibles, having a home that does all of this requires a lot of products, not to mention a lot of money.

Notion is a smart home sensor that prefers to do a lot with a little. The small adhesive pucks that Notion uses for sensors can be placed on any surface or device and programmed to monitor multiple different kinds of data, or just do one specific task. From detecting water leaks to safeguarding valuable or dangerous materials, when one of Notion’s built-in sensors is tripped, it sends a notification to the user’s phone, as well as to any approved contacts if the homeowner is not in a position to respond quickly to urgent matters.

Notion can sense eight different kinds of stimuli: acceleration, light, sound, proximity, temperature, orientation, water leaks, and natural frequency. Whether a window is left open upon leaving the house or if a smoke alarm is going off, Notion promptly reports it. Loop Labs, Inc., maker of the Notion, needs $50,000 for testing, design, and production. The base kit including one hub and one sensor puck is priced at $129 and will launch in July 2015.

Notion isn’t the first all-in-one smart home super-sensor, nor will it be the last. But as the smart home grows and develops, and companies try to tackle the functions of the ideal smart home one at a time, it’s refreshing to be able to invest in a product that pulls its own weight in every room of the house.



TriClops shines more than a little light on your GoPro videos

TriClopsGoPro cameras are all the rage, as are the mounts that go with them. For anyone looking to film something at night, however, light is needed to make the footage visible. The TriClops is a high intensity display (HID) adaptive light that has several different modes for optimum shooting. Brightness can be easily adjusted along with the time the light stays on. TriClops is specifically designed to work with all GoPro cameras. The campaign is unclear on how the TriClops attaches to the camera so it’s hard to tell whether it’s supposed to be handheld or secured onto something. One will cost backers a $249 donation with a campaign goal of $40,000 on Kickstarter.

Cell Phone Accessories Lighting

MyHue delivers notifications with soothing, customizable lights

myhueLooking at your phone to read incoming notifications is already an outdated concept. MyHue, like many other one-pixel displays, uses different colors or flashing patterns to turn a piece of modern art into an informative light fixture. The colors and shades can be customized, as can the materials that the light travels through to let you know when your phone is a-buzz. Additionally, the MyHue uses induction charging to keep devices powered. It’s not the first time a device like this has been crowdfunded, and it’s not even the most fully-featured of its kind. The fact that the product grew dull before its 2-minute pitch video was done speaks volumes. MyHue goes out to backers that pledge $60 in October 2014 and will be successful upon reaching its $45,000 goal on Kickstarter.