Camping Food and Beverage

Cooler Bobs light up your cooler for finding your drink in the dark

With tailgate and fall camping seasons in full swing, here is a nifty idea for enjoying those cold beverages without having to guess what’s being fished out of the cooler.

Cooler Bobs add a bit of color to the outdoor night life. The luminescent light bearers hide under the ice in coolers and emanate an optional blue, red or green hue through the cubes, with additional colors expected to be available in the near future. That way, bare hands spend as little time as necessary finding a drink, and parched tongues don’t end up disappointed by an unpalatable flavor.

It would be interesting to know what is being used to cause the round orbs to light up party time coolers, though one would hope that the creators have considered that if any heat is being given off, the ice melts faster. For $10, backers get one product with an expected delivery of December 2014.

Cycling Lighting Nutrition/Hydration

Aqualight water bottle quenches need for bike path lighting safety, thirst

AquaLightCycling at night can be dangerous and it’s imperative to have forward- and back-facing lights for your ride. AquaLight is a water bottle with built-in lights. The back light is red and faces back while the forward light is white. Obviously, the bottle also holds water and sits in the beverage cage. The creators claim that the lights are bright enough for safety, but it’s hard to tell, especially since they sit so low in between the bike frame and wheels. In addition, not all bikes have beverage cages, so the light is impractical for bikes without this feature. Still, for interested backers, AquaLight will cost $40 with choice of color. This lit-up water bottle hopes to raise $17,000 on Kickstarter.

Lighting Music

Epsuss uses lights to dance around in place

EpsussLights that dance around to music are always pleasing to the eye. They let the listener hear and see the music at the same time. Epsuss is one such LED light that moves to the rhythm of the music. It connects to several different devices and has different modes of lighting. This is a product for music lovers who can’t get enough of those speakers that show a song’s balance when playing. One Epsuss will cost backers €69 from Poland and comes in several different colors. This dancing light hopes to raise €1,200 in two months on Indiegogo.

Home Smart Home

Qhome runs your home, doesn’t need to get paid

The Premise. Smart home systems are cropping up everywhere, but tend to specialize in one particular concept or feature, whether it’s energy-saving, security, or climate control. These devices give the illusion of a smart home while leaving several components woefully unconnected.

The Product. Qhome is a smart home hub that offers a greater degree of functionality than the partial smart home devices that have shown up to swell the market. Operating through a series of distinct modes as well as individual customization, Qhome can open curtains, close windows, keep a running grocery list as things are removed from the fridge, and send cleaning robots out as needed to keep things tidy, all from a smartphone or through its own programming.

The Pitch. Developer Quatanium introduces viewers to Qhome by showing a young professional who can only focus so well on his job because his home monitors and operates itself. From getting him up in the morning all the way to notifying him that there’s no more jam in the fridge, Qhome steers the video’s hero through all the aspects of his home life right up to his date that night. Unfortunately, as viewers ask how all of this might be possible, the campaign page itself has no follow-through, focusing more on general discussion of the history of smart home technology and how it functions rather than explaining how the product itself works. Backers might be interested in helping Quatanium reach its huge $500,000, but will have to do so with several questions still in their minds.

The Perks. Getting started with a Qhome system costs as little as $99, to get the app and control components for two devices. A more complete system with a hub, 5 components, and a wireless music player costs $249. Those who are more concerned with security can add an extra 5 control components and a wireless security camera to their system at the $599, while anyone who wants their system designed to maximize effectiveness in their home can get a personalized system built for $1,999. All tiers except the personalized system will ship by March 2015, with the latter shipping in July 2015.

The Potential. When it comes to potential, the idea behind Qhome has an awful lot of it. However, without more details and more explanation, it’s easy to get the impression that nothing may ever come of all that potential. Qhome makes a lot of bold claims and is fairly cost-effective. Now, all that remains to be seen is if it can back up all of its talk.

Home Lighting

LightFreq uses Wi-Fi, lets your house get its freak on

The Premise. “Smart lighting” has become one of the latest trends to hit homes and offices. In the past, choices were limited to light bulb style and wattage – usually dictated by a lamp’s requirements. Luckily for us, light bulbs have fast-tracked it to evolutionary nirvana.

The Product. LightFreq is a multi-color, energy efficient LED light bulb with built-in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and HD Audio controlled by a smartphone app. LightFreq gives consumers and business owners the ability to turn lights on, control dimmers, colors, and other unique abilities. For consumers there is a built-in “follow me” feature which will turn lights on and off as you enter and leave the rooms in your house (as long as your smartphone is with you). The same can be set for audio if you choose to listen to music. Different lighting motifs can be turned on so that LightFreq chooses the colors, which colors to change to, and how fast to change them to the beats of your tunes. Similarly you can set your LightFreq to flash in different colors when you receive a social media notification, text message or phone call. LightFreq also allows you to play God in a neat way with an intercom feature allowing you to speak into a specific LightFreq in another room OR into all LightFreqs in your house at once. LightFreq even works as a morning alarm turning on light, music, or both gradually until you are bopping around in a fresh new day.

The Pitch. LightFreq’s video showcases the many utilities of having the product in your home or business. Devon, Founder of LightFreq, presents his concept of putting sound and light together into one product. The video also features Colin and Rob, chief designers, who explain the importance of putting the best technology into the smallest space to create a powerful speaker. One screen even boasts better sound quality than Beats Pill, but there is no reference data source. Later down the page, Devon hosts a few demos of the product and there’s even a LightFreq soundtrack you can sample. The campaign is looking to raise $50,000 over 30 days on Kickstarter.

The Perks. For just $55 Early Birds can secure their own LightFreq, but a pledge of $70 will take care of late-comers. If you’re interested in the KickStarter special edition, there is a $30 premium for black matte and KickStarter green logo. For $10,000 the founders will come to your business and set up 60 LightFreqs at your office (travel costs not included).

The Potential. Smart lighting has become a very popular concept in the last few years and LightFreq should be able to capture a lot of interest. Backerjack featured a similar product, Whome, with a slightly different design but almost the same functionality as LightFreq. One major difference between the products is that Whome does not use Bluetooth, which could be one of the reasons that the project was ultimately not funded, besides an unnecessarily technical campaign page.

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.

Cycling Lighting

Double O bike lights help you cycle at night

Double O  1a260ce73b9c97ebaaaa539d2ccca2e5_large[1]For those who enjoy that midnight ride, Double O provides an easy way to see where you are going, and be seen. They attach to your bike with neodymium-grade magnets, and the rechargeable lights come in both white and red for front and back visibility. Multiple lower powered LEDs mean significantly reduced glare for oncoming cyclists and cars. Perhaps the most interesting feature is that you can actually lock them onto your bike to reduce the chance of theft. For £79, backers get the set with an expected delivery of September 2014. It is possible to get them separately for less.

Lighting Smart Home

Brightup smart lighting adds context to lighting control

The Premise. The electric light revolutionized everything. Since then there have been several upgrades from a hardware perspective in terms of bulbs or light output, but not much in the way of operation. While several companies are allowing people to control their lights with their mobile devices, one company wants to put the mobile device in charge and make the whole process automatic.

The Product. The brightup smart lighting system avoids the smart home lighting automation equipment that has been promised for decades but has rarely seen adoption. Instead of installing a complicated network for the home’s outlets, brightup has a set of outlet caps that can be plugged in the home. Then, lamps or other lighting systems can be plugged in, and interface with the home’s central unit. The central unit detects the smartphone on which the brightup app is installed, and turns on the lights to greet users. Settings for dimmer switches that detect TVs or travel mode which gives off the illusion of someone in an empty home are also available.

The Pitch. The designers of brightup use their video to make a lot of vague statements about technology, but once the concept of brightup’s functions start, it’s easy to see the appeal. The campaign’s pictures show off the technology and the internal components, as well as feature several seemingly unrelated blocks of computer programming. To meet its goals of keeping prices low and complete the plastic tooling, brightup needs 130,000, or just over $175,000.

The Perks. The brightup starter kit costs €159 (under $220) with approximately an additional $20 shipping cost outside of the European Union. The starter kit comes with 1 central unit and 1 device (a plug or in-wall dimmer). 2 additional units come in the featured bundle for an additional €40, or the entire house can be connected at the €449 (~$615) level with 1 central unit and 10 devices. Higher tiers are meant to be shared among multiple people and come with up to five central units.

The Potential.  Having a home’s light completely set up on the brightup system seems like a great idea, but the price point is a little steep to start with. The system does little to conserve power like competitors unless residents forget to turn lights off when they leave, and the security mode would only work in rooms where brightup plugs were installed. It’s a neat idea, and certainly an innovation where one is sorely needed, but it’s questionable whether or not brightup’s unique features are worth the additional cost. Currently, the technology is not compatible with U.S. electrical systems.

Imaging Kids/Babies

Looky Loo Light gets your baby’s focus for your camera’s focus

The Premise. We love taking photos of our kids, and, with the transition from wallet to smartphone, immense photo storage has encouraged child-centered bragging to hit an all-time high. But it’s hard to show off images of your baby which are blurry because he wouldn’t sit still or just okay because she’s decided every other object in the room is more interesting than a camera lens.

The Product. The Looky Loo Light tricks babies and small children into liking photography by distracting and inspiring them to look directly at the lens, in most cases improving the subject’s interaction with the camera. It’s comprised of a set of four blinking, colored LED lights on a Velcro band which can attach to the lens hood of a DSLR. The flashing lights tend to dominate the child’s attention, so that in most cases her body is positioned toward the camera and a head-on shot looking directly (or almost directly) into the lens can be achieved. There are three light settings, three different sound settings, and even adjustments you can make to the brightness of the lights – handy for transitioning from indoor and outdoor shooting.

The Pitch. In a four-minute video which is one part product pitch and three parts blooper reel, pro photographer and chief Looky Looer Allison Carenza tells us that she specializes in shooting children’s portraits and explains what inspired the idea. Realizing that her “tools” for taking children’s portraits were increasingly looking more like children’s toys and less like camera accessories, she decided to make something that would lessen the burden of entertainment, freeing her to more easily capture fantastic shots when they came. Allison explains to backers that she needs to raise $50,000 to pay for a small initial Looky Loo Light production, which she has determined will occur in the U.S. While the page lacks any type of demonstrative content in installing Looky Loo onto your camera lens, it does identify two achievements in 2013 – winner of the “Dream Big” and “Most Innovative Inventions of 2013” awards.

The Perks. For 25 early birds, pledges of $150 will earn a backer reward of one black Looky Loo Light along with a Looky Loo t-shirt. Kickstarter and Standard editions offer the same reward for $199 and $249 respectively, and backers who want a limited edition color will commit to funding the project at $299. All Looky Loos are expected to ship in August.

The Potential.  While no doubt a useful product for Allison’s application, it’s difficult to say how easily Looky Loo may be adopted by the general public. Many new parents certainly choose to invest in a DSLR, but that is a purchase expected to last a number of years. While Looky Loo may be successful in creating easier “head-on” portraits of children less than a year old, it would be important to understand how much longer a child has before becoming desensitized. All toys get old and uninteresting after awhile –ask Andy and Buzz. It’s not a very practical accessory to have to tote around in terms of size and it’s unclear whether Looky Loo can be used simultaneously with an external flash, or whether light from the LEDs are negatively effecting the image.


Plumen 002 takes on never-ending bulb bending

Plumen 002-2Fans of portmanteaus will appreciate the Plumen 002, the second in a line of light bulbs that take on unusual shapes. After the success enjoyed by the squiggly design of the the Plumen 001, the London-based team is taking on settings that demand a softer light — as well as a James Bond-like naming scheme — with the 002. In addition to the novel shape, the bulbs conserve energy. But instead of being based on trendy LEDs, they use compact fluorescent technology. Plumen’s campaign talks about the rock star design team that created the inspiration for the bulb, which can illuminate your setting for a pledge starting at $30 or $60 with an elegant Pendant lamp. Whole rooms full of Plumens are available for more; let’s hope they’re packed well when they ship out, which is slated to be June 2014.