Tech Accessories

Brik Case makes customizing MacBooks a snap

Many laptop users like to personalize the tops of their computers, a fun activity often accomplished with stickers. Laptop users, however, may get tired of previously chosen designs. Not helping matters is that many stickers can be extremely hard to fully remove.

The Brik Case offers a novel way for users to more easily customize their laptop. The Brik Case is a customizable laptop case that uses toy bricks which allow users to constantly change the design of their case. The Brik Case was conveniently designed to easily clip on and off MacBook Pros and MacBook Airs, so long as they were manufactured in 2013 or later. Notably, the case isn’t officially licensed by Lego, Mega Bloks, PixelBlocks, Kre-O or K’Nex. Nonetheless, the Brik Case is still compatible with all of those toy bricks. Its maker is planning to ship the case in August with $39.99 pricepoint. Its makers are hoping to raise $30,000 to help pay for the molds, packaging, engineers and the first order of Brik Cases. The campaign end date is slated for April 25.

The Brik Case hold a lot of promise, albeit for a very niche audience: MacBook users who are fans of Lego and other toy bricks. Making a version for Windows PCs would be an obvious move that could significantly expand the market for the case. The product’s Kickstarter campaign, however, makes no mention of such plans in the future.

Fitness Input Virtual Reality

Revisit your virtual stomping grounds and break a sweat with Stompz VR foot sensors

The promise of virtual reality is, at the same time, plagued with a number of real problems which can hinder the entire experience. The biggest problem yet to be solved involves how users can experience unlimited movement within very real, limited spaces. Because omni-directional treadmills and other wonky solutions aren’t ripe for the mainstream, reducing movement to controllers remains a necessary sacrifice.

patent-claimedStompz  is a product which allows VR enthusiasts to use their own two legs and avoid bumping into walls in the process. The product comes in the form of two sensors, each containing a nine-axis motion tracker, that attach to sneakers. Walking in place will map the same experience over to the virtual world, while walking slightly faster will translate into a run, providing a low intensity workout at the same time. The inputs themselves are fully customizable, so users have control over how to walk backwards, jump, sprint, etc. Stompz isn’t limited to the feet, though, as the motion trackers are versatile enough to be used with fitness equipment or as alternative controllers alá the Wii Nunchuks. Interested backers looking for a new way to use their headsets can shell out $125 for the Stompz kit, expected in December 2015. The campaign is looking for $100,000 in funding by April 10.

This product targets an extremely niche market of gamers looking to experiment with alternative forms of input when it comes to VR, something that is both very necessary but still a ways away from being successful. Products like Stompz and 3DRudder are the closest approximations to mainstream solutions currently available — and neither does a great job. Until a truly all-in-one solution comes along, these products will serve as testing beds until a product comes along and does it just right.

Cell Phone Accessories Displays

LIBERCOM152 is the klunky way to turn your iPhone into an iPad

The phablets that have rapidly become the norm may be perfect for the morning commute or occasional road trip, but at home but there’s nothing like a full-sized display to display content as brilliantly as it deserves to be, and completely capture attention as a result.

While it doesn’t measure up to an HDTV or even most desktop PC screens, the 9.7- inch, full HD LIBERCOM152 lets consumers experience all their phone apps on a tablet-sized display. The full capacitive touch screen is primarily designed as a smartphone complement, but can connect to a PC, Mac, or even Rapsberry Pi to facilitate video calls, gaming, and Web browsing. Utilizing a a dual charging and micro-HDMI display cable reduces lag in the screen so that it can better support real-time mirroring. Early birds can grab their own LIBERCOM152 for up to $200 off the $350 retail price, with a ship date of June 2015 expected. The campaign seks $80,000.

The LIBERCOM152’s oozes retro charm with its SNES-inspired design that even includes a game controller. However, for what it costs, most users would e served better by a sleeker iPad or other tablet as it lacks the integration of ASUS’ Padfone X.

Fitness Video Games

TreadGaming works you out without cheat codes

Video gaming is a fantastic way to spend a day off, but pretty a pretty terrible thing for the body. As much fun as it may be, a sedentary lifestyle is nothing but bad news. Although virtual reality is eventually promising a future where people will be able to move around with their favorite virtual worlds, that future is a considerably long way off.

Enter TreadGaming, a tiny, USB-enabled device that attaches a treadmill or an ergometer bike and transforms it into a giant video game controller powered by nothing but physical activity. The Mountain Dew and Doritos won’t be at arm’s length anymore but, in exchange, users will be able to sneak, walk, and run throughout whatever world they popped into the DVD tray.

What’s more, any action can be mapped to the exercise device or the two Wii Nunchuks that are able to plugged into the TreadGaming devices along with free I/O pins offer a ton of versatility when it comes to interacting with the game itself and expanding the device’s capabilities. Early birds can grab the device for kr380 (~$47) before it goes up to kr456 (~$57). The kr22,500 (~$2,800) campaign is looking to get people off their couches by March 2015.

The TreadGaming device is fairly limited at the moment in its execution, working out only with the PS3. Further revision and a deal with another company will be required to bring the rest of the current generation consoles up to speed. In addition, other types of exercise tools won’t work, like ellipticals and rowing machines. A similar device that combines exercise and gaming is the STABALLIZER, but works only with smartphones and tablets. Omni-directional treadmills that work with VR headsets have been teased, but are a ways off. Until then, something like TreadGaming can fill that niche.


Flow wireless controller streamlines your workflow with gesture, touch

In the physical world, our hands are the tools with which we feel and manipulate the world around us, having evolved over time to be regions of intense sensitivity and masterful precision. Our leap into the digital realm hasn’t been as smooth, though. While the keyboard and mouse combo has admirably pulled its weight over the years, the increasing complexity and changing functionality of the programs we use daily have plainly shown that another way of controlling is possible. With the Flow wireless controller, Senic shows that it’s thinking of a future where the digital can be as easily controlled as anything physical.

Flow is a stylish, aluminum puck-shaped device that offers gesture, touch, scroll, and haptic control all in a tiny package. With it, users will be able to access a larger ranger of precision not offered by traditional mouse inputs and the shortcuts that make work much easier. Programs like Spotify and Photoshop let users change what each input does, so what a pass of the hand will do in one will do something entirely different in the other, eliminating hunting after specific options in menus. It’s also freely programmable, so any program not currently supported can be addressed by the Flow community. Puzzlingly, Flow is Mac only for now, but the rest of the major platforms are in the works. The $99 Flow is expected to ship in July 2015. Flow is looking for $50,000 in funding.

New input technologies are always risky business as the companies pushing them are essentially asking people to incorporate foreign actions into their very established processes. Most of the time, though, these inputs are laughably difficult and don’t do much to make things easier. Flow seems to be very straightforward and easy to use. It works as a complement rather than a proposition to replace everything, and that’s a far lower bar to present to those who may be interested.

Cell Phone Accessories Chargers/Batteries Lighting Music Tech Accessories

Vox puts a pyramid of desk tools at your fingertips

In a world where humans are expected to multitask, it only seems fair that there are gadgets available that allow for gadgets to multitask as well.

Vox makes multitasking more effective in our fast paced world. Oh, let tech lovers count the ways! Six ways, to be exact. These include a rechargeable LED desk lamp, USB and laptop charger, Bluetooth speakers, video recording camera, classical clock, smartphone, and tablet dock. At the touch of a button, answer the phone while using a charging laptop, enjoying Bluetooth, and driving the caller crazy. It’s the ultimate multitasking experience with each side of the pyramid having its own unique multitask enhancing purpose!

The fun is available to those who own iPhone 6/6+, as well as owners of Apple, HP, Dell, Toshiba, Lenovo, Samsung, Sony, LG, Asus, Acer, and Fujitsu laptops. Early bird backers who want the six-feature premium version product can get theirs for $95 with an expected delivery of December 2014.


The Guardian tells e-snoopers to get off of your cloud

guardianConcern about our digital information is at an all-time high. Between cloud services skimping on security, credit cards being swiped, major banks being hacked, and the NSA sniffing around, it’s difficult to confidently secure valuable files. BoltKey’s Guardian intends to make it easy. The silver slab offers users military grade encryption and wireless backup of up to 3TB of data, coupled with two-factor authentication requiring the included BoltKey accessory. The product’s encryption and storage may dwarf others, but products like WEDG or the Sherylbox offer more options with which to interact with data. Early birds can get their own Guardian for $199 in November 2014, while tardy turtles will get theirs in December 2014 for $249.

Cell Phone Accessories Displays

TouchPico projects the future of smartphone displays

The Premise. The pocket-sized projector is giving the smartphone the ability to share content locally and give presentations for work or just relax with some Netflix. Now imagine that same technology with the ability to project a touchscreen environment as well.

The Product. TouchPico is an Android PC that wirelessly streams smartphone applications onto any surface quickly and easily. Additionally, TouchPico includes a stylus pen that can be used to control the smartphone the way a finger would on the projected surface, turning any wall, desk, or whiteboard into an interactive display. Because TouchPico is powered by Android, any apps from the Google Play store are immediately compatible with TouchPico for projecting and touching. TouchPico can also stream from a Mac or PC computer environment using the mouse instead, assuming the devices are all connected to a wireless-capable router.

The Pitch. In the video introduction to TouchPico, we see the creators excited for a variety of the features that the device can provide in the home, with children, at work, or at school. As the device is put to the test, the “touch” display seems quick, responsive, and accurate, as suitable for Fruit Ninja as it is for navigating a PowerPoint presentation. The developers of TouchPico are hoping to raise $55,000 for production of the device’s modules and to handle the costs of manufacturing.

The Perks. A TouchPico projector with stylus can be grabbed up for $349 in October 2014. Those who don’t have the funds to pay that much right now can put one on “layaway” for a $99 pledge, with a promise to pay $300 later. Distributors and developers who want to start selling TouchPico immediately or get to work on applications for the device can get their hands on one shipped out right now for $799 or $999 respectively.

The Potential. Projectors for smartphones are beginning to take off as a way to share the powerful computing power of these tiny devices in a way that can engage more people than just the one facing the screen. By adding a pseudo-touch display to the mix, the phone can be easily set aside, allowing for a more natural sharing of media or presentation of ideas. Everything about this device looks like it is ready for market and should perform as well as the TouchPico’s expectations.

Connected Objects Tablet Accessories

PocketScan lets you capture anything on a page with a quick swipe

The Premise. In order to really kill the desktop computer off once and for all, mobile devices need to be able to do everything their lumbering, clunky big brothers can handle. In recent years that’s come to include lightweight solutions for full keyboards and even printing.  The next hurdle to overcome is scanning.

The Product. PocketScan is a handheld device no bigger than a computer mouse that can be used to skim across any surface and immediately have it display on a tablet or computer. What’s better is that these scans can be instantly edited if text is detected in any language, and translation options are available for foreign documents as well. Because the device is hand-sized and requires movement, the PocketScan can even be used to scan very large items that would not normally fit inside of a scanner.

The Pitch. Dacuda, creator of the PocketScan, show off the versatility and simplicity of the device by showing consumers using it to scan menus, photos, business reports, and everything else including a set of lips! While the video glosses over a lot of the technical details in order to offer up a short and sweet video that captures the device’s wow factor, plenty of space is given in the campaign page to answer questions about connectivity, battery life, and more. Dacuda needs $50,000 to send PocketScan out into the market. Additionally, stretch goals are available making the device compatible with Android devices at $150,000, iPhones at $250,000, and adding a text to speech mode at $500,000.

The Perks. The PocketScan can be picked up for those that pledge at least $99, with scanning software included for Windows, Mac, and iPad. Developers can get a trio of scanners and access to both the SDK and API for $1,250. All rewards are due to ship out in December 2014.

The Potential. Crowdfunding has hosted a few innovative mobile scanners lately, including the robotic page-traversing  Pocket Printer and PPrintee. Putting scanning literally into the hands of users to do as they wish is a great idea, especially as a new way of sharing content while on the go. The light weight, compact design, and long battery life are great ways of making this device as convenient as possible, making PocketScan a great choice for business pros on the go or young artists who need to strike when inspiration hits them. This is a neat device just as a scanner, but the ability to get instant feedback while scanning and edit scans quickly make this a must-have.

Connected Objects Tech Accessories

Sherlybox lets you control your own personal cloud, lets you call it “Sherly”

The Premise. The dream of a vast public cloud of data is dying. Privacy is becoming a greater concern for almost every citizen of the Internet, and so having cloud-style features and access to files across devices and geography is great, but keeping others away from sensitive and personal files is even more important.

The Product. The Sherlybox is a RaspberryPI-powered compact desktop cloud server that can sync with almost any PC and access files over a secure connection even when devices are currently powered down. Because the files are being transferred over a personal server, everything happens behind the appropriate firewalls and there are no limits to the quantity or size of files sent across the house or the globe. With a proprietary software protocol designed specifically for larger files, the service and app can use almost the entirety of a network’s bandwidth to move files quickly.

The Pitch. Sherlybox’s inventor, Blazej Marciniak, and his partner Marek Ciesla introduce us to the Sherlybox with just three simple presses of its sync button. While it’s difficult to really illustrate the speed and security of such a device in a quick marketing video, the passion of the creators shows through their whole campaign, and their promises are indeed something worth considering. To make the Sherlybox a reality, Inc. needs $69,000 for testing, manufacture, and quality assurance.

The Perks. A Sherlybox with an open hard drive slot will be sent out in November to backers who pledge $149 or more. Anyone that wants built-in storage as well can have that hard drive slot filled with a 1 Terabyte hard drive at the $199 level. Personal touches like engraving and color choices are available at higher tier levels. All reward tiers that include the Sherlybox itself also come with lifetime licenses for the app.

The Potential. Despite looking more like an air freshener than a cloud server, Sherlybox offers a lot of compatibility and easy sharing options to make files private but still easy to access to those with the proper credentials. While covering all the mobile app bases may take some time,  the device already plays well with Flex TV and Xbox Media Center, as well as Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs, the Sherlybox is a great utilitarian device that can store and access media across multiple devices in a simple, easy, but also secure way. That extra added touch of privacy could make all the difference in standing out from competitors of this device.