Music Technology

Loopa looping microphone lets you beatbox or harmonize with yourself

While beatboxing is an amazing skill, it takes years to really perfect due to the difficulty involved in creating complex rhythms. Likewise, singing a capella is beautiful expression of vocal skill but performing harmonies on your own is impossible (unless you have some particular skills, that is). The Loopa gives amateurs in both the chance to practice while letting already talented performers shine.

Questionably labelled the world’s first, the Loopa is a high-quality microphone with integrated looping technology. It sports the options to record, playback and overdub existing sounds along with undoing and redoing sounds, with an ARM Cortex M4 processing handling all the technical work inside. With it, beatboxers, singers, and musicians can use single button recording to build up layers of sound until a catchy beat is made. About $172 gets interested backers a chance to spittle the illest beats until their hearts are content. Loopa is slated to ship July 2016 should its Kickstarter campaign raise about $52,000 by April 23rd, 2016.

Put plainly, Loopa looks like A lot of fun. Putting everything together in one familiar interface, it makes beatboxing or singing much more approachable for newbies while giving already talented performers another tool to express themselves as opposed to a product like the Ditto Mic Looper.

Cell Phone Accessories Imaging

olloclip Studio case creates a photo accessory rig for your iPhone

How far can one take smartphone imaging? Each of the many accessories that are available to improve the standard output of their integrated cameras compromises their portability either with more stuff to manage or by making for an awkward group of phone appendages that must often be treated gingerly.

olloclip is familiar with this scenario. The company that created a Kickstarter stir in 2013 with a series of smartphone lenses. It has since come out with a new version for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus that includes a small holster to encourage taking the accessories along. Paving the way for much more than lens add-ons, though, the olloclip Studio “mobile photography system” begins with the rare protective case that can accommodate the olloclip lenses and a grip for steading the iPhone.

Connected Objects Music

Back to the Backers: Mikme wireless recording microphone

After failing to reach its Kickstarter goal of raising $217,000 for the Mikme wireless recording microphone early this year, Mikme Audio is giving Indiegogo a try with a new campaign for the device. The company has, however, opted for a much more modest goal of raising $25,000 by July 26 this time.

patent-claimedMikme allows users to record quality audio with just the single touch of a button. The company has done some work above and beyond its Bluetooth connection to stream audio reliably to its iOS and Android companion app. Users can use the app to simply save, mix, edit and share their recordings and can mix up to eight tracks. The device comes with 8 GB of onboard memory, enabling up to 180 hours of recording. Other features include a gold-plated condenser capsule. Mikme will ship in November and cost $299 at retail.

With its single button devoted to recording, the device remains a good option for consumers looking for a simple, high-quaity microphone that offloads all the user interface to an app for easy editing and sharing.


Backerjack Podcast #20: Catching Thoughts and Generating Buzz

In Episode 20 of the Backerjack Podcast, guest host Michael Rose and Ross check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders:’

  • Myle Tap, a Bluetooth microphone that captures your thoughts on the go and can route them to a wide range of apps.
  • Doppel, a watch-like device that rhythmically buzzes your wrist to calm you down or rev you up..

Download the episode or play it below, subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and follow Backerjack on Twitter and Facebook.

Input Wearables

Note to Self: Myle Tap captures your brilliance, spreads it around apps

The smartphone has become the main conduit to the cloud that stores many of our precious expressions — photos, e-mails and notes. It’s nearly always with us, but not always so easily accessed, for example, when we’re driving. And so smartwatches have emerged as a way to quickly get little bits of information out of the smartphone without removing its increasing profile from our pockets.

Myle Tap is, in some ways, the opposite of a smartwatch in that it’s focused almost exclusively on input, specifically, the jotting down of notes, random thoughts, to dos and short messages that often escape our memory . But the clippable microphone isn’t just a modern-day smartphone connected voice recorder once associated with reminders. The folder organization of those devices have been replaced with a host of app integrations for services such as Evernote and OneNote (which seem like naturals),, social stalwarts Facebook and Twitter, team app darling Slack and to-do list Wunderlist, which was recently acquired by Microsoft, with more on the way. Because of the intelligent crowd it hands with, Mlle Tap identifies at least 15 different kinds of tasks with which it can help, from adding a to-do to your list to controlling the Internet of Things.

Music Wearables

Soundglass builds bone-conducting sound into a pair of shades

The next big thing in headphones is to offer extra functions, certain styles, or increased audio fidelity. These features are welcome to those who love to have sound and music with them wherever they go, but it doesn’t really change the fundamental technology.

The Buhel SOUNDglass SG05 is a step in a direction so far out of left field that it’s a complete shot in the arm to headphone technology. It’s a pair of sunglasses that only touches the ears to hold the glasses. Buhel SOUNDglass uses Bone Conduction Technology, a means of audio amplification that sends vibrations through parts of the skull to give users the same kind of sound quality they expect while keeping their ears free and available to hear the world around them. Atellani, the creators of the Buhel SOUNDglass SG05, are trying to raise $110,000 to fund tooling and production. Supporters can get a pair for $165, shipped out in February of next year.

This is a product so revolutionary that it’s easy to get excited over. However, few people have had the opportunity to hear audio through Bone Conduction Technology, and it may be hard to take the risk. This is a truly innovative product however, and could open a whole new product space for future headphone/glasses combinations.

Cell Phone Accessories Smart Home

Rico reuses your older smartphone into a smart home station

Keeping current with the latest smartphones is a battle with many casualties, namely all the old phones that just wind up in a closet or a drawer collecting dust. What if there was still a way to put their processors to use?

Rico is a cute little smart home sensor package that can function basically on its own to do motion detection, smoke monitoring, and controlling devices connected to smart outlets. What makes Rico unique however is that it also serves as a housing for smartphones, that combines the strengths of smartphone hardware with home automation sensors. As a result, this opens up the possibility of having an HD security camera with microphone and speaker connected via 3G and Wifi.

In doing so, Rico pushes two important realities of the modern age: finding a use for devices that are too often simply discarded or forgotten and helping consumers more easily enter the era of the smart home. Rico developers MindHelix, Inc. are trying to raise $100,000 to finish design, testing, and production phases on the project. Interested supporters can grab a Rico for $99, with an estimated delivery in November 2015.

While the individual feature set of the Rico may not be anything groundbreaking, the method that it goes about accomplishing home automation is very clever. It would be nice to see the addition of a smartphone provide more than just audio/video functions and network access, but ideally this will help some consumers save money on home automation.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Neoji blends automation with energy monitoring

The Premise. The smart home revolution is banging down the doors of houses and apartments redolent in their wasting of energy; both for utilities and in the way residents have to get up, go home, and be present to control anything. Now that that revolution is here, homeowners need access to an automation hub that shares their goals and priorities.

The Product. Neoji can control the entire home using an app on a smartphone or tablet. Equipped with air sensors, a microphone, and an HD camera, homeowners can monitor their own home at their leisure or be alerted to motion or sound when they’re not paying attention. Because Neoji can learn about what’s part of the daily routine and what’s out of the ordinary, phones won’t be littered with notifications about pets playing or kids coming home from school.

The Pitch. Neoji introduces itself as a flexible device perfect for everything from baby monitoring to home security. With a focus on cutting energy costs and doing its part for the environment, Neoji takes things a step farther by planting or preserving a tree for every backer. Neoji wants to collect $100,000 in pledges in order to complete development and move beyond the prototype stage.

The Perks. A Neoji with app, energy coaching, and 24/7 technical support will arrive in April 2015 for those who pledge $299 to the campaign. A color choice between white and black is available for $349, and the model with an HD camera and air quality sensors can be had for $399. A flexible development kit with wall-mounts and access to the SDK goes to backers with $499 to contribute. Additional tiers offer multiple Neoji devices.

The Potential. Neoji is trying to be an all-in-one home automation system that revolutionizes the way homeowners interact with their property. The problem? It’s a little late to the party. In terms of its features and compatibility, this is really in the realm of what consumers are expecting from a device like this. The only way Neoji stands out is in its ecologically-focused presentation. If the campaign video is any indication, Neoji is somewhat fixated on reducing energy costs. For those that have a similar mindset, this will be the smart home environment controller that will be the best fit. Otherwise, Neoji winds up being another face in the crowd.