Oddio headphones offer a modular design with swappable components

It would be nice to be able to change the look of one’s headphones or upgrade the speakers on them every once in a while so that another headphone purchase isn’t necessary if the owner gets bored with their design or wants to improve their sound performance or other features.

patent-claimedOddio is a set of modular headphones with swappable components. Users can change its colors or the speakers, and also swap out the ear cups for a different sound profile. Skins, modules and batteries all are attached magnetically. Users can also attach Bluetooth or Active Noise Cancellation modules based on their needs.

A set of basic Oddio headphones starts shipping in December. It has a future price of $220. But early bird Indiegogo backers can order a set starting at $129 for super early birds. A “Pokemon Go” set comes in a choice of blue, red or yellow and with up to 12 characters per ear cap.

Connected Objects

Weighitz smart scales let you weigh it — whatever it is

The only scale that a lot of consumers own is the one they keep in their bathroom to weigh themselves. However, the clunky design of such scales pretty much makes them useless for weighing anything else –- like food, a pet, mail or a piece of luggage to avoid paying a fee at the airport.

Weighitz are small, modular smart scales designed to accurately weigh pretty much anything in the home, or even certain things outside the home like letters and luggage. It’s water resistant, and its low power consumption and high capacity batteries combine so users rarely have to recharge. When required, the scale can be plugged into the included micro USB charging cable and attached to a computer or wall socket. An indicator will light up when it’s charged.

Weighitz ships in December at future pricing of $25 each or $70 for three. But Indiegogo backers have been able to get Weighitz for pledges starting at $18 for one and $50 for $50. Its makers seek about $32,000 by August 22nd.

This is a handy product, but obviously there are many similar products, including GeniScale, that have come first. The modular design and smart functionality of Weighitz, however, gives it an edge over at least some rival devices. When combined, a set of Weighitz can weigh heavier or more oddly shaped objects. The scale outputs info to the companion smartphone app for unspecified operating systems. When using more than one Weighitz, the app will combine the readings from all the scales into one reading.


Connected Objects

Whether indoors or out, the Globio security system has your back

Despite the smart home segment’s myriad of options — and the many standards that come from them — companies still continue to churn out proprietary smart home hubs that don’t play nice with other connected devices. This ultimately adds to the issue of fragmentation, something the team behind the Globio wants to address.

Put simply, the Globio is an all-purpose, modular security system. Its main difference is making a smart home hub out of a user’s smartphone. With it, Globio uses the camera as a motion detector, its microphone as a noise detector, along with most smartphone’s proximity and light sensors. Presented by itself, Globio would be limited, so a set of pill-shaped modules expand the system’s functionality. Some, like the #Pia, is a motion sensor to be installed on doors and windows, while other, like #Shane, monitor temperature, pressure, and humidity.


The Henlen modular smartwatch switches things up

Making the jump to becoming a smartwatch owner is a tricky decision. On the one hand, the added utility of a smartwatch can make one’s day more organized and efficient. On the other, smartwatches are continually criticized over being more a nuisance than anything, ultimately taking space away from other dumb, but far more stylish, watches.

The team at Henlen Watches felt the same and is now trying to fund its Origin Series of interchangeable smartwatches. A Henlen watch is comprised of three parts: its strap, its body, and its Cell, where all the technology is stored. Each part, including the Cell, is interchangeable between the two models available: the Commdander and the Covert. The former is a more rugged watch (with black or silver body options along with black or tan leather straps), while the latter is a more casual version (with the option of a rose gold or black body along with a chocolate leather or red leather strap). In this way, wearers of the Origin Series needn’t sacrifice the flexibility of multiple styles for a more connected experience.


This modular smartwatch and band will make you the coolest kid on the Blocks

editors-choiceSmartwatches are a paradox. They extend some of the capabilities of the smartphone by putting notifications and other functionality on the wrist but they also have serious limitations because of their size (including their puny batteries), comfort requirements, and limited input. They require even more functional tradeoffs than smartphones and unfortunately that may include things important to certain buyers

But there will be a far smaller chance of that for owners of the Blocks smartwatch. The “core” of the device includes a sleek round LCD watch face that provides features such as voice input, haptic feedback, low-power Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, notifications and activity tracking. It works with both iOS and Android smartphones.

Tech Accessories

Cusby releases the potential of USB-C, one module at a time

One day, USB-C — the reversible connector that represents the first change the USB “A” port since its inception — will be everywhere. In addition to everything older USB connectors can do, it can accommodate video connections and power. However, in their eagerness to take advantage of the port’s great versatility, laptop purveyors such as Apple (with its new MacBook) and Google (with the Chromebook Pixel 2) have  offered a limited number of ports with few choices for adapters.

Cusby takes a modular approach to releasing the potential of the USB-C connector. It consists of a number of modular components that allow those with USB-C ports to break out dedicated connectors with tile-like units that are about 1.6″ square. These include the more traditional USB-A, HDMI, and one (or more) USB-C ports.

Cell Phone Accessories

MODR plugs into the quest for the modular smartphone case

There are many cases available for smartphones and tablets, and few of them tout anything much beyond what rivals are also offering.

patent-claimedBut MODR offers a unique modular approach to mobile device cases, enabling users to personalize the case and the smartphone or tablet inside it through the use of interchangeable modules and camera lenses. The multiple expansion options are being made possible by a patent-pending, built-in USB hub.

Each MODR Core Pack costs $79 and come with the case and choice of any two “reModules,” while a MODR Power Pack will also be fielded adding a removable battery pack and wireless charge pad at $124. They will ship in October. MODR’s maker is hoping to raise $70,000 by June 22.

Cell Phone Accessories

Nexpaq modular phone case lets you easily snap in new gadgets

Once upon a time in the early days of PCs, enthusiasts customized their desktop machines with a wide range of different hardware — optical and hard drives, sound and graphics cards, and a range of monitors, keyboards and mice.

That spirit of customization lives on mostly in the world of high-performance videogame enthusiasts, but it’s mostly passed on as we’ve adopted tightly integrated laptops, tablets and phones that often have little or no expansion capability. Nexpaq, though, is seeking to bring customization into a new era with a case that can accommodate a wide range of modules, many of which communicate with the phones via Bluetooth. Up to six modules can be installed at any time and they’re all compatible with both iOS and Android.

The range of modules include breath alcohol, temperature/humidity and air quality analyzers, an amplified speaker, a laser pointer, two hot keys (to trigger events on the phone) an extra battery (in addition to one built into the case),  n SD card reader, and up to 4 GB of extra flash or a USB drive. Cases work with either the iPhone 6, Galaxy S6 or the S6 Edge. Nexpaq is seeking $50,000 on Kickstarter by May 30th. A case and four modules is available for $109 and is due to ship in November

Nexpaq has something for everyone, but it’s not enough for everyone to want something.  Unlike slow-burn projects such as Google’s Project Ara, the Nexpaq case allows people to keep their popular phones. But it also raises the bar on the level of components that must be offered by Nexpaq and others it hopes to attract to justify the elimination of their phones’ slim profiles. Without a killer module, Nexpaq will have to count on pocket pack rats who wnat a range of relatively obscure accessories at the ready.

Home Pets

Apartment Pet Door lets your antsy animal gallivant while you relax

Pets can be a great way to have instant companionship, especially when one lives alone or is traveling alone. But for as wonderful as pet companionship can be, some pets have fidgety personalities and simply can’t decide if they’d rather be inside or outside.

Apartment Pet Door is a modular pet door that provides an elegant and mobile pet door solution for owners with pets who can’t make up their minds. The door is adjustable — from 82 to 92 inches — and just snaps right into place. The flap on the bottom of the door allows pets to come and go as they please without requiring owners to actively let them in or out. The product seems easy enough to install and may be worth checking out for anyone with an indecisive pet at home.

Of course, more mobility for pets might also increase the odds they wander off and get lost or, perhaps, get fleas. That said, pet owners might also want to check out Tool2Find, Arden Collar, and Kitty Tub. This campaign seeks to raise $22,000 by April 16, 2015. Early bird backer get one door for $99 with an expected delivery of June 2015.


Sole Stacks keeps shoes in an artsy looking rack

For those who believe that one can never have too many pairs of shoes, here is a storage idea that will get them off of the closet floor and someplace where they can be more easily organized and found – hanging right on the wall.

Sole Stacks is a modular, art deco looking wall mount for storing shoes. The product comes in three sizes: the five rack for five pairs of shoes, nine rack for nine pairs, and 13 rack 13 pairs. Racks can also be stacked. The unique slope saves space so more shoes can be stored, and is intended to be complimentary with the furniture around it. Some assembly with tools is required. Which tools are needed is not clearly specified, but it doesn’t appear to be particularly complex.

This seems like a very convenient way for shoe fanatics to keep all of their shoes organized and accessible. Shoe-loving backers may also want to check out Zem shoes and Bast shoes. This campaign seeks to raise $10,000. Backers get one five-stack Sole Stacks for $60 with an expected delivery of April 2015.