Apparel Wearables

Tracky motion capture sportswear tracks whole body movements

Wearable fitness devices tend to be limited in what movements and physical activities they can track. Some exercise and fitness enthusiasts would no doubt be interested in smart sportswear that can accurately track all their movements and activities while they are working out.

Tracky motion capture sportswear from the Project Pole company in Bangalore, India, is designed to accomplish exactly that. It is made up of a compression T-shirt and compression pants that are armed with several sensors to record physical movements, along with heart rate, breathing rate and body temperature. The product contains as many as 11 motion sensors combined. Data collected includes biomechanical analysis and can be used for comparative study and performance evaluation. In addition to storing the data in the cloud, Tracky will inform users whether they are meeting set goals while exercising, and also provide tips on how to improve their fitness activities. The sensors transmit the data to a small hub unit that processes the data and then sends it to a mobile app for iOS and Android devices via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Windows support is also planned.

Tracky, like the similar Heddoko, holds promise for a very niche audience of fitness enthusiasts who won’t mind wearing a nearly full body suit while exercising. It’s also impossible to gauge how comfortable it will be from watching an online video—if it’s uncomfortable, there will likely be few takers.

Backers who provide $179 as part of an early bird special, or $199 as part of an Indiegogo special, can expect the product in September of this year. The latter price is 20 percent less than the expected retail price. Project Pole is hoping to raise $30,000 for the campaign by March 13.

Input Sensors/IoT

Backtrack monitors spinal movement with eye to those in rehab

As we age, we begin to slow down. For example, our backs give out and injuring them could mean immobility for weeks.

Backtrack is a sensor that tracks movements in real time in 3-D. Connecting to any smartphone, the image shows movements on the screen. With this data, advanced algorithms can be applied to analyze how to improve movements and really show what’s going on, especially in physical therapy situations. The product itself is a small blue piece of rubber (obviously with more stuff inside). The campaign does a good job of showing how moving the sensor tracks those motions on the phone.

While the idea of translating three-dimensional motions onto a phone is a novel one, it doesn’t really seem necessary. The technology is still too new to really do much with the data collected. The campaign mentions vague “advanced algorithms” but it’s confusing what these really are. Backtrack seems to have fallen into the trap of sensor without feedback. Other sensors, like the runScribe track motions and then provide useful tips about adjustment. For their very own, backers can donate $150 CAD (~$131 USD) for estimated delivery in July 2015. Backtrack is looking to raise $50,000 CAD (~$44,000) on Kickstarter.

Cell Phone Accessories Chargers/Batteries

Tinbot Designs seeks to charge your iPhone with your movements

When it comes to a phone battery, the mere thought of running out of power is almost unthinkable for millions of people. Because of that, inventors have searched for any way to keep our beloved devices turned on at all costs. TinBot Designs is an Afghanistan-based company that has a unique new idea in this field: use ambient noise and movement to keep an iPhone battery charged little by little. Using a pizeoelectric effect that takes this noise and motion to stretch small rods, an electrical charge is created that can keep a battery charged.

All of this is accomplished in a small case that fits snugly around the iPhone without bulking the product up or creating something extra that needs to be carried around with the phone. This product is still in such an early stage that it lacks a name, and TinBot Designs are still looking for a transducer to make this project work at their standards. Their campaign is raising $5,000 to continue product testing to make this wonder charger a reality. At this time, no reward tiers offer the product itself. It’s a really interesting and unique idea, but there isn’t enough hard progress to consider for the average consumer.


A tiny motion sensor, CoinGuard alerts you to mysterious movements

We all have those things that we want to keep protected from the sticky fingers and greedy curious hands of burglars, children, or even just friends and family. Aside from setting up bullet-proof cases with laser trip alarms, how can these items be protected? CoinGuard is a simple and small security system that can be laid atop any item and serve as a watchdog. If the CoinGuard is moved, it triggers the motion sensor and sends a notifcation to the user’s phone, letting them know that their item is being tampered with.

CoinGuard does this through a nearby hub that syncs up to sensors and connects to the Internet through ethernet. The system allows for some peace of mind if items are being tampered with, but this comes with one key drawback. The CoinGuard has no way of reporting who is touching the protected items, and lacks the visual recognition to deter someone who doesn’t know what CoinGuard is. So if one is away from home and their valuables are being taken, the best they can do is try and call someone to respond in time when an alert has been sent. Pilot Labs is raising $100,000 through Kickstarter, and will set backers back $45 in December.

Input Video Games

Trinity Magnum lets you virtually bring a gun to a keyboard and mouse fight

The Premise. Since video games became a cultural phenomenon, gamers and developers alike have craved ways to become a part of the game. After 20 years of stalling and failing to launch, virtual reality headsets are on the brink of becoming the next big thing in gaming. Now it’s time to gear up with the weapons to survive the games.

The Product. The Trinity Magnum is a motion controller designed to handle and feel like a gun, the kind of which one would find in any first-person shooter. With one- or two-handed grips, a trigger, two joysticks, and four buttons, the Magnum is intuitively compatible with a number of titles regardless of genre. With a 9-axis IMU and optical tracking using a compatible camera, 1:1 motion is offered with no drift and maximum accuracy.

The Pitch. The launch video for Trinity Magnum is exactly what those who follow the gaming industry should expect. With hands-on footage from Game Developer’s Conference and testimonials from developers and users alike, it’s easy to get excited by what’s on display. The campaign itself goes into more detail regarding compatibility and functionality, as well as existing partnerships for the device. TrinityVR are shooting for a goal of $60,000 to assemble and test the prototype before finalizing and shipping the Magnum.

The Perks. A Magnum Developer Kit can be scored for $80 and will be out by the end of the year complete with SDK and the gun itself, though a compatible camera will need to be picked up elsewhere. Higher tiers simply offer multiple Trinity Magnums.

The Potential. As is pointed out in the pitch video, virtual reality gaming is all about immersion, and a VR headset is just half the battle. The technology behind the Trinity Magnum should make it an incredibly powerful tool in bringing games to life. Unfortunately, some of that realism might be lost through the current prototype design, which looks a bit like a Wii Zapper and a PlayStation Move controller had a baby as opposed to resembling a gun. The other issue this campaign might run into is focusing only on backers receiving development kits: which is great news for designers, but more than the average gamer needs. Add to this that an OpenCV camera is required, and there’s something that’s a really great piece of technology, but maybe a little too rough around the edges to really sell VR equipment.

Safety Smart Home

NOVI portable security system eases burdens of safety, high expense

The Premise. Modern security systems promise innovation and quick response, but can be too complex in the way they work. In addition, they’re expensive and not portable, leaving renters and office owners at risk. 

The Product. NOVI is a portable security system. With three features, this small device looks like a typical smoke detector and attaches to the ceiling. It has an HD camera, motion sensor, siren and smoke detector. Information is sent to an app on one’s smartphone if there is any activity. This allows the user to see exactly what is going on at their home at any time. NOVI is also a learning device, keeping track of typical habits so it knows when to arm itself if the user has forgotten to do so. The app asks for a response when an image is sent including call the police, ignore, or request another image.

The Pitch. The campaign video goes through the downside of working with typical security companies and the upside of NOVI. Scary statistics about the false alarm rate common with regular security companies and the costs associated with that permeate the rest of the campaign. NOVI’s creators also really emphasize that their product requires one payment instead of bothersome monthly fees and contracts. NOVI needs to raise $80,000 for a successful run on Kickstarter.

The Perks. Early birds will receive one sensor and the base station for $149, regularly priced at $199. Higher tiers offer more sensors, great for larger apartments, homes or for landlords who’d like to equip the apartments that they lease. Estimated delivery is set for January 2015.

The Potential. Portable home security systems do exist on the market, but not all take the same approach as NOVI. The Tattletale alarm works remotely as well, but costs $500. Similarly, the SimpliSafe alarm system is portable and connects to one’s cell phone, but the company charges a monthly rate for each added feature. NOVI truly is simple and refined. While it could have more features like a carbon monoxide detector, NOVI’s genius lies in its affordability making it the best option for safety for home owners and especially apartment renters.