Cell Phone Accessories Connected Objects Watches and Jewelry

NFC-enabled Memento Pearl makes a world of messages your oyster

Technology often elicits negative feelings bolstered by claims of anti-social and insensitive behaviors. But with technology being as ubiquitous as it is, it doesn’t necessarily mean sentimentality is out the window — contrary to what many may believe.

The Memento Pearl by Galatea is a perfect example of the sort of technology aiming to connect families, friends, and couples rather than serve as a barrier between them. The hand-crafted white freshwater or black Tahitian pearl pendants, rings, or earrings come set in a variety of materials like sterling silver or 14K gold, and feature an NFC chip within. Thoughtful types can record messages using a companion app that will playback from the pearl itself when tapped to any NFC-enabled device. Sterling silver options range from $130-$150 while 14K gold and other, more luxurious options are available at similarly luxurious price points. The campaign is looking for $50,000 and is expecting to ship the product in April of 2015

For now the system will only work with Android phones since Apple’s NFC is locked down, but offers a compelling and sincere take on modern connection. Most connected jewelry has a focus on fitness, but the Memento Pearl does something a little different and should get some attention for it.

Cell Phone Accessories Chargers/Batteries

HDkey provides phone-to-phone charging, data sharing

There are times when it would be enormously handy to be able to use a friend’s cellphone to charge a cellphone. HDkey is a device that can be used to do just that. But in addition to phone-to-phone charging, it can also be used for high-speed data transfer of HD video and images.

HDkey offers high speed data sharing with more than 20 times times the speed of Bluetooth. Another key feature is integrated NFC that enables users to share business cards or perform any other kind of data transfer with others in the vicinity. With just a tap of HDkey on a client’s cellphone with NFC capability, the user’s contact details will be stored on the client’s cellphone. Backers can get HDkey for pledges starting at only $10. But it’s not clear how much the device will sell for at retail or when it will ship. WaferLabs is hoping to raise $500 on Indiegogo.

The device is promising. But it’s hard to gauge just how strong demand can be until the retail price is clear. It seems like a strong deal for its $10 or $11 early bird perk offers. However, backers will have to cough up additional money to have it shipped outside of India. HDkey will also only work on phones with microUSB connections.

Cell Phone Accessories Connected Objects

Bluewire Bluetooth headset recorder puts the “call” in “recall”

Recording conversations on a smartphone, tablet, or a computer can be an awkward process filled with all kinds of programs that need to be installed and run in a very specific way. While one method may indeed work well enough for one platform, it won’t always work for another. In this space, the need for a one-size-fits-all solution is apparent.

The Bluewire smartphone and VOIP recorder are looking to streamline the process of recording conversations with their Bluetooth-enabled headset from up to 33 feet away. With this device, a user can pair any Bluetooth device capable of making a call and have both sides of a conversation recorded and stored onto its 16GB internal memory. If a user has their own Bluetooth headset they’d rather use, Bluewire can be used as an intermediary instead.

A companion smartphone app unlocks even more functionality. For example, a quick double-tap on the headset or tap of the headset onto an NFC-enabled phone will instantly sync the conversation to the device and email the file. When synced, the app allows users to manage their recorded calls, enables a tracking feature for both keys and device, and activates the BlueGuard burglar alarm. When Bluewire isn’t being used, it supports wireless Qi charging. Early birds can score a Bluewire headset for $149, a significant portion off of its $269 retail price. The $40,000 Indiegogo campaign is looking to ship the product in July 2015.

Bluewire is a promising product that offers tons of functionality in an attractive package for professionals, journalists, and business types looking to make sure they never miss a single detail. It provides a great service for those who may have to keep detailed accounts of calls such as salespeople, interviewers and journalists. While apps exist that can record conversations on smartphones, they aren’t universal solutions like Bluewire, a trait that will ensure Bluewire’s success on the market.


YoBox remembers what’s in moving boxes, stores data digitally

The stresses of moving are endless. Putting everything in boxes can be tedious and finding them again is a nightmare. People label their boxes, but there always seems to be minutiae that gets lost in the move.

The YoBox personal storage management system was designed around an Android and iOS app that works in conjunction with multi-colored YoBox sticker labels that are NFC and QR enabled. The user just has to take photos of all the items being put in a box or list the items in the box using the app, seal the box with a unique YoBox sticker label, scan the label using the app, name the box via the app, and confirm it. Once registered, the YoBox info will be saved onto a secure cloud server and stored there.

For a $20 pledge, backers will get a set of 10 labels that each contain unique NFC and QR codes, allowing them to manage the storage of 10 boxes starting in April. The system’s Boston developer is looking to raise $20,000 on Kickstarter.

The storage management system seems cleverly designed. One downside is that the YoBox system may work better for Android device users than those with iPhones, which don’t provide NFC in reader mode. The QR code will still work on iPhones, but unlike NFC and other radio-frequency identification (RFID) technologies, QR codes requires line of sight, so the QR code must be legible to the camera. QR codes can also be damaged by environmental elements including extended sun or water exposure. Still, the idea is a clever way to match the convenience of digital with the necessity of keeping track of YoBox remembers what’s in moving boxes, stores data digitallyphysical items.

Connected Objects

Liif could be life saver if you forget to take your pills

Many people have trouble remembering to take their pills, especially when they are on the run and there are multiple medications that need to be taken at different times of the day.

The Liif smart pill box from Sunnyvale, California-based company Tricella is designed to address that issue. The device connects to smartphones via Bluetooth and through an iOS and Android app. It then tracks when pills are taken or not taken, and sends the user and members of that person’s family reports to make sure the medications aren’t forgotten about. Users only need to tap Liif to an NFC-enabled smartphone to establish the Bluetooth connection.

The company also developed a Tricella Hub so that Liif can be used by consumers who don’t own a smartphone. That device relays Liif’s information just by using an Internet connection. Tricella isn’t using one of the crowd funding sites because it already funded Liif development, it says. The company is selling a four-chamber Liif Today at the discounted price of $44.99. It’s also fielding a seven-chamber version called Liif This Week at the discounted price of $54.99. The Hub is being sold for $89.99 on the Web site.

Liif is a promising product that should appeal to a large base of consumers. The price seems about right for the pill boxes themselves. But the Hub’s price seems excessive– especially when it’s likely that the target customer for that device is a senior citizen or other consumer who doesn’t own a smartphone and might be more budget-conscious than an iPhone owner. Liif’s name could also potentially confuse consumers. It was designed to resemble a leaf and that’s precisely how the device is pronounced. But the spelling could confuse some people and it’s not clear what a leaf has to do with a smart pill box anyway. Similar products have included Hi Pills, a pill dispenser box that also connected to iOS and Android devices.

Connected Objects Fashion

Dazln illuminating interactive fingernails nail a not-so-bright idea

Holiday attire can go one of two ways: either those dressing up do so elegantly, or they miss the mark completely. DazIn falls firmly in the latter category by being a chip containing cover for your nails that lights up when close to a device with NFC (near field communication). An embedded light blinks when close to your Android phone in an effort to add some holiday cheer to any situation, but all it will end up doing is provoke weird stares and questions for all the wrong reasons.

Although DazIn is waterproof, that does little to add to its desirability. The creators behind DazIn have priced a single nail at $10, but just don’t expect it to work with any model of the iPhone at all. Android phones with NFC are fair game, but it seems like an interesting design choice to not have it work with one of the most popular phones in the world. In any case, DazIn is looking for $10,000 to make this bizarre nail light show a reality. Backers can celebrate in time for Christmas with an estimated delivery date of December 2014.

Cell Phone Accessories Input

TOHKB offers an attachable keyboard for Jolla phones

The Jolla is a small open-source smartphone that uses the Sailfish OS, capable of running Android apps from a variety of app stores. Jolla’s modularity, both hardware and software-wise, is its biggest selling point, similar to how Google’s Project Ara is tackling the idea of smartphones that evolve over time. The Other Half is Jolla’s proprietary platform that allows for this modularity, and will eventually work to add and customize its hardware functionality. For now, though, it exists to give users the choice of backplate colors. With the most ambitious Other Half so far being an Angry Birds-themed one that offers a paint job and some custom sounds, the fervent user base has clamoring for more utility. That’s where the the Other Half Keyboard comes into play.

The Other Half Keyboard, or TOHKB for short, is a durable Other Half attachment for the Jolla that allows you to attach a fully customizable, LED-backlit keyboard. Users have the choice to leave the keyboard on or attach it at their own convenience. Either way, the keyboard can slide out in either direction, so users won’t have to worry about the phone’s orientation during use. The keyboard is spacious and tactile, and claims to offer a superior typing experience without the crowdedness of other keyboards, and users have the option of ordering a blank versions of the keyboard to engrave with a laser printer. TOHKB gives a lot of limelight to hotkey support as well, offering fully customizable hotkeys to improve interaction speed with the smartphone.

As promising as TOHKB looks, battery life is a smartphone user’s ultimate concern, and an Other Half for battery life might have more legs than a keyboard that isn’t strictly necessary. In any case, the campaign is looking for €55,000 (~$68,100) and at this point, each keyboard is going for €130 (~$160). Backers can expect theirs in April of 2015.

Connected Objects Music

Core multiroom speaker system claims superior audio separation

Streaming audio wirelessly may seem like an old concept, but in terms of audio fidelity, convenience, and uniform functionality across multiple devices, the technology is only really starting to blossom. With options like Play-Fi and AllPlay beginning to come into their own, devices like the Sonos are starting to set the standard in home audio.

The Core is a similar multiroom audio solution that takes into consideration how technology has grown around it and how to interact with it rather than alongside. With Wi-fi functionality, NFC phone syncing with the tap of the device, and even Bluetooth gesture control, the Core is loaded with features. It can also handle answering phone calls in any room as easily as it handles streaming music, and can be used to charge devices using its 12-hour battery and USB port.

In terms of audio, Core delivers a uniform acoustic bubble in its space, giving depth and presence to the sounds without the use of multiple speakers in a room. Like Bose and other high-quality home audio products, Core sets out to do more with one speaker than many audio systems can do with two or more. Mass Fidelity, the company responsible for the creation of Core are looking to raise $48,000 to amp up their tooling department to be able to handle the extra load of creating the Core. The Core costs $389 to pick up, but for those who want a little more bass, they’ve added a wireless subwoofer to the package as well for $229. Products will begin shipping out in March.

What’s great about the Core is not only does it offer clear, sharp audio that fills any space, but it does so with a space-saving design and comes loaded with convenient features. Audiophiles will be quick to notice and praise the power of this speaker. In terms of an actual user experience, Core seems far, far more convenient than many of its competitors when it comes to syncing devices with and using the product.

Cell Phone Accessories Wearables

NFC bracelet lets you get things started with leather

NFC bracelets are a quick and easy way to interact with smartphones and other devices to share information or interact with a specific feature, but they can be flimsy and don’t always look stylish. The NFC Leather Bracelet does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a leather bracelet with a button snap that contains three different NFC chips for multiple functions. The simple brown leather is more stylish than a neon silicone band, and the snap makes it easy to put on or remove, not to mention how much harder it is to break.

The three chips are located at different parts of the bracelet, so as to avoid accidental tripping of unwanted activity. Compatible with NFC software available on most major app stores, the Leather NFC Bracelet is easy to set up and easy to customize as needs change. The bracelet requires no batteries, and so it doesn’t ever need a charge. All orders are being custom-sized to fit any backer’s wrist. The NFC Leather Bracelet needs €1,600 (~$2,000) for supplies and packaging. A bracelet will be sent out in October 2014 for just €10 (~$12). It’s simple, but it gives owners function without sacrificing style.


Bat an eye at remembering long passwords with FiDELYS

fidelysDigital security is too big and too serious a problem to ignore. There have been several attempts at finding new ways to keep files and accounts safe, but nothing’s as readily available and effective as biometrics at this point. FiDELYS gives security-minded tech adopters more than just a way to keep things safe. Operating as a fully functional smartwatch with features like activity tracking and notifications, FiDELYS also includes an iris camera that can scan a user’s eyeball to grant access to any number of websites or applications. The details of the watch are a little glossed over in favor of the iris scan technology, but with something that incredible and flexible, it’s easy to understand why. FiDELYS is out January 2015 to backers who pledge $199.