Connected Objects

The Like-o-Meter gives Facebook updates the thumbs up

By now, Facebook has become a part of normal, everyday life for 1.7 billion people and businesses around the world, a testament to the company’s original vision of connecting the globe. Still, people who use Facebook fall into two camps: those for whom it plays a very cursory role, and those for whom Facebook is an essential part of their social and professional lives.

For the latter, the idea of more wholly integrating the Facebook experience into their real-world isn’t one that scares them, which is why the Like-o-Meter is a campaign that would appeal to them. It brings the well-known ‘Like’ icon into the real-world, wirelessly connecting to a user’s Facebook account and physically moving its high-quality plastic thumb to signal a fresh like.

Cell Phone Accessories

The Glowme smartphone case makes every notification a light show

The rise of the smartphone has been accompanied by the many useful — and not so useful — accessories. Whatever their value, people still scoop them all up, prompting half-hearted inventors and passionate pursuers of innovation to create new add-ons in the chase for profits.

An accessory that lands itself firmly in the former category is the Glowme, a silicon smartphone case outfitted with an RGB LED strip housing 20 individual lights. Using the Glowme app, these lights can be customized to light up in whatever way a user wants, from an incoming call, an upcoming turn while driving, or even the music being played. It can also be used as an RGB flashlight or a multi-LED flash for photos, all while using “minimal” battery life. 

Connected Objects

With Tootz, your digital life has never been more colorful

The one thing the world so desperately needs isn’t electric cars, robotic servants/eventual overlords, or even to get to Mars. What the world really needs are unicorns. The more, the better. The critical lack of unicorns prancing around the grasslands of the world has always been a troubling sign of things gone awry. Luckily, Tootz the Unicorn is here to shower our reality with the rainbows disturbingly absent from everyday life.

As is common knowledge, unicorn rainbows don’t just appear out of thin air but rather the magical backsides of these wondrous creatures. Tootz the Unicorn is no exception: every time a Facebook, Twitter, Twitch, or Gmail notification comes through to a smartphone or web browser, multicolored joy billows out from the enchanted deity’s rear end.

Imaging Wearables

Tribble is a wearable wunderkind for your place, person or plane

editors-choiceAll the devices required for a connected daily life make things
better. Unfortunately, many of them need to be constantly monitored as well. Notifications can add up, making things much harder later on when addressing 400 emails or 1,200 group text messages. So, it’s important to stay on top of it all; a little help couldn’t hurt.

The Tribble is a connected, wearable companion aiming to be an all-in-one intermediary between a user and their smartphone or other devices. Its small, round body is made of stainless steel for durability and houses a 2.0GHz Quad-Core AR Cortex A9 processor along with 1GB of RAM. This powers a combination of LED touchscreen, 1080p video camera, and motion sensors for the Tribble wide array of functionality.

Cell Phone Accessories Connected Objects Displays

The popSLATE 2’s E-Ink screen displays iPhone notifications and content with less power

The original popSLATE promised to ween smartphone users off the compulsion of checking their home screen for updates. To do so, the popSLATE’s E-Ink screen was built into an iPhone case, connecting via Bluetooth to act as a lower power second screen. In the end, the case proved to be less than useful and its 115 dpi screen managed to be an eyesore that got in the way of it truly being practical.

This year, the popSLATE team is back with the popSLATE 2, the sequel to the original second screen E-Ink case. This time, the case uses a Lightning connector to interface with an iPhone 6, 6S, 6+, and 6S+. This not only allows the popSLATE 2 to charge more easily (the last one used a micro-USB cable) but talk directly with the apps on the phone for greater functionality. Through its upgraded 200 dpi E-Ink screen, the popSLATE 2 facilitates everything from news updates and weather notifications to social feeds and loyalty cards, all of which are easily visible on customizable dashboards no matter how bright it is outside due to E-Ink’s naturally anti-glare properties.


Eyecatcher E-Ink wearable blends jewelry and tech with fashionable results

editors-choiceThe intersection of technology and fashion has long been a wave bound to crash, and crash it has. Wrist-worn wearables are by far the most popular, with Android smartwatches, the Apple Watch, and a bevy of bands worn for the well-being of various facets of the body all vying for dominance.

Looksee Labs has a different conception of what a wearable should be, and its Eyecatcher is the example. The five-inch e-ink display wraps completely around the wrist, displaying everything from images to patterns to text messages to Twitter feeds. Unfortunately, that display isn’t a touch interface, so a companion iOS app is required to control the bangle. Through it, users can upload photos, specify what types of notifications are desired, and generally tinker with the wearable’s settings.

Connected Objects

Noteu Wi-Fi display lets you know you have a message and not much else

Thanks to the Internet, there has never been a more abundant supply of information so freely available. As beneficial as this abundance is, the sheer amount can quickly become overwhelming without efficient methods of consuming it all. Smartphones do an amazing job of keeping up with the many Web sites and services people use every day to communicate, but sometimes there’s a desire for more passive notification, particularly among iPhone and Android holdouts.

For those times, the Wi-Fi connected Noteu smart clock helps out by constantly streaming information. Besides being a customizable alarm clock, the product uses widgets to push Facebook messages, tweets, e-mails, and RSS updates. In addition, IFTTT support lets users create custom alerts tailored specifically for them, such as shipping and stock updates. A single Noteu will run $133, with an expected ship date of September 2015. The campaign is aiming for $14,919 in funding.

This campaign marks the fourth go around for young inventor Jack Trowbridge, signifying a process of iteration that has led to Noteu’s current model. However, when compared to competing products like DISPLIO, it still falls short. It’s clunky, isn’t context-sensitive, and just doesn’t do enough especially considering it doesn’t seem like a user can act on any of the notifications from the device. IFTTT support expands its capabilities immensely, though, and may be its saving grace.


Stay updated on weather, messages, and the test with Pixsso E Ink connected display

With so much information living within the many apps residing in smartphones and tablets, it can sometimes be difficult to get a firm grip on it all. Notifications keep information flowing constantly bombarding screens and lessening the importance of each new alert, piece of news, or message from a loved one, making them just another vibration.

Changing the context of the information can help, which is an approach that the Pixsso is attempting with their connected E Ink display. The 4.4″, always-on display can stick to pretty much any surface—be it wall, desk, or calendar—and provide customized bits of information that are set by a companion iOS or Android app. While the display itself may be a little bland, the benefit of using E Ink in combination with Bluetooth LE is the six month battery life that it claims, allowing Pixsso to fade into the background when not in use.

E Ink is a versatile and highly effective display medium to help facilitate the information that people are awash in, even if it may be too understated for some. There’s something to be said for these sorts of displays that aren’t garish or attention-seeking. Pixsso is a passable interpretation of this sort of this display, but with products like DISPLIO and Vikaura that offer more functionality in prettier packages (at around the same cost), Pixsso is facing a difficult market space.

A single Pixsso display can be had for $149. The $45,000 campaign is looking to ship the product in October of this year.

Lighting Music

BROOGS Smart Lamp charges devices, plays music, and lights the way with portable lantern

The beauty of the new, connected world slowly being forged is the transformation of ordinary parts of the home that are taken for granted into dynamic, living devices that can be interacted with in so many new ways. With this in mind, BROOGS has taken the humble lamp and pumped it full of interesting ideas.

The BROOGS Smart Lamp is minimalist and elegant in every way. The use of touch controls on the slickly curved device itself eliminates the presence of protruding buttons, while the portable LED lantern docked within gently lights surroundings. USB ports on its side allow users to charge their devices, and hiding within is a Bluetooth speaker that can interface with an iOS or Android device to stream music. It doesn’t only use the Bluetooth connection for sound, but also to push notification alerts from a device to the lamp, expressing them with the more than 16 million colors and the limitless combinations they that the lamp can create. A white BROOGS Smart Lamp is now $150, which is $49 off what it will be priced for retail.

The BROOGS Smart Lamp is a sleek addition to any home. The quantity of color combinations is mind boggling, and those who like reading before bed will find the gentle light much more soothing the harsh light of a ceiling light or tablet screen. Other interesting takes on smart lamps include the LIVING Room Lamp and LumiSmart, the latter being almost an assistant in the way it recognizes a routine after some time. When compared to other offerings on the market, the BROOGS Smart Lamp has looks, but lacks other factors that could truly separate it from everything else.

The $50,000 campaign is looking to raise its funding by March 13, and expects to ship the product in May of this year.

Health and Wellness Wearables

ECHO H2 smart patch accurately monitors body with Bluetooth

It’s now a well-known fact that the wrist isn’t the best place for fitness tracking. Between most devices unable to know the difference between walking and typing and the inaccurate relationship between steps taken and calories burned most rely on, this isn’t entirely surprising.

Instead of relying on the limited information supplied by the wrist, Kenzen’s ECHO H2 uses a person’s own sweat to more accurately glean all sorts of information from the body, from heart rate to calorie intake and burn. Since the measurements are based on biochemical processes, the results are way more accurate; it’s like having a lab nearby at all times.

The ECHO H2 is notable because it takes the form of a wireless smart patch that uses medical grade adhesive to comfortably stick to a person’s calf or abdomen for up to a week straight. Over this time, it continuously monitors aspects of the body’s functions, alerting users with buzzes and sounds when they should ease up to avoid overtraining.

Although it uses Bluetooth LE to connect with a smartphone, it fortunately isn’t necessary to bring one along, a death knell to a lot of other fitness trackers. The ECHO H2 itself stores data that later can be synced with the robust mobile app, which offers capabilities like custom notifications, reporting, and team tracking. For $89, backers will receive 20 reusable and disposable patches along with a fully unlocked mobile app, expected to ship on July 2015. The campaign is looking for $75,000.

The ECHO H2 is extremely similar to the LEO in that they both keep an eye on user’s activity through sweat, but the LEO is a lot bigger than the tiny ECHO H2. With the LEO being reusable, though, it bodes much better for the environment when compared to the ECHO H2’s disposable nature. Both are technologically impressive, and gym rats and fitness freaks will be interested.