Music Technology

JamBlaster lets anyone anywhere join together with the band

Playing music with someone is not only a fun and creative activity, but it also brings people closer together. Unfortunately, unless the people playing are actually in the same room, it’s almost impossible to jam out together.

The JamBlaster is one solution to this problem. Using an input device that connects instrument to computer, musicians are able to play their music to a Web site called JamKazam. This allows Mac or PC users to video chat with other musicians and play their music in real time. This way, everyone can hear what the other is playing and it’s super fast so there’s no lag.

JamBlaster’s campaign has some great examples of how well this product works, showing musicians in four different locations making music together. The whole concept of the ease of “plug and play”, as the campaign refers to it, is especially appealing to those who don’t feel like mucking around with software in order to get great sound. Interested backers can have their own for $199 by August 2015. JamBlaster is looking for $100,000 in funding.

Connected Objects Sensors/IoT

VERVE2 lets you assemble your own Internet of Things like LEGOs

The Premise. The Internet of Things is garnering a lot of attention and excitement, and rightfully so. Just as getting people connected online revolutionized communication and information, connecting objects online stands poised to change what people expect from their appliances and tools.

The Product. VERVE2 is an easily programmable, highly customizable family of sensors that allow users to give any item a degree of online functionality. Detecting touch, light, heat, or motion, VERVE2 can be clipped or affixed to anything and then programmed to interact with computer programs or Web sites to create new and exciting functions.

The Pitch. The very first words for the VERVE2 campaign call it the “LEGOs of the future,” and this sort of do-anything approach is what the video and campaign material strive to portray. In the video, viewers see everything from a DIY burglar alarm to a greeting card turned into an automatic tweet whenever someone is thinking of a loved one and touches the card. VERVE2 creators inXus interactive are hoping to raise $10,000 for manufacturing and assembly. At $50,000 dollars, backers who get at least 7 sensors will also receive a sheet of Velostat to make touch panels of any shape or size.

The Perks. Getting started with VERVE2 only takes a pledge of $45 to get one connecter cable, the hub, a light sensor, and a flash drive with the required software. A pack with seven sensors goes for $89, with a light sensor, button, touch sensor, turn sensor, motion sensor, DIY sensor, and magnetic sensor. Finally, the $160 tier level includes 2 of each of the aforementioned sensors, plus temperature sensors, force sensors, and loudness sensors. All perks are expected to deliver out in November.

The Potential. Just by how easy the VERVE2 system is to set up and tweak to accomplish different tasks, it’s an incredible way to bring the power of connecting objects to the Internet to even the most average end user. That being said, from a practicality standpoint, the system may not be as flexible as promised, offering a lot of options to use, but not a lot of outstanding features that would be intuitive to many. The creative and curious will derive a great sense of joy from getting their hands (and fingers, and voices, and lights) on VERVE2, but for the person who just wants something they can plug in and use to make their lives easier, VERVE2 might not be the right buy. This sort of real-world physical programming has been put out before with products like Ninja Blocks, but being able to turn any object into computer input is what makes VERVE2 an exciting alternative.

Connected Objects Tech Accessories

Tego lets you plug into simple online privacy

The Premise. It seems everything done on the Internet is recorded and logged, either through malware, viruses, or even just data mining done by major websites to compile a complete profile on users to as to create more effective advertising. The one thing everyone seems to agree on is that digital privacy is a serious issue going forward.

The Product. Tego is a small, simple box that plugs into any outlet and pairs up with any device on a network. From there, that device can be used to control access to other devices, from laptops to phones or anything else. Then Tego gets to work guarding files, making all web activity anonymous, and controlling who has access to what files and when. Tego basically serves as a traffic light that allows the right users and services through while stopping unauthorized or unwanted access  for good.

The Pitch. Using the tried-and-true method of the disembodied hand drawing all the graphics necessary to show off the device, Tego developer Matchupbox really drives home the importance of digital privacy and how its little box makes it all possible. Though sadly there are no demonstrations of Tego in action, the explanation makes it sound simple enough for anybody to set up confidently and quickly. More diagrams follow in the additional campaign materials, getting into the nitty-gritty of just what Tego does and why it’s necessary to use. Matchupbox needs $100,000 to finish tooling, testing, and assembly of the devices.

The Perks. The Tego system should be out to backers at the end of this year, and can be purchased for $149. A personal engraving can be made on the Tego at the $299 level, and a two-pack of Tego is available for $399.

The Potential. Computer safety and privacy is a somewhat contentious issue because for every advancement in security, there comes a push from both sides of the issue to try and break it. Both unscrupulous parties and security-minded experts determined to know just how safe something is go all in on trying to break the latest and largest lock. Tego could be another casualty in this battle but perhaps more importantly, doesn’t necessarily bring anything new to the field. Private networks already exist and can be configured to suit any user’s needs, although the process of doing so can be difficult for the end user. For those that want security without learning advanced techniques, Tego is a great solution. Others may be better served with other means.