Connected Objects

Pixcil plus smartphone turns any surface into virtual whiteboard

editors-choiceInteractive whiteboards are convenient tools for people to use to draw and write on to communicate ideas with anybody else in the room at the same time as other people around the world. But they can be too expensive than the average person can afford.

Pixcil is an inexpensive digital pen that turns virtually any surface into a virtual whiteboard when used in conjunction with a smartphone. It captures writing and drawing in real time and stores the info in a secured database. From its accompanying app, users can invite people to view or write on the board, as well as make changes such as the color of the virtual pen being used to write.

Connected Objects Writing

Cronzy is a pen that lets you write with a rainbow

Several years ago, at least some of us thought it was a major achievement when manufacturers introduced pens that could write in more than just blue or black ink. They were a dream come true especially for kids, artists and teachers who no longer needed to carry around separate pens for writing and correcting mistakes on their students’ tests, term papers and homework.

Cronzy is a pen that goes many steps further than most multi-color pens because it can write in pretty much any color that any user would want and can even match scanned colors also. The pen is capable of writing in more than 16 million colors, its makers say. Its main mechanism is based on solenoid valves like those used in various other devices and the pen features a special algorithm for mixing colors.

Connected Objects Input

Phree lets you scribble on any surface, saves notes to your phone

editors-choiceWhat do Texas and mobile device interfaces have in common? Everything’s bigger there. Touch screens such as those in nearly every smartphone and tablet today set a new bar for ease of use. But their fingertip friendliness came at the price of precision compared to the mouse, which could pinpoint things on the screen.

patent-claimedPhree, however, takes a fresh approach to the idea of a pointing device for smartphones. Unlike other smart pens that work directly on the surface of the smartphone or on paper, Phree allows scribbling on virtually any surface and sends its output to the screen and is compatible with existing pen-aware applications.


Switch Port pioneers the write light

Here’s a rather clever idea for writing notes to self – or anyone else in the house for that matter. Switch Port is a light switch that functions like a small, dry-erase board. Users can write notes or reminders in a location that is easily seen and in full view every time the room is entered. The ink doesn’t get absorbed by the light switch because the surface is enameled in an epoxy. This product will be some easy installation using only a screwdriver. The screws are included with the product as well as the fine point dry erase type marker. It appears that the marker sits relatively securely on a small ledge at the top of Switch Port, but it might be a nice touch to add some Velcro or something that helps to keep the marker secure when not in use so that it doesn’t end up getting knocked to the floor or lost. The item comes in both single and double switch options, with the single being available for $12. Expected delivery is December 2014, and should arrive before the holidays.

Technology Writing

Lottery-picking Lucky Pen is a fat pen with fatter lies

Lucky penWould you like to win the lottery? Of course you would! Lucky Pen offers backers access to lucky numbers that will ensure they win! But how? That part isn’t readily available on the campaign, something about an algorithm, though it assures us that Lucky Pen really truly works. This fat pen should be used when writing on any lottery-type ticket. Reward tiers don’t offer the pen itself, but one does have the perk of wallpaper with the pen’s image printed on it. This Brazilian product is hoping to raise $40,000 on Indiegogo in 45 days, but it is unclear why the creator doesn’t just use the pen to win the lottery for extra funds.

Arts Maker/Development

Lix slims down the 3D scribbler to standard pen size

lixTech-addicted early adopters and stubbornly cautious pessimists can agree on one thing: the possibilities of 3D printing are awesome. Now, a 3D printing pen, Lix, allows artists to use melted and cooled plastics to draw three-dimensional objects in real time the same way a pen would be used. If this all sound familiar, that’s because the Lix follows closely in the footsteps of the successful 3Doodler, though the latter’s campaign trades silly doodles in for the trendy European art crowd. Either way, this device looks just as capable of handling 3D art of any kind, created easily and instantly brought to life. Lix leaves its mark on the art world in December 2014 for pledges of £82 or more.

Cell Phone Accessories Music

FretPen is an ink-slinging miniature guitar toy for practicing riffs

The Premise. Musicians have trouble spending time away from their instruments. But bulky instruments, especially guitars, aren’t very portable and cannot be left in cars or public places where they may be stolen. Those with busy lives who like making music are left with few options.

The Product. The FretPen allows traveling musicians to travel easier. This mini guitar has one string and uses an app and electronics to allow the user to make music on the go. With the iOS app, users can add effects to their music and play with either an acoustic or electric guitar sound. The FretPen is the size of a normal pen and even comes with a pen attachment so it really delivers on its name. This product uses Bluetooth technology to deliver wireless music to your smartphone. Using the app, the FretPen user can then edit the music they’ve made however they wish.

The Pitch. Fret’s video shows a rocker guy using the FretPen in transit which is a great example of the product’s versatility. The rest of the campaign shows screenshots of the app in action as well as the mechanics of the product. The creators use photos comparing the product to common objects to demonstrate how small it truly is. FretPen hopes to raise $35,000 in its 30-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. For early-bird rockers, FretPen will cost $99 at the “Front Row” price or $119 at the “Second Row” price. The regular or “Main Floor” pricing is $129. Reward tiers go up to $1,499 and all have an estimated delivery date of November 2014.

The Potential. FretPen is a small, fun and easy way for musicians to make music while they’re touring or even just at their day jobs. Of course, it won’t match up to an actual guitar, but seems to be able to do a decent job at creating some cool music. We’ve seen guitars that hook up to smartphones and tablets in the past, like the IGI Smart Guitar and the relatively portable Jamstik, but none so tiny and wireless as the FretPen. This product is perfect for amateur guitarists or busy rock ‘n’ rollers and will certainly find success in the smartphone-meets-guitar market.


Hmm Rule/One ruler marries the rigid with the write

Hmm Rule/OneDesigners, architects and construction workers all need three essential things to do their jobs: a pen, paper and ruler. Hmm Rule/One combines two of these things in one. This compact aluminum 13cm long ruler comes with a built-in pen. The ruler fits well inside of any notebook or comes with an attachment that makes it easy to wear around. One of these two-in-one tools goes for a somewhat imposing $45 donation with an estimated delivery date of July 2014. Higher reward tiers come with different choices of color. Hmm Rule/One hopes to raise $20,000 in its 43-day run on Kickstarter.

Cell Phone Accessories Input Tablet Accessories

Bpen makes a stand with a stylus

The Premise. Touch screens devices are all the rage these days. The only problem? You have to touch them, leaving behind messy fingerprints on every phone and tablet. Also, as smartphones and tablets become capable of more and more, it’s become increasingly necessary to prop them up. It’s much easier to Skype, play games, send e-mails and many other things if both hands are free and the tablet or phone is upright.

The Product. Bpen really is much more than a pen as its slogan claims. It’s a multi-use tool that works for almost every smart phone and tablet out there. Bpen is a regular pen, a stylus that can be used on touch screens, and a stand for tablets and smart phones. It may just julienne potatoes as well. It’s made out of aluminum and comes in six different colors. The pen comes with the option of buying a base to help it function better as a stand (though the base isn’t entirely necessary outside of the car). Part of the pen folds out and plugs into the headphone jack to provide stability as a stand. In addition, Bpen’s creators have come up with a mini Bpen, lightweight enough to attach to a keychain.

The Pitch. Bpen’s Kickstarter campaign shows a video of the Bpen in action, displaying its wide range of uses. The rest of the campaign details how the idea for Bpen was conceived, as well as how the idea was developed. Lior Avrahami, Bpen’s creator, is looking to raise a modest $5,000 on Kickstarter for his product in a 40-day stretch.

The Perks. A minimum of $15 will get the backer two of the mini keychain Bpens. From there, an early bird special of a $25 donation is rewarded with two Bpens. Going up to $50, the backer will receive a set of Bpens and two bases as well. With each tier, the backer can choose which color their Bpens will come in. In addition, some tiers have the added perk of getting ink refills for their pens. Avrahami predicts that pens will be received by backers in April, which, given his experience with the factory he uses, is realistic.

The Potential. There are a lot of styli and stands out there for smartphones and tablets. Other dual stylus/pens exist, such as the lovely Wacom Bamboo Stylus Duo found here, but none quite so Batman that they also act as stands. One drawback of Bpen is that when the stand is in use, it renders the headphone jack unusable. Other than that, Bpen should be a handy accessory to draw upon.