Connected Objects Fitness

Acton RocketSkates lets your smartphone see just how you roll

The Premise. Most sporting gear operates as simple machinery like the bicycle, skateboard or rollerblades. More recently, many have added motors and power to transportation device to give them some extra oomph. Even more recently, there have been a slew of accessories designed to go with these products that connect via Bluetooth to apps making them smarter. It is easier than ever to zoom to one’s destination and have detailed data about the trip.

The Product. Acton RockSkates are smart motorized skates that fit right over your shoes. Once they’ve been powered on, simply push off and the motors will take over to propel you forward. For accelerating, lean forward and for braking or stopping, put your heel down. This means that the rider has complete control over the motor without the hassle of a remote. These skates are gray and red and are slightly bulky. With an app and Bluetooth connection, the skater can track their route and mileage as well as the progress of other Acton RocketSkaters in the area. 

The Pitch. Acton’s campaign starts off with a video of a ton of hipsters skating around L.A. with some funky music playing in the background. The creator then hops on to explain how his product works and what he needs funding for. For the remainder of the campaign, technical specs are discussed and a long list of praising quotes show the public’s adoration for the product. Acton is looking to raise $50,000 in a 45-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. Early-birds can enjoy several discounted tiers at $199, $249 or $399. At a regular price, a pair of R-6 RocketSkates complete with accoutrements will cost backers a donation of $499 with estimated delivery in October 2014.

The Potential. Acton RocketSkates take the best of motorized transportation and app capabilities. While the skates themselves aren’t super stylish, their remote-less power is certainly desirable. Other sporting products offer power, like the Baja Board, but not many are smart as well. While the app seems interesting, there’s a lot more the creators can do with it, like adding fitness data or even perhaps an interactive map of the best routes through town for those wearing the skates. Still, the Acton RocketSkates are an exciting, futuristic addition to the sporting market and will certainly be worn by many power-hungry fitness buffs.

Cycling Personal Transportation

Electric Urban Nomad bike cart will push Europeans around

Urban NomadMany people use bicycles as their main mode of transportation. The one thing that bikes seriously lack, however, is the power and cargo space that a car can provide. Introducing the Urban Nomad, a detachable cart for the back of your bike complete with a motor. It provides lots of extra space to cart around groceries and other purchases or cargo. With this extra boost, cyclists can travel up to 25 kph. One of these Belgian products will cost backers living in the EU $900 USD, which isn’t bad for the equivalent of an e-bike conversion kit that comes with a bit of storage. Urban Nomad hopes to raise $20,000 USD on Indiegogo.

Tech Accessories

USBCondom cuts off serially transmitted diseases for safe charges in strange ports

usb-condomThere are days, and even nights, when the business of life just distracts a person from making sure that their gadget is fully charged before leaving home. The only problem with charging at work or a friend’s house or perhaps a public charging station is the threat of unintended data share, or worse, malware or hijacked data. So USBCondom was designed to allow gadgets to be charged safely by cutting off the data pins in the USB cable and allowing only the power pins to connect through. The safety tool looks like it could if could beef up its own resilience with a better enclosure, though. For $10, backers get one product with an expected ship date of July 2014.


SunJack panels fold out to soak in a lot of solar energy

SunJackThey always say that it’s not good to leave your devices out in the sun. Now, it’s actually good for them! SunJack harnesses solar power to charge your iPhone or iPad. This black case comes in two wattages, 14 and 20, to charge several devices at once with only a few hours of sun. The SunJack isn’t the first crowdfunded product to harness our favorite star to charge out gadgets, but is definitely among the most powerful of these to date. The 14W version costs $100 and the 20W costs $200. SunJack has a $33,000 goal in a 33-day Kickstarter campaign.

Personal Transportation

No hoverboard, no problem: Baja Board would leave it in the dust

bajaboardEver long for more speed when riding a skateboard or longboard? The BajaBoard combines the basic structure of a skateboard with a little bit more umph under the deck. This powered device can reach a speed of up to 50 km/hr and has a power rating of 1,200W with a 3,000W motor. Shock absorbers like those found on a mountain bike guarantee a smooth ride. One of these Aussie made products costs backers a whopping base price of $3,850 AUD with rising prices once the early tiers are gone with an estimated delivery date of December 2014. BajaBoard needs to raise $200,000 AUD on Kickstarter in a 30-day campaign.

Tech Accessories

TwistVolt shrugs at plugs, twists to accommodate wall warts and USB cables

editors-choiceThe Premise. Power cords are almost always dysfunctional. They look messy and can’t fit too many plugs at once. It’s almost impossible to find a power strip that is actually well-made or useful without several big drawbacks.

The Product. TwistVolt provides a “new twist on the power strip”. This clever product twists and turns so that each plug doesn’t sit right next to the other if desired. Using several triangle formations, each outlet is accessible and the strip can be used to its full potential. In addition, fancier versions of the TwistVolt come with USB ports. LED lights are also featured in this product, making it look very cool. Part of the allure of TwistVolt is that it is a power strip that you won’t want to hide.

The Pitch. This is not TwistVolt’s first time at the crowdfunding dance, having had a campaign at Dragon Innovation last November. The video for this revamped power cord shows how it stacks up against its competition and also how many different devices can be plugged into it. The rest of the campaign features the various ways that TwistVolt can be configured, including hexagonal and zigzag shapes. Michael Schroeder, the Bostonian creator of this product, has set a whopping $125,000 goal for this product in his 30-day Kickstarter campaign.

The Perks. For $49, backers can enjoy the TwistVolt standard which includes five outlets and an integrated circuit breaker. One TwistVolt with two USB ports and LED backlit side panels goes for $89. Two other TwistVolt versions with four USB ports and eight USB ports costs backers $99 and $129 respectively. Reward tiers go all the way up to $2,900 with estimated delivery dates of December 2014.

The Potential. Without a doubt, one of the main competitors for the TwistVolt would be the crowdsourced PivotPower by Quirky, that company’s greatest success story. There have also been other solutions to the challenge of wall wart proliferation. Particularly with its LED lighting option, TwistVolt truly looks cool, even with a bunch of cords sticking out of it, and the way it bends makes traveling much easier. While a little expensive particularly for the high-power USB versions, the TwistVolt could make up some of ithave USB s expenses because they customers may not need to buy a USB-to-wall outlet converter. All in all, this product combines the best parts of functionality, design and innovation in an item that we use every single day.