HomeHalo router clips kids’ wings with parental controls

For pretty much everyone with access, the Internet is an indispensable part of our daily lives and facilitates more and more of it every single day. The second you become a parent, however, that same marvel immediately becomes a minefield for the little ones. It’s been a struggle for parents to figure out how best to filter the content available and limit the time kids spend on the Internet to protect their growing loved ones. Inventor Chris Gray went through this same dilemma, was ultimately dissatisfied with the options on the market, and created the HomeHalo to truly empower parents.

The combination router, cloud service, and iOS/Android app come together to create a simple system in which any parent, not only the technologically savvy ones, can have total control over their children’s Internet habits across all devices. HomeHalo separates from other products because it allows for different profiles for each child.  This way, younger tykes can have stricter filters and limits than, say, a 15-year-old.

The app will let parents approve or deny additional time requests, and review, approve, block, and whitelist Web sites in real time using push notifications. HomeHalo will also alert you if its hardware is being tampered with or turned off as well, letting you take action immediately. The HomeHalo campaign is pushing for a £30,000 (~$47,000) infusion. Those who are interested can grab a beta version with no fees ever for £75 (~$117), while a regular version goes for £140 (~$220). The device is estimated to be delivered by February 2015.

The HomeHalo is a promising little product built atop a categorization system that doesn’t strictly rely on DNS addresses, which greatly reduces the chances something like this will be bypassed. Even still, systems that try to limit and filter Internet time like the HomeHalo and box&rox are based on the assumption that kids will never figure out ways around them, underestimating the incredible tech savvy of young ones.

Cell Phone Accessories Connected Objects

Share Foil is the Swiss Army Knife of travel routers

When traveling, most people cross their fingers and hope for the best with hotel or public Wi-Fi, and more often than not it’s more of a headache than a convenience.

Share Foil is a portable wireless router that offers a wealth of features perfect for anyone away from home. As a router, Share Foil can create strong Wi-Fi signals for up to ten devices, and has enough power inside of it to charge a smartphone to full battery twice during its 10 hour battery lifespan. Share Foil also allows devices to store and open files or even stream media by uploading it to the router or using the SD card slot. Same slot can be used to take photos off of a camera and transfer them to smartphones for easy sharing while on the go, turning vacations photos into live social media updates.

With a USB 3G adapter, Share Foil can take 3G signals and convert them into Wi-Fi that any wireless device can use. If signals are weak, Share Foil can be placed closer to the router than the devices to act as a signal repeater, keeping smartphone and laptop usage convenient and comfortable. Share Foil does all of this and costs backers only $60, with delivery expected in October 2014. Made by Trend Power LLC, Share Foil is raising $30,000 to produce the app and make sure all production and manufacturing possibilities are considered.

Share Foil does a lot of tasks in one small device, so if packing space is limited, make sure there’s room for it at least. If only one of these features is needed, or needs to be done at the best possible quality, users will probably prefer a cheaper or more dedicated solution to their network dilemmas.

Home Tech Accessories

iGuardian puts a stop to suspicious data before it ever reaches your device

The Premise. When even executives of globally popular antivirus software companies are saying that antivirus technology is at a dead end, there’s a serious problem. Internet security is no less important, however, and while businesses have protection designed for their networks, home consumers ought to have a line of defense as well.

The Product. iGuardian is a device only slightly larger than a pack of gum that connects to the network before any other device and monitors the data going in and out from connected devices. Using the most recent security protocols and with the ability to be updated as necessary, iGuardian serves as an Internet doorman of sorts, keeping an eye out for threats and denying them any kind of access whatsoever. iGuardian is easier to set up than any kind of software firewall, just needing to be plugged into the same network that others are plugged into. From there, iGuardian can protect not only computers, but smart home appliances, smartphones, and any other products connected to the network.

The Pitch. Itus Networks, creator of the iGuardian, lament in their video the lack of home network security on the level of effectiveness that businesses utilize regularly. With the attitude of any engineer, Itus set out to bridge that gap and give individuals reliable digital security that doesn’t get in the way, explaining how the iGuardian works along the way. Itus needs $125,000 for software development, beta testing, and manufacturing.

The Perks. A single iGuardian can protect a home network for $129 and will be out in February 2015. Sets of 2 and 4 can be grabbed at the $280 and $500 tier levels respectively, while eager backers can get theirs as early as September 2014 thanks to a beta/prototype kit for $750.

The Potential. Network security can be a headache for a lot of reasons, especially without a computer strong enough to handle defending against attacks and running applications at the same time. Because iGuardian is a physical device that monitors data being sent and received at the point of entry, it allows for strong security, peace of mind, and simple setup without sacrificing processor power or access to favorite social media sites. The presentation is very basic and no-frills, but the freedom that iGuardian opens up is enough to brag about once the home network is free from threats of malware and data theft.

Connected Objects Kids/Babies

Turn Internet access into a game for your kids with Kudoso

kudosoGetting kids to unplug from their devices and go outside or study is one of the great struggles of the 21st century. Existing blocking or limiting solutions are inflexible and often require a parent on call in order to work correctly. Kudoso is a special router or firmware for existing routers that can be set up to track kids’ activities and reward them with access to their favorite websites and devices. With integration with Khan Academy educational material, kids can even agree to do some extracurricular studying in order to earn the points necessary to play video games or watch streaming TV shows. Access to Kudoso will open to backers in August and is available to those who pledge $89.

Smart Home

Soap cleans your home of extra devices with an Android tablet home hub

The Premise. A smart home control hub is great for giving access to all the connected devices in a house or apartment, but why shouldn’t the hub be able to do more than just give access? Why can’t it give control to devices, usage, security, or any other important aspect of a home network?

The Product. Soap is a powerful Android tablet that also doubles as a smart home hub and a full wireless router. Designed to over complete control over all connected devices in the home and the people who use them, Soap is built with functionality, security, and complete control in mind.

The Pitch. Soap’s campaign video is a bit of an understatement when it comes to the kind of flexible power the device actually offers. The video shows the device mostly as a control for connected amenities and accessories, but downplays Soap’s qualities as a fully-featured Android tablet or its ability to work with other Soap devices, something that really sets this device apart from others. Soap is raising $42,500 to complete testing and begin production. The campaign is also implementing an incentive scheme that allows backers to accrue credits toward a free product by sharing links with a personal code.

The Perks. The basic Soap Solo is available to backers who pledge $240. For $5 more, the device will be delivered two months earlier. (December 2014 compared to February 2015) At $250, a beta Soap Solo will be sent out in October. The Soap Dual, with a dual core processor is available at $280 (beta at $350), the quad-core Soap Quad starts at $360, and the Soap 8.4 with a larger 8.4 inch display and a quad-core processor starts at $500, with the beta version at $550. Higher tiers include multiple devices for setting up a whole home or more, with the highest tier coming with a boggling 100 Soap units.

The Potential. Soap seems like a great way to really integrate the wireless router, smart home hub, and control center into one neat, portable package. What keeps Soap from being redundant in both the tablet and smart hub markets is that it fully functions as both, simultaneously even. The processing power and ability for Soap units to create a more powerful mesh network when used in tandem allow for something that works as a great in-home tablet for watching movies, listening to music, or being productive providing you don’t move it from its fixed location. However, it just as easily lets you move that content around across other devices while simultaneously allowing users to turn off lights, change the thermostat, or notify kids to get ready for bed without interrupting usage. Soap may just be blending two great technological tastes into one concoction, but it’s doing so with the necessary horsepower to not cut any corners.