Lumen skips the add-ons, lights up the whole bike frame

lumenAs bike safety becomes more and more of a concern for car-haters, the market has become filled with safety lighting devices for riding at night like Revolights. Lumen puts a spin on safety lighting and offers a completely reflective bicycle that glows at night. This retro looking bike offers style, function and safety in one product. For a single-speed Lumen, backers must shell out $1,245 with an estimated delivery date of July 2014. These San Franciscan creators offer multi-speed bikes at higher reward tiers. Lumen hopes to raise $15,000 in its 30-day Kickstarter campaign.


GlassXPro puts headlights on the head for nighttime romps

GlassxproEver need light at night, but need your hands free at the same time? Introducting GlassXPro, a pair of glasses with bright LED lights attached, making nighttime rummaging or traveling all the easier. GlassXPro joins the safety market, with tons of other lighting devices designed to make you more visible at night, like Vega Edge lights. One setback of wearing glasses with lights is that the rider can’t wear their prescription glasses if necessary. A pair of these luminous glasses goes for $25 on Kickstarter with an estimated delivery date of May 2014. The glasses creators hope to raise $8,000 in a 30-day campaign.

Health and Wellness Kids/Babies Luggage and Bags

BulletSafe Backpack Panel offers protection from gunfire

BulletSafe Backpack Panel  20140304102701-Backpack-Panel-and-Insert[1]It seems a wild notion to write about a bullet-safe panel that kids can put in their backpack for protection, but interest in such a product is a sad consequence of what was once unthinkable. That being said, the BulletSafe Backpack Pannel is made of the same bulletproof material that police and others in security use for bullet proof vests. Kids just pack it in their backpack right along with their books. As long as schools don’t make them store their backpacks in their lockers, it might just save some lives. For $89 — a bit less than similar options  — a backer gets one product with an expected delivery of April 2014.

Kids/Babies Smartwatches/Bands

hereO tracking watch keeps rugrats on your radar

The Premise. The world is a much different place than it was even 50 years ago. Where older generations may have spent all day outside the house, roaming the city and having adventures, many parents are concerned about their kids’ safety or just want to know their whereabouts.

The Product. Children wearing the hereO GPS watch can have their location tracked and monitored live using the companion app for up to 72 hours. The bright, colorful watch was designed with children in mind and fits many smaller size wrists that other GPS units won’t. Each watch is fully water-resistant and features its own SIM card for roaming-free tracking in over 40 countries.

The Pitch. In the promotional video, the hereO team explains their mission goal and shows off some of what the watch can do. In addition to live monitoring and tracking, alerts can be set up for specific locations like school or friends’ houses to let parents know when children arrive and leave. Seeing the hereO work with children of all ages is enough to pique the interest of most parents. The campaign needs $100,000 to complete work on the different apps and to begin mass manufacturing.

The Perks. One challenge of some kid trackers, such as the thoughtfully designed FiLiP available at AT&T, is the need for another cellular subscription. hereO backers can save $50 off the retail price by making a pledge of at least $99 and receive a hereO watch with six months of subscription fees paid. Higher tiers are available for batch orders and distributors, and at the highest $1,000 tier, backers can design their very own hereO watch.

The Potential. The concept behind the hereO watch is certainly one any parent can get behind, and the design and size are ideal for children, unlike other personal GPS locators. However, the safety messaging behind the device is negated by how simply the watch can be removed, either at the hands of a predator or the child itself. While the former seems unlikely based on its seemingly innocuous design, the latter seems almost inevitable as children are likely to fiddle with any accessory. This just serves as further proof that no device is a substitute for vigilant supervision.

Apparel Wearables

The Back-Off: Personal safety apparel accessories light up your life

Welcome to The Back-Off, where Backerjack contributors weigh in on two or more products being crowdfunded concurrently.

What. Night visibility for pedestrians isn’t just for Halloween anymore. Whether it’s a bicyclist coming home from a night out or just a pedestrian out for a midnight stroll, it can be life-threatening if a motorist doesn’t notice them under cover of night. Enter the Halo Belt 2.0 and Adamas Light, two products designed to combine sci-fi fashion and modern day safety.

Why. While the Halo Belt 2.0 presents its personal light as a strap that can be attached around any surface, the Adamas Light is more of a vest that is worn around the upper torso. Adamas has a large glowing green diamond on the back with four reflective strips framed by utility pockets. The Halo Belt is a little more fashion-forward with a single strip of light the length and width of one half of the strap’s circumference. The Halo Belt light is available in several colors, can be set to blink, and is USB rechargeable. On the other hand, the Adamas runs on 3 AAA batteries, offering longer usage time at the cost of requiring external batteries. The Halo Belt 2.0 is sent to backers pledging a minimum of $35, $10 less than the minimum pledge for the Adamas. Neither campaign offers much more in the way of more extravagant reward tiers or stretch goals.

When. The Adamas Light vest beat the Halo Belt 2.0 to Kickstarter by just a day. Adamas is running a 35-day campaign slated to end April 1st,  while the Halo Belt will be raising money until April 27th. Even though they were second to the party, Halo Belt 2.0s are scheduled to ship in July, one month before the Adamas Light.

Winner. There’s something to be said for the consistency of the Adamas vest, However, in terms of style, versatility, convenience, and even price, the Halo Belt 2.0 seems to be smarter choice. The strap design looks less intrusive than the Adamas vest, and the team also has the experience of running a successful Kickstarter campaign with the previous Halo Belt model, which should put any fear of a mismanaged project to rest.


Revolights present a longer, safer bicycle taillight

The Premise. As the eco-movement continues to grow, cyclists become more an more numerous, opting to travel in an environmentally-friendly way instead of using their cars all the time. The only problem is that the safety-movement hasn’t really stepped up to this new influx of cyclists. As a result, drivers and cyclists in the U.S. are still not very adept at sharing the road, which can result in accidents.

The Product. Revolights offers up one more way to improve the safety of cyclists and drivers alike. Instead of dinky blinky lights that most cyclists use, Revolights are long lights that act as the front and back fender to a bike. This current campaign is only for the taillight. If the bike already has fenders, there is a special mount that can be used to attach the arc light to the fender. By detecting the rotating speed of the wheel, an additional brake light is activated when the cyclist’s speed slows suddenly. The Revolights arc light comes with different modes, blinking or not, with a red taillight. The arc light runs on a battery that has eight hours of life and charges in a USB port.

The Pitch. This campaign marks a third go at Kickstarter for Revolights, the Bay Area creators of which show off its product in a video featuring different cyclists riding around at night. It’s especially interesting to see how the brake light comes in when necessary. In addition, the video shows newer features that will be offered soon, including turn signals. Revolights hopes to raise $100,000 in its 54-day campaign.

The Perks. Backers can enjoy the Revolights Arc taillight for $69 at the early-bird price. Regularly priced, the taillight will go for $79 and the light which includes its own fender goes for $109. Reward tiers go up to $629 with an estimated delivery date of October 2014. Revolights talks about having stretch goals in the future for turn signals, but have not actually set them yet.

The Potential. Bike taillights as they exist now are easily mistaken for other things. Most bike headlights and taillights are mismatched, offering a huge headlight with an inadequately sized taillight. This large arced light is much safer because of its size and position partially outlining the wheel, signaling to drivers that they are approaching a bike. The closest product to Revolights right now is the Serfas Thunderbolt USB Taillight, simply because it charges with a USB, but compared to the arc light, the Thunderbolt looks much too small. All in all, while the price of Revolights is rather high, the safety that it offers is worth ponying up for.

Cell Phone Accessories Connected Objects Watches and Jewelry Wearables

Cuff signals stylish connected piece of mind at the touch of a button

The Premise. When you aren’t with your loved ones, sometimes the worst possibilities run through your mind. Some people use GPS tracking applications to know where there friends are safe, but if they become detached to their phone, they have no way of signaling for help. Wouldn’t it be nice to always have a guaranteed peace of mind that your loved one is safe?

The Product. Cuff is a line of products that look like sophisticated and fashionable jewelry, but inconspicuously hides a wide range of safety features. If your partner is in distress, they simply press a button on their jewelry, and everyone in their circle of close ones receives their location and other information they need to get you help. The current line has products such as necklaces, keys, and of course, cuffs.

The Pitch. Why can’t all Web sites be like this? The graphic design is flawless, the animations are smooth, the pictures are crisp—it all makes the information very easy to take in and absorb. The presentation beams with confidence in the product, and that makes the consumer (or me, at least) confident in their purchase. Oh yeah, their video also looks like high-quality cinematography at moments as well. The pitch is just a wonderful concoction of emotion, credibility, and logic.

The Perks. Currently, Cuff’s line of products are only available for pre-order. As mentioned, there are a variety of options that can range from $50-$150. It depends on what style fits your wardrobe and your fashion, but there are plenty of reasonable options. The Cuff products are expected to be distributed in Fall 2014.

The Potential. Fashion is such an individual thing that it may be challenging to find a Cuff design that will appeal to everyone. However, Cuff is less overbearing and obvious than other tracking applications but provides state of mind that alternative apps do. The only hinderance is the remaining fear that some people may have about privacy in regards to location devices.

Cycling Video

Blinking Fly6 bikecam lets tailing motorists know they’re being watched

The Premise. For those who bike to commute or just for fun, laws and convenience tie them to the same streets that cars speed down. Every intersection is an accident waiting to happen, every passing car might not notice the cyclist doing his best to move with traffic beside him. As a result, cyclists are constantly in fear of something much faster and heavier than they forcing them off the road.

The Product. The Fly6 is a combination LED taillight/HD camera that clips right to the seat post and can record the traffic behind for up to 5 hours. The philosophy behind this design is that it will alert motorists to cyclists, and at the same time let them know they are being recorded should they try to do anything dangerous or reckless. Every Fly6 comes with a USB-rechargeable lithium ion battery and an 8GB microSD card.

The Pitch. Introducing the Fly6 are Australian inventors Andrew Hagen and Kingsley Fiegert. Kingsley explains that the inspiration for the device came about when a car full of inconsiderate young people pulled up beside him in a motorcycle and shot him point blank with a slingshot, nearly causing him serious injury. Shocked by the incident, he forgot to take down the license plate number. A number of demonstrations are shown, illustrating the taillight strobe and the camera recording functions, as well as how the current model is waterproof. At the end, the two cleverly reveal that the entire video was shot using a Fly6, illustrating its quality. Andrew and Kingsley are asking for $95,000 AUD to finalize the design, streamline the software, patent the device, and more.

The Perks. $119 AUD ($15 AUD to ship outside of Australia) is all it takes to get a Fly6, delivered in May 2014. A special white model is available for slightly more. At the highest, $399 AUD tier,  backers will be shipped a prototype in March with free shipping, to test out and provide feedback before the finished product launches, which they will also receive.

The Potential. The Fly6 could be to cyclists what the insurance dashboard camera is for Russian motorists. Not only does it provide a real safety need, but it could lead to a new generation of viral videos as one of the promo videos hints.

Automotive Connected Objects

Truvolo plugs in to vehicle diagnostics

The Premise. Technology is fabulous. Alas, we still do not have flying cars, but if we do you can bet they’ll be connected to our smartphones. In the meantime, car manufacturers are focused on connecting gravity-bound automobiles.

The Product. Truvolo is a small device which plugs into your car’s data port along with a smartphone app that collects data from the device and sends it to a secure cloud-based platform. The device, which plugs into a car’s on-board diagnostics (OBD-II) connector can clue you in to problems, help optimize gas mileage, and send alerts for unsafe driving. Being connected, it also provides several car-related services such as regular maintenance reminders, alerts when it’s time to fill the gas tank, alternate routes when traffic is heavy and an organization system which helps account for trips for business and separate them from personal travels.

The Pitch. Jaideep Jain, co-founder and CEO lays out the need for Truvolo in a straightforward video in which he also explains that the project was inspired as his son approached legal driving age. He thinks of Truvolo as “the place to go for everything car-related.” He explains that Truvolo can help make you and a safer driver by providing feedback on driver performance in addition to location information. He claims that in the future, Truvolo will even be able to block texting while driving. Other than the video, the campaign on Indiegogo features a link to the various press Truvolo has garnered to date in addition to some partial screen shots of the app.

The Perks. This project has many, many reward tiers starting at $30 for the most basic level of support with a corresponding reward of a Truvolo tee and letter of thanks. The first 150 people to donate $89 can become either an “early bird” or “beta tester” of the Truvolo device and app, with beta testers receiving the product about two months in advance of other audiences. Other tiers escalate to increasing amounts of product and rewards which include dinner with the founders (transportation excluded) and for $6,000 you can even become a “development partner.” According to the posted project schedule, units will complete beta testing in May and start shipping to Indiegogo supporters in June 2014.

The Potential. While there’s no doubt in the potential for a new connected standard for future vehicles, the concrete benefits to a product like Truvolo remain somewhat unclear for now. Similar products like Zubie and Automatic are already available in the market and it’s difficult to see how Truvolo will differentiate itself. Most people already know how to be safer drivers — slow down, use caution, stop fully at stop signs, etc. But there’s something to be said for hard evidence. If Truvolo can’t leverage that to change driver behavior, it may be seen as just an expensive way to remind yourself to get an oil change.