Screen lets parents curb their kids’ screen addiction

Many parents would love to monitor the amount of time their kids spend using various devices –- especially when homework needs to be done.

patent-claimedScreen is a small set-top box that lets parents limit the screen time their kids are spending across devices including computers, smartphones, tablets, streaming set-top boxes, TVs and video game consoles. The device controls up to three TV-connected devices. But it works in conjunction with an Android and iOS app for parents that lets them monitor the use of any devices wherever they or their kids are.

Connected Objects Kids/Babies

Miraffe connected playmate puts a digital portal in the hands of kids

For little ones, the world is full of mystery, prompting their torrent of questions from the moment they can start forming them. For parents, this is a wonderful moment. Knowing that they’re responsible for educating their children is a huge responsibility made easier with the internet. For the most part, it’s better if a child discovers everything on their own. The Miraffe is a clever compromise between the two.

Since a child can’t just log on to Google or Wikipedia and seek out the information they need, the Miraffe acts as an intermediary. It can recognize objects in the world and give children information on it along with simply being a toy with which to entertain with. It’s essentially a Wi-Fi enabled, 4″ HD screen with a quad-core 1.3GHz processors, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and a 5 MP camera.

Connected Objects Displays

E Ink cloud display Vikaura lets your smartphone blow off some steam

Our smartphones are carriers of so much valuable information. So much, in fact, that much of it gets lost in the bowels of camera rolls, or in the depths of the rows and rows of apps. As useful as having that many photos and information may be, they’re worthless they can’t easily be accessed.

The Vikaura Screen is a 4″,6″, or 9.7″ E Ink display that’s capable of linking with multiple iPhones or Android smartphones at once. Once linked, information like photos, weather, or simply messages can be pushed to the device using Bluetooth LE technology. This enables situations where things like recipes can be displayed on the screen while running around in the kitchen, or messages can be pushed from a child’s smartphone to a screen to avoid a no cell policy at school.

At-a-glance information can be set up by subscribing to feeds on the Vikaura, always ensuring important information like news is available right by the bedside, for instance. An open API will make sure that more uses will continue to be developed too. Impressively enough, there aren’t any sort of wires as its internal, replaceable batteries support a vague “thousands” of screen updates; feasible given E-Ink’s low power requirements. Early birds can score the 4″ model for $99, the 6″ for $129, and the 9.7″ for $199, all sizable discounts on their eventual retail prices. The $125,000 campaign goal is looking to have the Vikaura Screen shipped by June 2015.

Second screen experiences are slowly becoming more and more popular, and given the wealth of information our devices contain, it makes sense. An E Ink styled display is a novel idea, and echoes the InkCase Plus in its use of E Ink. As energy saving as E Ink can be, though, it robs photos of their color, making a product like Fireside so much more attractive.

Displays Tech Accessories

Packed Pixels adds extra displays to your sadly single-screened laptop

Extra monitors at a workstation seems like the height of excess at first glance, but once a second screen has been added for work or play, going back to a single-screen setup is like riding a moped. Unfortunately, laptop users have to deal with this situation every day on the road, unless they pick up Packed Pixels. Packed Pixels is a combination of quality technology and good old-fashioned simple rigging. Using brackets and an elastic strap, Packed Pixels wraps around the back of any laptop screen. From there, the included screen can be mounted and plugged in on either side of the device’s existing screen.

A third screen can be added as well if the laptop supports it, creating a sort of cockpit effect of one main screen flanked by two smaller screens. The displays themselves use the same technology as Apple’s retina displays and are up to the task of streaming video or even playing games. Packed Pixels is created by Dovetail Technology, who is asking for £60,000 (~$94,000) to attract suppliers and handle moulding and testing. Supporters in need of an extra screen can strap one on for £120 (~$194) in May 2015.

Displays Tech Accessories

DuoScreen is your laptop’s better half for productivity and gaming

Laptops are great for getting things done on the go, making productivity a constant no matter where the work is located. But when the workstation of choice is set up with an expansive, dual-monitor display, moving to the single screen of a laptop can be prohibitive, frustrating, and a hindrance to productivity.

DuoScreen is a solution to bring a second screen to laptops in a way that’s never been done before. By attaching a housing to the bottom of the laptop, DuoScreen raises and tilts the laptop forward slightly for ergonomic purposes, and has ventilation to keep notebooks from overheating, but that’s just the extra features. The DuoScreen holds a second screen, powered and connected through a solitary USB port, that slides out, flips up, and is supported by the laptop’s weight so that it doesn’t take up any extra desk space.

The 15.6” LED screen supports resolution up to 1920×1080, meaning there’s no sacrifice when it comes to display quality. Additionally, the screen can be rotated up to 180 degrees, perfect for an impromptu presentation or collaboration session. The DuoScreen holds laptops in place on its base with elastic straps, meaning there’s no risk of damaging the case of the laptop, and that it can fit many different models and sizes. The inventors at Nomadz have their target goal of $100,000 to pay for production. Anyone looking to add a screen to their laptop can grab a DuoScreen for $239 in May 2015.

The crowdfunding product space is proving that adding a second screen to laptops is an issue that needs addressing as soon as possible. While DuoScreen may have just a little too much size and thickness to make it practically portable, the amount of extra little touches could make it a great option for certain laptop power users, much like the similar Packed Pixels.

Arts Connected Objects Imaging

Let the Internet make any wall a museum with Electric Objects

The Premise. The Internet offers so much in the way of art, but these beautiful pieces are stuck on screen. We decorate our houses with art on the wall, but must manually change them when the room’s ambience or our taste changes. 

The Product. Electric Objects is a computer designed to display art. Using apps and online databases, Electric Objects owners can change the image that the product shows. The screen doesn’t look like any traditional screen, making the EO blend in with other framed paintings and photographs. The frame comes in different colors and materials, just like traditional frames. With the app, it’s possible to change the image on the screen easily via wifi. 

The Pitch. Electric Objects’ campaign video shows different rooms and scenes with the product featured. It does well in showing backers how inconspicuous EO looks and how it blends right into any home without looking like technology. The creators talk about how they are partnering with museums and other venues interested in integrating EO into their collections. Logos of different blogs and news sources permeate the rest of the blog along with quotes of satisfied users. Electric Objects is looking to raise $25,000 in a month-long campaign on Kickstarter.

The Perks. Backers can enjoy the EO for $299 at the special Kickstarter price with estimated delivery in May 2015. This comes with a choice of either black or white and a wall mounting kit. The EO costs $499 at its regular price and at this tier, backers can choose between black, white and wood for the frame.

The Potential. Electric Objects has found a way for the beauty of art to meet the convenience of technology. Digital photo frames offer a way for people to enjoy their own photographs at home, but typically look conspicuous. In addition, they only feature photographed images instead of anything else. Electric Objects looks like any other frame, but has so much more to offer. With the vast gallery of images that its online library offers, this product demonstrates its amazing versatility. Its price is reasonable too, considering how much each new painting must cost. However, like most previous digital picture frames, you won’t be able to set it up too far from an outlet without getting creative with the wiring and it may be too bright at night for active use in a bedroom. All in all, Electric Objects is an excellent way for art buffs to explore different images from all around the world in their own homes. 

Cell Phone Accessories Tablet Accessories

Screen Sock slips on to your index, prevents need for Windex

Screen Sock  20140319185833-screensock_phone[1]While touch screens have their plusses, perhaps one of the more annoying minuses for some is the smudges that they collect. By the end of the day, iPhones, tablets and other touch screen devices can look like they were used as a plate for a fried chicken meal – unless you use your shirttail to wipe them off from time to time. But lime green and utterly ridiculous-looking Screen Sock aims to change all that. The one-size-fits-all digital debris debilitation device just slips over your finger (or thumb if you prefer) and lets you swipe away without leaving streaks and smudges on your screen. Perhaps the perfect gift idea for neat freaks, germaphobes, and those who feel it’s too much effort to use a cleaning cloth. For $10, backers get two finger socks and an expected delivery of April 2014.


Screener Thing won’t let your garden down

ScreenerFor green thumbers who have a rocky time working in their gardens, Screener Thing offers a solution. This nifty, sifty garden tool is basically a screen framed by wood planks that sits on top of wheelbarrows or buckets. When pouring dirt into the receptacle, the screen catches all of the unwanted rocky or chunky material that lives in the dirt. For $45, backers can rock out with the Screener Thing. The money, rather than the play, is the Thing as it needs to raise $45,000 on Kickstarter in its 45-day campaign.

Tech Accessories

EkZee targets the USB drive-by with malware removal

The Premise. Security risks are omnipresent in today’s world, and they’re only becoming more and more real as the years go on. Since so many of us use the Internet to handle our banking and put countless amounts of sensitive information on our computers, it’s never been more important to think about ways in which to maximize security.

The Product. EkZee may just be the solution to those who fear their USB drives may contain viruses. With a hobbyist enclosure and the footprint of a smartphone, it’s also extremely easy to use. Simply plug a USB drive into EkZee, hit the button and the rest takes care of itself. The device will scan your drive for any malicious software that may have somehow made its way onto it and get rid of it for you. According to the developer, simple antivirus software is often not enough to clean USB drives — this is where EkZee steps in.

The Pitch. There’s no slick marketing pitch for the EkZee. The video features low-fi audio and awkward cuts. However, it communicates the product’s value on a campaign page that goes into more technical detail about how the product works, why it’s effective, and what the oh-so-sexy printed circuit board looks like. The developers set out some aspirations for EkZee with their stretch goals beyond the £51,000 they seek. At £75,000, they’ll consider adding an LCD and more selective file deletion support and at £100,000 support for more file systems such as NTFS used by Windows.

The Perks. EkZee is expected to ship in July 2014 to backers. The base reward tier is £40 although a £31 early bird offer is available.

The Potential. The simplicity of using EkZee combined with the relatively low price makes this a product that could potentially have a big splash in the IT community. It’s not strictly for business use, however, and would be a wise purchase for many nontechnical users who need to screen a wide range of unknown USB drives.