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The FOGO Adventure Gadget is a digital Swiss Army knife for outdoorsy types

Exploring the wilds of nature can be a truly rewarding experience. Trails leading to new discoveries alongside the pleasant musk of nature helps foster memorable experiences. Until, of course, someone needs to pull out a flashlight or some other tool from deep within a backpack for some reason — nothing ruins a quaint ambience like the sound of a befuddled hiker looking for their GPS device.

While many would prefer using a smartphone as an aid during such excursions, most smartphones, on account of their poor battery life and dainty construction, can’t ably survive the rigors of outdoor exploration. The FOGO Adventure Gadget solves this problem by incorporating a GPS, walkie talkie, and a 1000 lumen LED flashlight into one rugged device. The FOGO Adventure Gadget includes an embedded digital compass which can help guide users to points of interest and other FOGO users. Further, the device’s walkie talkie feature combines voice and text messaging functionality, thereby allowing users to effectively communicate with others.  Additionally, the device’s LED flashlight sports dynamic light control which adjusts the level of brightness based on the object being illuminated and, in some cases, how fast the object (presumably an animal) is moving).

The FOGO employs some neat tricks with SmartCaps, interchangeable pieces of hardware that add different capabilities. For now, the only SmartCap available is the Digital Walkie-Talkie. Notably, a satellite modem and laser range finder  are both in the works.  With an app based OS, an open SDK, 128MB of flash memory, and a Bluetooth LE connection, FOGO can also act as a fitness monitor along with anything else the developer community can come up with. And its 6800mAh backup battery will ensure it will stay useful and operational for much longer than a smartphone. The $200 FOGO is expected to ship in November 2015 if the $125,000 campaign is successful by March 24, 2015.

New concepts for outdoor gear are always welcome, especially when the product in question does so much to lessen the burden for outdoor explorers. The FOGO Adventure Gadget, along with the All Terrain Cover and WakaWaka, is therefore an ideal product for nature enthusiasts everywhere.


Skully’s AR-1 protects your noggin while leading you home

The Premise. Motorcycle helmets are necessary for the safety of riders all over the world, but most don’t add much to the experience itself. Of utmost importance is keeping a rider’s eyes on the road, but not much has been done to satisfactorily address this issue outside of rear view cameras. Still, some feature lightweights carbon fiber construction where others feature Bluetooth integration, but there isn’t one complete package that tries to change the act of riding a motorcycle itself.

The Product. Skully’s AR-1 is the company’s inaugural attempt at creating the future of motorcycle helmets. Sporting ultra-modern, slim stylings, the aerodynamic polycarbonate shell houses some serious technology built atop the Android platform. This allows for a transparent heads-up display, a wide-angle rearview camera, and both online/offline turn-by-turn GPS navigation, along with future application support thanks to an open SDK. The helmet also includes a variety of connectivity options, including Bluetooth and smartphone-enabled Internet connection, both allowing for over-the-air updates.

Even with so much technology, safety is Skully’s number one aim. The heads-up display has been created so that it’s always in focus, meaning a rider won’t have to take their eyes off the road. Most importantly, the entire product is DOT/ECE certified, meaning it passes the Department of Transportation design requirements for helmets.

The Pitch. Skully’s entire campaign is one of the better ones you’ll come across, featuring top-notch production in each one of the videos. The first goes over what the Skully offers while the second video impresses with endorsements from prominent professional motorcycle riders and Amazon CTO Werner Vogel, amongst others. The campaign leaves you with no doubt as the FAQ answers all of the doubts that you may still have by its end.

The Perks. The introductory price for the Skully AR-1 is $1,399. If that’s too much to swallow, interested backers can reserve one for $499 while paying $949 later. Whatever you do, you can expect the helmet in July 2015 the latest.

The Potential. Each of Skully AR-1’s features have been offered before in helmets, like Reevu’s use of a 180° rear-view camera or BiLT’s super connected offerings featuring smartphone connection and GPS navigation, so in and of themselves they aren’t revolutionary. What Skully succeeds in doing is packaging it all up effectively while still surprising. As with any boundary-pushing product with lots of hype behind it, only time will tell if every component will indeed will work as advertised, especially that HUD they’re touting as so safe.