Connected Objects Safety

RoboRanger serves as your personal safety device

Portable safety devices can come in really handy when there is an emergency. But many of them require being tethered to another device or Bluetooth connection to a smartphone, which a lot of consumers –- especially senior citizens – don’t often have.

RoboRanger is a water-resistant personal safety device that features a loud, 130-decibel alarm, around-the-clock monitoring, and friends/family notification. It also has a standalone connection to 911 and provides 24/7 coverage virtually anywhere in the world, its makers say. Plus, it connects directly to GSM and GPS without a smartphone or other device. It requires one simple motion to activate during an emergency situation: users just have to pull its pin and that will activate the alarm and transmit the user’s exact location to a professional 911 response team.


The Robelf is the least threatening home alarm system ever

The vision of the autonomous robot in the home is a long-time marker of the crowdfunding world. Years ago, teams around the world were trying to peddle that idea and now, it continues with better equipment and more robust feature sets.

Another entrant into the segment is the Robelf from Taiwan, an odd-faced roving home robot that features a range of abilities to help facilitate everyday life. For one, its main purpose is to serve as a home alarm system. Its moving monitoring function has it patrol the home and notify users through its Wi-Fi connection of abnormal activity with the help of its 5MP front camera. When it is low on battery, its iBeacon-based Bluetooth transmitter signals Robelf to return to it charging dock and continue monitoring from there.

Imaging Robots/Drones

ViewBot focuses on keeping homes safe, doesn’t smile much

The crowdfunding world is one where copycats thrive. Should one decent idea see success, a deluge of imitators quickly try to ride the wave. This is currently the case with remote controlled home surveillance bots: every other week, a brand new one pops up — just without much of the new part.

Add VewNet to the list. It’s an unremarkable looking treaded robot that serves as a set of eyes back at home for users who want to keep track of children while running an errand or want to make sure everything is safe during longer absences. To do so, it has all of the standard fare built-in: a 1080p HD camera for video, night vision capabilities, a microphone, motion detection and the requisite alert and notification system that comes along with it, a self-docking charging station, and the ability to manual control VewNet using a connected smart device. If backers act quickly enough, VewNet can be purchased for $99 and expect it to patrol their homes by November 2016. The VewNet flexible Indiegogo campaign is looking for $10,000 by mid-July 2016.

While VewNet isn’t technically a bad product, as it does contain everything needed to effectively surveil a home. Something like this sorely needs a personality, something Appbot Riley as in spades, making it a far better alternative to VewNet despite being pretty much the same product.

Imaging Smart Home

Patrolling your home is how the Orbii security camera rolls

The appeal of home security solutions stems from always being connected, allowing a user to always know what’s happening back at home. Most of these systems use video cameras to supplement alerts and other notifications with smart recognition technology to detect the source of a disturbance, for instance. Depending on the size of the home, this can require purchasing many cameras, making what should be economical systems far more expensive.

Orbii solves this little problem. Its spherical design lets it move by shifting its internal center of gravity, like a hamster in a hamster ball. Inside, a central sphere contains omni-directional drive motors that shift the sphere in any direction with control and agility, letting it freely roam (and map the environment over time) or be controlled by smartphone or tablet app. This makes it easy for users to take advantage of its 720p HD camera to get a clear picture whether it’s day or night due to built-in night vision, with eight hours of onboard storage or 30 days of cloud storage available for footage.


Kphob tracks door locking on the cheap with a turn of the key

It’s a common problem. After leaving the house, it’s often hard to remember if the door was locked and it’s just too time-consuming a lot of the time to return home and check.

patent-claimedKphob is a key fob that records whenever the user locks a door with an attached key. It uses several sensors, including a magnetometer and accelerometer, to track every motion of the key. The device also tracks the time and date of each entry and exit. It features a small display that shows the date and time.

Kphob ships in December. Future pricing is expected to be about $18. Early bird Kickstarter backers can get one first with a pledge starting at about $21. Its makers hope to raise $18,242 by May 5.

Alas, the fob only works only with physical keys, so consumers who have only a remote-controlled lock need not apply. Users must physically rotate the key inside the keyhole for at least one full rotation/revolution. But its makers are working on the algorithm to make it possible for 180-degree rotation detection.


Imaging Robots/Drones

Appbot Riley patrols, keeps its eye on your abode

The promise of the future is one built on the idea that robots will help humans progress against the challenges of tomorrow. Making this idea a reality will require huge leaps in technology, the types of which are around the proverbial corner but still a while off. Until then, there are products like the Appbot Riley that afford a glimpse at these possibilities.

Riley is a charming little robot designed to be a set of eyes and ears in the home when work or play calls. This roving robot is equipped with a microphone, speaker and 5MP camera with night vision capabilities, all of which can be controlled from its companion smartphone app over Wi-Fi to take snapshots, record video, check around the house, or communicate with those who may be at home.

Imaging Wearables

Tribble is a wearable wunderkind for your place, person or plane

editors-choiceAll the devices required for a connected daily life make things
better. Unfortunately, many of them need to be constantly monitored as well. Notifications can add up, making things much harder later on when addressing 400 emails or 1,200 group text messages. So, it’s important to stay on top of it all; a little help couldn’t hurt.

The Tribble is a connected, wearable companion aiming to be an all-in-one intermediary between a user and their smartphone or other devices. Its small, round body is made of stainless steel for durability and houses a 2.0GHz Quad-Core AR Cortex A9 processor along with 1GB of RAM. This powers a combination of LED touchscreen, 1080p video camera, and motion sensors for the Tribble wide array of functionality.


EBlocker lets you block online ads, tracker software

Online ads and digital trackers continue to be an annoying -– and potentially costly or even dangerous –- part of using the Internet, especially when it’s kids who are the ones surfing the Web.

patent-claimedEBlocker is a small, white plug-and-play smart device. It automatically blocks online services that are secretly collecting information about computer users while they’re using any devices in the home to access the Internet. EBlocker can also cloak the device that is being used to access the Internet –- whether it’s a computer, mobile device or game system –- and make it appear that a different device is being used to access the Internet to fool dynamic pricing engines. Once connected, all online traffic is routed through eBlocker for analysis.

The patent-pending eBlocker ships in June at about $217, although early bird Kickstarter backers can get one at pledges starting at about $108. Its makers are looking to raise $81,700 by Feb. 17.

eBlocker must address whether its protection of all home Internet devices justifies buying it instead of just relying on filtering programs and services that perform some of the same blocking functions. One advantage it has is that there is no software to install, a feature that will likely be appealing to many consumers. But buyers will have to cough up more money –- at least $59 — to continue using eBlocker after the first year or they will not get automatic  updates anymore. Future pricing of eBlocker Pro automatic updates start at $59.


Imaging Smart Home

Koova security camera does everything but chase intruders away

In the United Kingdom and many points beyond, cameras are everywhere. With smartphones, security cameras and the increasing presence of the Internet of Things, they’re being crammed into everywhere else at a fraction of the cost they previously were.

Cue Amaryllo International and their Koova, the device it’s claiming to be the world’s smallest auto-tracking camera. The company sees its low-cost Koova being used in home, garage, office and small business situations. The sleek looking cylindrically shaped device is Wi-Fi connected, boasting HD quality and 8GB of onboard memory.

Smart Home

Sentri’s large touchscreen keeps an eye on your connected home

The explosion of connected devices in the home, while incredible, would be an even better development if they all worked more seamlessly with each other. Since most don’t, it forces IoT fans to put up with separate apps for each device, diluting the experience as a result.

The Sentri is effectively a 10.1 touchscreen that serves as the center of a person’s connected world. It combines security, an impressive array of built-in functionality along and the ability to connect to wide-range of third-party devices to truly bring together what can be a disparate experience.