Smart Home

For connected home alarms, HEVO gives others the heave-ho

Legacy alarm systems often require the use of landlines to function, making them quite the dinosaurs in the age of connected products. By forcing homeowners to keep a landline and offering no flexibility when it comes to all the other devices in most people’s lives, the time is long overdue for something to give.

A portmanteau of Home EVOloution, HEVO is a hub that connects to the BUS of a current alarm system backed by the PATROL proprietary OS. In using PATROL to secure the home, HEVO operates by a tiered system of alarm. When an intruder is detected — even with an unarmed legacy alarm system — HEVO sends an alarm signal through the Internet. Failing that, HEVO’s included GSM subscription service kicks in and sends the alarm that way. If that ends up not working for some reason, real-time monitoring of each HEVO will see the company send the alarm signal themselves. Users are informed of each of these steps with real-time SMS alerts, keeping them up to date no matter what.


Backerjack Podcast #24: Security, Safety and Screens That Show It All

In Episode 24 of the Backerjack Podcast, Steve and Ross check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders, including:

  • Angee, a hybrid home monitoring system that can capture video in any direction.
  • Skreens, a small TV add-on that lets multiple vide sources go up on the TV at the same time..

We also mentioned a few other products we wished we had more time for, including the Holapex hologram visualizer.

Download the episode or listen below, subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and subscribe to the Backerjack Daily Digest to make sure you catch all the gadgets we’re covering. Also check out Steve’s great work on Apple World Today!

Smart Home

Nucli smart lock has two screens, covers all the bases

Since the debut of the Ring, nee Doorbot, on Kickstarter, crowdfunding platforms have hosted many smart locks for the home and other property.

Nucli comes to the table, or at least the door, with the Westinghouse brand and an endless array of options. It can work with iOS, Android and Windows. It can be activated by fingerprint, PIN pad (via its external touch screen), smartphone or laptop (but there’s no proximity-based unlocking yet). It supports Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Z-Wave protocols. And you can even use any MP3 file as a doorbell. Like other smart lock/doorbell combinations, owners can use its camera to see who is at the door and open it.


Passfort is a tiny touchscreen that tackles password headaches

Passwords are one of the banes of modern technology. They’re hard to create and harder to remember, particularly given it’s wise to use a different inscrutable random combination of letters, numbers and symbols for every online account.

Passfort is a portable device with a tiny screen that resembles those awful little digital picture gadgets that populated drug stores years ago.  However, it is even more appropriately at home on a keychain. The device can store up to 100 accounts and associated passwords and enter them via USB or Bluetooth. That makes it broadly compatible with Macs and PCs, as well as Android and iOS phones and tablets. Passfort itself is, of course, password protected and its content encrypted. One can choose either a PIN or a from a series of images on its small square touchscreen From there, the device acts a bit like a Bluetooth keyboard, sending the characters for the account and password for whatever Web site or app you swipe to on its display.


AllBe1 offers one for all in a palm-sized personal security system

Several portable security devices have either reached the market or been introduced on one of the crowdfunding sites, including the multi-function Tye.

patent-claimedBut AllBe1 is out to top them all, offering about 10 features in one small device with multiple sensors. Those functions are each available to the user via mobile device apps: an out-of-range lockdown mechanism that will prevent anybody else from accessing one’s mobile device when the user steps away, a fitness/steps tracker, the ability to track people or pets, a car alarm, drawer opening detection, theft detection, and the ability to send alerts when the user’s body needs more sun exposure or less. AllBe1 also offers a smart button that can be used to alert somebody at a pre-set number if the user senses danger.

Imaging Smart Home

Remocam looks over a human family, controls its own device family

Once upon a time, the idea of a camera ready to capture anything in a home would have sounded like something out of 1984, But the past few years have seen no shortage of connected indoor security cameras that allow for surveillance of those unwelcome in a home or ways to check up on those who are welcome.

Remocam looks a bit like a levitating black golf ball. It includes night vision capabilities, takes a unique approach to the security cam market, going beyond watching to doing. Some of this is handled by the camera itself, which includes a speaker for, say, singing your baby to sleep remotely  But to take full advantage of the system, users will need to buy in to the company’s eclectic collection of smart home gadgets that include mainstream outlet adapters and bulbs, but also an automatic pet feeder called RemoPet. The latter is at least aggressively priced. The company seeks $50,000 in its Indiegogo Flexible Funding campaign. The basic Remocam is $199, a $50 discount off the expected retail price.

Remocam represents a middle ground between simple cameras and cameras loaded with home security sensors such as the Oomi Hub. That system also works with its own family of devices, but can also tap in to any Z-Wave device. Both systems have a great opportunity to take advantage of a larger family of devices in the connected home.


Out There: BorderBot patrols the land to dispatch intruders with inhuman efficiency

Out There is a feature that highlights weird, wacky or woeful projects.

Immigrants and other pesky intruders plague our borders and homes. (Bear with me here). Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to patrol for such unwanted guests?

The potentially aptly named BorderBot (the product actually doesn’t have a name, but this will do) helps patrol borders and homes to keep them secure. This impressive robot can walk over blocks, as shown in the animated video (you were expecting actual prototype?). The campaign fails to detail exactly what the robot does if it finds intruders. Will it shoot them down? Will it call for reinforcements from more animated robots? Or will it turn them to ash to be whisked whence they came? Backers must donate to this campaign in order to find out! For $5,000, backers won’t actually receive the robot, but will get a t-shirt. Score.

The Portland, Oregon-based creator needs to watch the Terminator movies in order to get some ideas for immigrant handling since he’s clearly against free-range intruders. BorderBot is looking for $245,000 in funding. But really, who could put a price on apocalypse-welcoming security?

Tech Accessories

Tye mobile security device protects your stuff, saves the day when they stray

There are many products on the market track a lost pet or stolen smartphone. There are also many devices on the market that can be used to lock up a bicycle or other object so that it can’t be easily stolen.

patent-claimedTye is a new three-in-one, patent-pending device that can do both of those things, and also serves as an alarm system for electronic devices in much the same way that a car alarm system is used for vehicles. The device’s hub gets attached to any device that its user wants to protect. The hub communicates constantly with a small remote that the user hangs onto. If somebody attempts to take the protected device, Tye will sound an alarm.

An app for smartphones and the Apple Watch alerts others that there’s been an attempt to steal a protected device along with the exact transgression spot . Tye can operate up to 90 feet from the device via Bluetooth or up to 400 feet away using ZigBee wireless technology. It is expected to cost about $59-$64 once its Kickstarter campaign ends and will ship in September. Its maker is hoping to raise $60,000 by May 19.

The nice thing about Tye is that it can be used to prevent valued property from straying and find it if it does. Its use of Zigbee helps extend its local range but a cellular option would make the offering even more powerful.



Backerjack Podcast #15: Telemedicine Tricorders, Privacy Protectors, and Milk Minders

In Episode 15 of the Backerjack Podcast, surly Steve and redeeming Ross check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders:

  • MedWand, a 7-in-1 telemedicine enabler that combines measuring your vitals with spot checks of ears, nose and throat
  • Shellfire Box, a tiny network device that routes all your home traffic through a tested virtual private network
  • SmartQsine, a system of connected miniature scales that can let you know when you’re close to running out of foods or recipe ingredients.

Backerjack Podcast #14: Breathing Sensors, Social Servers, and Heat-Seeking Bedroom Bots

In Episode 14 of the Backerjack Podcast, Steve and Ross check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders:

  • Neobase, a home server that lets you create your own private Facebook for sharing with your (small) circle of friends. Now all your base are belong to you!
  • Wakē, a focused light and speaker combo that mounts over your bed to wake you gently without disturbing those sharing the budoir
  • Prana, a wearable sensor that scores your breathing and posture and lets you practice via a video game

Many thanks to SnapPower for sponsoring this episode! Please support its campaign.

Download  the episode or listen below, subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and follow Backerjack on Twitter and Facebook. Also check out Steve’s great work on Apple World Today!