Running Wearables

Zoi wearable helps you run better and safer

From the neon-colored, spandex laced marathoners to those simply seeking to keep fit, poor technique is the main cause of running injuries. Avoiding these injuries while working towards a stride and pace that is challenging yet suitable for the body takes consistent feedback and patient coaching. Unfortunately, employing a coach can be cost prohibitive, running apps only telling you how much you run, and technical gait analyses only give you a snapshot of your technique for too much money.

Runteq is positioning their biometric running system, Zoi, as your personal coach. Comprising of a chest and foot sensor, runners can enjoy vocal feedback with the included wireless earbuds about very specific aspects of their technique, all in real time. Feedback takes the form of cheering and gentle encouragement advising you on things like pronation, ground contact time, and overall body motion, all of which can be used to create shareable personal training plans for review on the Zoi smartphone app. There a number of perks available, each offering Zoi for discounted prices ranging from €69 to €119, all contributing to the company’s funding goal of €50,000.

Another company has taken a stab at the same issue of runner education with runScribe, a pedometer sized device that attaches to your foot. Compared to Zoi, though, it has a much narrower focus — limited to collecting information that’s manually uploaded rather than actively feeding it back to the user.

Zoi is coming along at a time where interest in wearable tech is at an all-time high, but where the expectations at what they can do are similarly high. Applications and wearables are saturated with heart rate and blood pressure monitors which provide disjointed information, so Zoi pushes the envelope with their novel, smart feedback system. While the MSRP may be a bit pricey at €149, it will surely come out cheaper than other, more expensive alternatives.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Notion can sense just about anything around your home

There are a wealth of different smart home solutions available to tackle specific tasks or watch certain parts of the home. From home intrusion tags on windows and doors to humidity sensors that can detect potentially dangerous conditions for collectibles, having a home that does all of this requires a lot of products, not to mention a lot of money.

Notion is a smart home sensor that prefers to do a lot with a little. The small adhesive pucks that Notion uses for sensors can be placed on any surface or device and programmed to monitor multiple different kinds of data, or just do one specific task. From detecting water leaks to safeguarding valuable or dangerous materials, when one of Notion’s built-in sensors is tripped, it sends a notification to the user’s phone, as well as to any approved contacts if the homeowner is not in a position to respond quickly to urgent matters.

Notion can sense eight different kinds of stimuli: acceleration, light, sound, proximity, temperature, orientation, water leaks, and natural frequency. Whether a window is left open upon leaving the house or if a smoke alarm is going off, Notion promptly reports it. Loop Labs, Inc., maker of the Notion, needs $50,000 for testing, design, and production. The base kit including one hub and one sensor puck is priced at $129 and will launch in July 2015.

Notion isn’t the first all-in-one smart home super-sensor, nor will it be the last. But as the smart home grows and develops, and companies try to tackle the functions of the ideal smart home one at a time, it’s refreshing to be able to invest in a product that pulls its own weight in every room of the house.


Connected Objects Sensors/IoT

VERVE2 lets you assemble your own Internet of Things like LEGOs

The Premise. The Internet of Things is garnering a lot of attention and excitement, and rightfully so. Just as getting people connected online revolutionized communication and information, connecting objects online stands poised to change what people expect from their appliances and tools.

The Product. VERVE2 is an easily programmable, highly customizable family of sensors that allow users to give any item a degree of online functionality. Detecting touch, light, heat, or motion, VERVE2 can be clipped or affixed to anything and then programmed to interact with computer programs or Web sites to create new and exciting functions.

The Pitch. The very first words for the VERVE2 campaign call it the “LEGOs of the future,” and this sort of do-anything approach is what the video and campaign material strive to portray. In the video, viewers see everything from a DIY burglar alarm to a greeting card turned into an automatic tweet whenever someone is thinking of a loved one and touches the card. VERVE2 creators inXus interactive are hoping to raise $10,000 for manufacturing and assembly. At $50,000 dollars, backers who get at least 7 sensors will also receive a sheet of Velostat to make touch panels of any shape or size.

The Perks. Getting started with VERVE2 only takes a pledge of $45 to get one connecter cable, the hub, a light sensor, and a flash drive with the required software. A pack with seven sensors goes for $89, with a light sensor, button, touch sensor, turn sensor, motion sensor, DIY sensor, and magnetic sensor. Finally, the $160 tier level includes 2 of each of the aforementioned sensors, plus temperature sensors, force sensors, and loudness sensors. All perks are expected to deliver out in November.

The Potential. Just by how easy the VERVE2 system is to set up and tweak to accomplish different tasks, it’s an incredible way to bring the power of connecting objects to the Internet to even the most average end user. That being said, from a practicality standpoint, the system may not be as flexible as promised, offering a lot of options to use, but not a lot of outstanding features that would be intuitive to many. The creative and curious will derive a great sense of joy from getting their hands (and fingers, and voices, and lights) on VERVE2, but for the person who just wants something they can plug in and use to make their lives easier, VERVE2 might not be the right buy. This sort of real-world physical programming has been put out before with products like Ninja Blocks, but being able to turn any object into computer input is what makes VERVE2 an exciting alternative.


Heat Seek turns up the the heat up on lazy landlords

The Premise. Although New York City winters can’t compare to those further up the eastern seaboard, they still pack quite a punch. For those with poorly heated apartments, they can be downright brutal. Although avenues exist with which to report heating violations, they are often too unreliable to truly make a difference — literally leaving people out in the cold.

The Product. The team behind Heat Seek is proposing a tech-centric solution to reduce the inefficiency. The initiative uses a set of connected devices relaying temperature information back to a central hub in an Internet-connected apartment. (Only one hub is needed, reducing the barrier of entry for those without a connection.) All this information is then sent to a server where it can be accessed by tenants, advocates, and lawyers using a Web app.

The company hopes this information will allow timely resolutions to violations. Tenants coming home to a toasty apartment are not the only beneficiaries, though: Heatseek NYC wants to partner with responsible landlords to help them stay compliant by figuring out how best to avoid heat loss, maximize heating efficiency, and potentially save thousands. (How many responsible landlords there are in NYC remains to be seen.)

The Pitch. Their Kickstarter campaign has a lot going for it. Its simple and clear video tells the real story of a current NYC resident living in an improperly heated apartment. By telling her story and showing how the company’s sensors would help, the video presents a compelling issue and a solid call-to-action. Although the team is looking for $10,000 to begin manufacturing, it is ideally seeking $50,000 by campaign’s end to put 1,000 sensors in the hands of New Yorkers who need it most.

The Perks. You can gift a temperature hub for a New Yorker in need for $30, or pay $60 to do the same and receive one yourself. Conversely, you can gift a hub while receiving one yourself with a backing of $120 or more.  No matter what option you choose, every perk has an estimated delivery date of February 2015.

The Potential. Any serious attempt to revamp bureaucracy can be messy (here’s looking at you,, but Heat Seek NYC’s solution to a persistent problem is simple, elegant, and easily applicable to a wide range of situations. Heat Seek has attracted a lot of attention via a back of a string of wins in app competitions However, it faces a long journey in the real world if it seeks to become a standard in New York or beyond.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

pēq promises home automation and security from behind closed doors

The Premise. The smart home comes with a wealth of benefits in terms of automation, convenience and control. Maybe one of the more overlooked benefits of a connected home network is the ability for appliances and items to act as a watch dog for the home, reporting any unusual behavior to owners in a timely fashion so that the security of the home is never breached.

The Product. The latest entrant into the field of home automation, pēq, promises the combination of control and security that a smart home should provide. With a starter kit hub that comes with window and door sensors to detect any entrance into the home and report it to a smartphone, tablet or computer, pēq relies on connected objects to create and interact with data in real-time. With a connected camera, motion sensing can take pictures of any guests, whether wanted or unwanted.  This same connectivity can be applied to lights, thermostats, even water fixtures.

The Pitch. The promotional video for pēq offers up a bright, whimsical 8-bit retro game motif while explaining the numerous benefits of having one in the home. Unfortunately, this is counter-balanced by the website offering almost no information at all beyond what the video presents and pre-ordering information. In order to even pre-order, one has to enter their full name and email address to gain entry to the device’s Early Access program.

The Perks. Those who pre-order can get a pēq Starter Kit with two sensors for just $49.99, or for some extra security, those who pay the full retail $149 price tag will receive a free camera to connect to their pēq. The pēq service will then have a monthly fee of $9.99 to have maximum functionality.

The Potential. It goes without saying that there have been numerous similar devices put out on the market before, even those that blend automation with security like pēq promises to do. That being said, it really merits more information from the creators to differentiate their product from its competitors. The price tag is high enough that it’s hard to make an impulse purchase on, let alone subscribe to a monthly fee to continue using. Based on the quality of its presentation, it’s easy to feel inclined to give pēq the benefit of the doubt, but for a pre-order crowdfunding campaign there has to be an established level of trust between buyer and seller. With pēq there just isn’t enough public information yet available to inspire confidence in backing it.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Neoji blends automation with energy monitoring

The Premise. The smart home revolution is banging down the doors of houses and apartments redolent in their wasting of energy; both for utilities and in the way residents have to get up, go home, and be present to control anything. Now that that revolution is here, homeowners need access to an automation hub that shares their goals and priorities.

The Product. Neoji can control the entire home using an app on a smartphone or tablet. Equipped with air sensors, a microphone, and an HD camera, homeowners can monitor their own home at their leisure or be alerted to motion or sound when they’re not paying attention. Because Neoji can learn about what’s part of the daily routine and what’s out of the ordinary, phones won’t be littered with notifications about pets playing or kids coming home from school.

The Pitch. Neoji introduces itself as a flexible device perfect for everything from baby monitoring to home security. With a focus on cutting energy costs and doing its part for the environment, Neoji takes things a step farther by planting or preserving a tree for every backer. Neoji wants to collect $100,000 in pledges in order to complete development and move beyond the prototype stage.

The Perks. A Neoji with app, energy coaching, and 24/7 technical support will arrive in April 2015 for those who pledge $299 to the campaign. A color choice between white and black is available for $349, and the model with an HD camera and air quality sensors can be had for $399. A flexible development kit with wall-mounts and access to the SDK goes to backers with $499 to contribute. Additional tiers offer multiple Neoji devices.

The Potential. Neoji is trying to be an all-in-one home automation system that revolutionizes the way homeowners interact with their property. The problem? It’s a little late to the party. In terms of its features and compatibility, this is really in the realm of what consumers are expecting from a device like this. The only way Neoji stands out is in its ecologically-focused presentation. If the campaign video is any indication, Neoji is somewhat fixated on reducing energy costs. For those that have a similar mindset, this will be the smart home environment controller that will be the best fit. Otherwise, Neoji winds up being another face in the crowd.

Smart Home

LILA brings storefront security to the many ways into a home

LILAJust as a fence is only as strong as its weakest link, many home security systems can be easily toppled by a door or window left ajar. The LILA system (Leave it Locked, Always) from QL London is designed to make sure that anytime homeowners leave the home, they receive alerts for any unsafely open ports of entry. A self-adhesive sensor can be placed on any doors and windows and will communicate via Bluetooth to the LILA Hub and/or the LILA App if it detects that the an entryway is left open. For £12, a 2-pack of sensors can be delivered (add £7 for shipping outside the UK), making homes safer in September 2014.

Sensors/IoT Smart Home

Zstat brings the heat (or cold) to your smart home, senses danger

Zstat  20140220113721-zss9[1]If you’re still suffering from the sticker shock of your last utility bill, Zstat might be able to take the bite out of the future ones. While not as sleek as the Nest. it costs considerably less and offers more safety features such as sensors for smoke, carbon monoxide, and air quality. It also comes in white or stainless steel and is easily controlled with the Zstat app or text messages. For at least $100, early bird backers get the version with the safety features and an expected delivery of August 2014.