Cell Phone Accessories Imaging

Lumenati CS1 transforms iPhone’s form factor into that of a Super 8 camera

A growing number of smartphone enclosures are being introduced via crowdfunding sites that promise to improve the photo capabilities of the phones’ cameras.

patent-claimedThe Lumenati CS1 follows the recent IndieVice and olloclip Studio. But the CS1 offers a unique twist, mimicking the form factor of an old Super 8 camera. Users can opt to filter video taken with the camera like an old Super 8 movie or shoot in HD with the aid of optical quality lenses. The device also lets users add filters after they shoot and change them on the fly.

Cell Phone Accessories Health and Wellness

Snor uses mobile device, patented tech to ease night breathing

Many people snore and don’t try to remedy the problem even though their snoring often prevents them and their loved ones from getting a good night’s sleep. Snorers often are reluctant to try any of the most common treatments: implants, surgery and continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines.

patent-claimedSnor is a patented training device that bypasses such methods, strengthening users’ soft palate muscles and enabling them to stop snoring for months, its makers say. The device plugs into Android and iOS smartphones, and users download an accompanying app to their phones. A short tube is then inserted into the Snor device and the user’s mouth. Sucking on the tube much like one sucks from a straw helps to train the soft palate muscle and users can gauge if they are doing it correctly by looking at the app.

Cell Phone Accessories Imaging

IndieVice overcomes smartphone cameras’ vices to provide improved photos

Smartphones continue to be the de facto camera for most people. But the photos taken with them still tend to lack the artistry of higher-end cameras, even with the vastly improved cameras that are featured on the best new smartphones.

patent-claimedIndieVice is an attachment that promises to transform the cameras on any smartphone into a pro-grade camera for taking still images and video. It will also work with a GoPro camera, but requires an adapter kit. IndieVice uses Bluetooth to allow (digital) zoom in/out with the touch of a button. It was also designed so users can easily add on virtually any additional camera equipment, including lighting devices and tripods.

The IndieVice Pro model has an adaptable universal lens adapter that allows users to change professional lenses quickly. The Pro model will cost about $171 with a Bluetooth remote and ships in March 2016. Its maker has set a Kickstarter goal of raising $40,853 by July 29.


Lumigraphe introduces the camera obscura to the smartphone

The camera obscura was an optical device invented thousands of years ago that eventually led to the creation of the film camera. While many photographers still prefer film cameras to the digital cameras that have replaced them, there’s also a contingent of photography fans out there who like the distinctive look of images created by the camera obscura, including its unique color saturation and soft, dream-like focus.

patent-claimedThe Lumigraphe is an updated version of the camera obscura that was designed to be used with smartphones. The accordion-like device looks very much like early film cameras and creates images that look very much like those created by a camera obscura. The Lumigraphe was designed for outdoor use specifically. The user just has to open the device’s chamber and attach a smartphone to it to take photos. A pared-down, non-collapsible version will cost about $99, while the full-featured, collapsible version will cost about $219. Both will ship in December. The Lumigraphe’s maker is hoping to raise $49,276 through Kickstarter by July 6.

The device offers an imaginative way to use a smartphone’s camera that will likely appeal to a small segment of photography fans.


Cell Phone Accessories

Peacetong interprets foreign languages so you don’t have to

The inability to understand foreign languages is often a major problem while traveling abroad. While this can be alleviated if a traveller learns a new language before arriving, not everyone has the time to do so.

The makers of Peacetong are out to change that with separate devices that will allow users to quickly interpret both live voices and other audio emanating from a TV. The Personal Interpreter portion works in combination with a planned app designed to work on both Android and iOS devices, two Bluetooth headsets, and one Bluetooth microphone to interpret conversations. The Video Interpreter, which is used to interpret any audio coming from a TV, is a separate device which resembles a portable radio. It operates by keeping the original sound intact and adding an interpreter’s voice over it. Users can connect the device to their TV via an HDMI port. The anticipated retail price of the Personal Interpreter is $400 while the anticipated retail price for the Video Interpreter is $465. A Personal Package which includes one of each is expected to cost $800. Both products will ship in September if Peacetong’s makers canraise $100,000 by April 23.

Peacetong’s concept is promising as there is undoubtedly a market for such a product. But the need for separate devices to achieve what one device could probably do seems to be a major drawback. Another negative is that the Personal Interpreter is unable to interpret audio from a phone call, even though it was designed to be used with smartphones. That said, its creators say that such functionality will be an option added later on via a free app update in the future.


Cell Phone Accessories

WonderCube is a multi-talented smartphone charger you won’t want to leave at home

One problem with smartphones is that they require users to carry around multiple accessories, most notably a charging device. Sometimes, this isn’t always the most efficient way to travel and go about one’s day.

The WonderCube — a tiny device featuring eight-in-one mobile functions —  aims to end that problem. The WonderCubs is small enough such that it can conveniently be attached to a key ring. Some of its features include a foldout flexible USB cord measuring 3 inches when extended; gold-plated connectors that allow quick charging through any USB port; USB On-The-Go (OTG) functionality that provides 64 GB of smartphone storage via a built-in microSD card reader; a battery charger that allows users to plug in a 9-volt battery in order to provide an emergency power boost to a depleted phone battery; a mini LED flashlight; and a phone stand function that can be used in either portrait or landscape mode.

WonderCube’s cable can be used for quick file transfers and backups, as well as for syncing photos, music and videos. Notably, transfers and backups can be achieved even when a network connection isn’t available. The device is scheduled to ship in August in two versions –- one with an Apple Lightning connector for iOS devices and another with a micro USB connector. Each version will set you back $69. Its maker set a goal of raising $50,000 by April 15.

The WonderCube has a lot of potential on account of its small size and its many mobile functions. To be fair, not all of those features are clear winners. Specifically, it’s debatable whether or not smartphone users really need a mini flashlight when there are already multiple apps capable of providing that feature. The OTG function also only works on Android devices for now, although iOS compatibility is expected to be added.

Tech Accessories Travel

Trix lets you keep outlets hidden up your sleeve. Or anywhere else.

Power strips have become a must-have tech accessory for people who travel a lot — or even for those who spend loads of time at Wi-Fi hot spots and desperately need to charge their smartphones, tablets and computers. All too often, one has to compete with others for only a couple of outlets, but toting a couple of outlets allows the power-starved to plug in and still let others juice up.

The Trix power strip is a very small (90mm x 90mm x 38mm) and colorful portable power strip with three AC outlets that makes it easy to plug in wall warts without worrying about them overlapping.  It also avoids having to drag along extra USB chargers since it has two USB ports in the fourth face of its X-like design. Trix costs $40 and will ship in September. Also planned is a Traveler’s Pack that adds a universal converter at $60, also coming in September. Its maker is hoping to raise $58,042 by April 30.

One edge that Trix has over theMonster’s Outlets To Go power strip is its design, which is smaller and easier to fit in a pocket.Trix’s curved design also makes it easier to grip. Its minimalism can also come in handy at home for preventing cable sprawl.

Tech Accessories

Sawtooth dock charger holds up to six devices in its jaws

Most smartphone or tablet docks tend to handle only one or two mobile devices at a time. That’s fine for a single person living alone, but not so handy for a home with multiple people who each own at least two devices that need to constantly remain charged.

The Sawtooth dock charger features six USB ports and a series of ridges that can accommodate the same number of mobile devices. Its design was inspired by the sawtooth roof architecture of the early 19th century. Each port can charge up to 2.4 amps of power independently. Additionally, each port is equipped with OptimalPeak technology that automatically detects and selects the optimal charging amps for each specific device.

One particularly standout feature is the product’s ability to be connected to other Sawtooth docks, thus enabling multiple docks with six devices each to work in unison with just one wall outlet. This feature should certainly come in handy for classrooms and businesses. Sawtooth will ship in April at $85 for Kickstarter backers, with retail pricing expected to be about 20 percent higher. Its maker is looking to raise $10,000 by April 12.

Sawtooth stands to be appealing to many consumers with multiple mobile devices in their homes, as well as in classrooms that use multiple devices. Its feature set clearly stands out among rival products like the Varius Dock.

Cell Phone Accessories Chargers/Batteries

Juicer uses one Android device to help juice another

Power-hungry smartphones often need to be charged frequently. Unfortunately, there isn’t always a charger around or a free electric outlet in sight.

The maker of the Juicer is out to remedy that. The Juicer is a dual-sided charging cable that enables Android phone users to transfer battery power from one Android device to another. The device costs only $10 and will ship in August. Its maker is hoping to raise $65,000 by April 10.

The Juicer holds some promise for Android users. While it isn’t the fastest-charging device around (it’s about as fast as a computer’s USB port) it’s still useful as sometimes all that’s needed is a quick 5 or 10 percent bump, just enough to make a call or send a few texts. Another plus is that the device is small enough to fit on a key ring or inside a purse. On the negative side, its lack of iPhone compatibility significantly limits the device’s addressable market.


Cell Phone Accessories Technology

InstaMote instantly turns your smartphone into a remote

Consumers continue to be attracted to new solutions that reduce the need for multiple remote controls in their homes. The InstaMote from Switzerland is the latest device that allows a smartphone to be used as a remote control, eliminating the need for all other remotes cluttering the couch and coffee table.

InstaMote attaches to a smartphone and transforms it into an infrared remote. Every infrared electronic device in the home is compatible with InstaMote, including air conditioners, fans, DVD players, Blu-ray players, game consoles and TVs. InstaMote is compatible with all iOS 5 and newer smartphones, as well as all Android 2.3 and newer smartphones. InstaMote has a built-in battery that will last about six months under heavy usage, and can be easily replaced. The device also has a larger working range, at up to 15 meters, than typical remote controls and more compatibility than standard universal remotes also. The first functional prototype of the device is ready now, but its maker doesn’t say at the campaign’s Indiegogo site when the final version will ship. The early bird price is $9 and its regular price is $12. Its maker is looking to raise only $500 by mid January.

Once upon a time there were easily a half dozen such devices on the market. There is little about InstaMote that breaks new ground and users of Windows Phone and other smartphone devices that aren’t Android or iOS are out of luck. But the price is right for Android and iOS smartphone owners and should make it worth a try for many of them.