Cell Phone Accessories Input

Octodon seeks a come-from-behind victory in smartphone typing

The iPhone pioneered the idea that  a bigger screen was worth giving up the tiny thumb keyboard that had been the hallmark of the BlackBerry. That idea won in the marketplace. However, it hasn’t stopped people from giving up the idea that a portable device could restore the tactile response of a phycial keyboard.

Octodon may be the most unusual handheld keyboard ever created. After being unfolded from its pocket-friendly flat form factor and placed behind the smartphone magnetically, it appears ti give the smartphone a pair of wings. The user’s fingers cradle the Occtodon, which includes a number of discs to navigate among letters in its keyboard app. Once someone masters the controls needed to input certain keys, the custom keyboard can be hidden for full-screen typing.  The developers seek $150,000 in their Kickstarter campaign by May 15. The device, which costs $145 (with a $20 early bird discount aavailable) is due to ship in October.

The Octodon isn’t the first project that facilitates text input while standing with a rear-facing keyboard. In late 2013, the TrewGrip failed to meet its funding goal but nonetheless made it to market. The Octodon is far smaller than that device, but seems to have an even steeper learning curve. That and its price will loom large as barriers to adoption.

Connected Objects Luggage and Bags

HiSmart bag integrates smartphone to provide cool functions on the go

Watches, ovens, thermostats, lawn sprinklers, it seems like everything is getting smart these days. Why shouldn’t bags join in on the fun?

HiSmart is a smart convertible bag that goes from messenger to backpack in just two seconds. Simply connect a smartphone to the bag and an external remote allows the wearer to accomplish a number of things. For instance, if the wearer wants to remember a certain location, they can pin that spot to a map to find it later. Music and camera controls are also accessible from the remote. HiSmart also makes hands free calling and recording notes or messages easy. In addition, it has a “Buddy System” feature that lets the HiSmart find a lost smartphone and a smartphone find a lost HiSmart.

All in all, HiSmart is a great product for commuters and other important business people who find themselves in motion a lot. It’s a bit unclear how the camera feature works, but everything else makes perfect sense and would definitely prove to be useful. Backers who want their own must donate $189 for delivery in August 2015. HiSmart is looking for $50,000 in funding on Indiegogo by April 15.

Aquatics Imaging

Video Diving System lets divers safely record wonders under the sea

Scuba diving is one of those sports that allow for killer views, like hiking or skydiving. However, unlike other sports, it can be difficult to take photos or record videos underwater.

The Video Diving System is a way for scuba divers to record their underwater adventures safely. This waterproof product consists of a compartment for GoPro, DLSR or smartphone cameras. A stabilizer makes sure that any footage captured is clear, even at night. The System can either be held by its grips on either side of the camera, attached to the diver or placed on a stable surface underwater. For a full list of cameras the Video Diving System is compatible with, check out the Indiegogo campaign.

While this is a product certain to be appreciated by many divers, it’s unclear if the cameras need to be switched on before entering the water and then just left on during the dive. That’s a point the creators may want to address. Still, the Video Diving System seems to have solved the underwater footage problem plaguing many divers. For their own, backers can donate $134 for delivery in August 2015. The funding goal is set for $35,000.

Input Virtual Reality

Among VR headsets, CMoar does more with controls and expansion

Virtual reality headsets are a arriving in all sorts of materials from cardboard to more robust constructions using neoprene or metal. Every variation has its own pros and cons, which is why there are more and more being made every day.

The Cmoar is yet another alternative, aiming to impress with a smartphone-based virtual reality headset that offers 2D and 3D capability with an expansive 105° field-of-view. The team claims that the high-quality sensors inside eliminate uncomfortable drifting by improving the product’s head tracking ability. Although it’s a bit bulky, the wealth of control options on the outside of the device help with the small stuff like navigate menus, control volume, or control a smartphone’s camera. For everything else, USB ports allow for devices like Leap Motion to be installed. A Cmoar headset is $99, and is expected to ship in June 2015 if the $100,000 campaign sees success.

The headset impresses on many fronts, from media content to gaming, but isn’t the first to do so. Products like the Viewbox and Pinć VR offer experiences that aren’t as fully featured but are unique in the type of virtual reality they offer. Something that helps Cmoar is the ability to stream console and PC games right to the headset, along with its proprietary gamepad, a Wiimote rip-off — both of which help differentiate the product from the pack.


Gas-Sense monitors low gas levels, helps protect homes from the cold

Wintertime is tough for those who live in four-season climates. Trying to keep the house warm can mean constant attention to gas and oil levels. And when those run out, it’s up to the oil companies to get to the house ASAP during their busiest time of the year.

patent-claimed Gas-Sense is a solution to that problem. Oil companies use estimates for how much oil or gas a house has left in its supply. However, really cold days can throw that data off. Gas-Sense is a gas sensor for a home’s LPG (liquified petroleum gas). Using Bluetooth LE, the sensor tells the accompanying iOS/Android app how much gas is left. Not only that, but it gives a percentage of the gas left as well as a timeline for when it should be refilled. Gas-Sense runs on a battery that lasts up to two years.

While most oil companies do have a good grasp on gas levels, Gas-Sense is still a nifty product for homeowners who worry. The installation instructions are a little unclear, however. The campaign says to “just slap it on.” Still, backers who want to stay warm no matter what can donate £35 (~$54) for their own Gas-Sense for delivery in June of this year. This product is looking to raise £14,000 (~$21,500) on Kickstarter by March 12.

Health and Wellness

Diabeto makes diabetes easier to manage by syncing glucometer with smartphone

Diabetes affects many people, but the way to manage the disease is fairly basic. Those afflicted must constantly watch their glucometer to make sure they’re safe.

Now, like many other afflictions, diabetes can be monitored with a smartphone. Diabeto is a small device that transmits readings from a glucometer to a smartphone app, Web app, or Pebble smartwatch. That information is then stored in the cloud to make the data accessible from anywhere, which can be “useful for remotely monitoring children’s diabetes by parents or [a] healthcare practitioner,” as the Indiegogo page notes. The app allows one to track their mood, activity, carbohydrates, insulin levels and blood glucose. It was designed to be easy enough for children to use, and is small enough to look almost like a children’s toy.

Backerjack has seen many smart devices that focus on health, such as the Wishbone and Fever Smart. Diabeto joins a successful market and will certainly be useful to those with diabetes. Of course, as with all such devices, accuracy is super important, and if Diabeto errs, the result could be dangerous. Still, Diabeto’s compatibility with both Web apps, smartphone apps and the Pebble watch set it apart from similar products that only work with smartphones. For their own, backers must donate $59. Diabeto is hoping to raise $10,000 on Indiegogo.


Ora adds aura to wireless chargers, turns charging devices upside down

Wireless chargers are the most important accessories for wireless devices, but they tend to be rather indistinct and boring from a design standpoint. Ora is a unique-looking wireless charger/power bank that is oval-shaped and sleek-looking, coming in a combination of white and one other color of the buyer’s choice.

patent-claimedA sliding panel allows the user to pull out the hidden outlet plug and USB adapter. Ora gets plugged into a wall outlet, and the user can opt to plug a wireless device into it via a charging cable or directly into Ora’s spring-loaded connection port. It is compatible with the iPhone 5 and 6, iPod Touch and Nano, and all Android and Windows Mobile smartphones—and the charger will hold each device upside down safely. Backers who pledge $30 will get one charger when it ships in July as part of an early bird Kickstarter discount. Ora is hoping to raise $60,000 in funding.

The charger certainly looks unlike rival products, but it’s not clear how many consumers will spend extra money for a charger mainly for its nice design. Nor is it clear how many consumers will feel comfortable enough to plug their expensive smartphone into Ora upside down, especially if the wall outlet is far off the ground.

Cell Phone Accessories Health and Wellness

Wishbone smart thermometer measures temperature without touching

Temperature-taking is one of the best ways to monitor one’s health. Various thermometers can be used to detect one’s temperature, including ones that go in the mouth, ear, or, well, other places.

Wishbone is a non-contact thermometer. The little green device plugs directly into a smartphone’s headphone adapter. With an iOS/Android-compatible app, one can measure temperature and store such data for reference at a later time. The Kickstarter campaign boasts how Wishbone is excellent to use with babies or any other finicky patient. In addition, this device can measure ambient temperature or the temperature of any object as well. One will cost backers $26 for estimated delivery in April 2015. Wishbone is looking to raise $20,000 on Kickstarter.

The market has been flooded with smart health devices, including MOCAheart which was recently covered on Backerjack. Wishbone will do well as an easy-to-use non-contact device. However, it would behoove the creators to look into adding some more features to their app.

Tablet Accessories

Gerp Mount alleviates tablet shoulders, has many more tricks up its sleeves

patent-claimedAs comfortable as smartphones are to hold, tablets unfortunately don’t enjoy the same reputation. With the increased size comes an increased strain on the arms, shoulder, and neck of the user holding it up, causing a sense of discomfort that can’t easily be addressed.

The Gerp Mount is looking to relieve the issue with its ergonomically-constructed, rugged utility mount. Although it’s primarily advertised as a tablet grip and hands-free stand, the Gerp’s versatility truly shines in the variety of ways a user can use it outside of a tablet. To be frank, using it as a tablet grip is pretty redundant in most cases, but using it as a makeshift clothes rack or attaching a GoPro or a GPS to the grip makes so much more useful in places like the home and the car. The downside to all the different attachments necessary to do so is the loss of overall focus, simplicity, and aesthetic appeal as a result.

Those who are attached to their tablet with welcome the $80 Gerp Mount and set of accessories with open palms. The $15,000 campaign is looking to ship the product by April 2015.

Chargers/Batteries Nutrition/Hydration

EFFIC mug holds coffee, charges smartphones too

For people on the go, a typical morning routine may include grabbing a coffee and checking smartphones. If that’s the case, the EFFIC mug may be the solution the connected crowd did not know they were looking for. The mug combines a traditional thermos with the utility of a smartphone charger all in one.

The mug comes in a variety of bright colors and is molded with an indent designed to hold a device with the help of a magnet. The other side of the magnet attaches directly to the smartphone. EFFIC uses an external lithium-ion battery that can fully charge a device up to three times. The inner container is made out of stainless steel and BPA-free plastic.

While it may be nice to have a device nestled in the side of a coffee mug, users may not want their smartphones right next to liquid. The company touts a leak-free lid, but most thermoses leak anyway. Pledging $5 or more gets backers the EFFIC mug for delivery in May 2015. The campaign is looking to raise at least $58,000 on Kickstarter.