Cell Phone Accessories Chargers/Batteries

Tinbot Designs seeks to charge your iPhone with your movements

When it comes to a phone battery, the mere thought of running out of power is almost unthinkable for millions of people. Because of that, inventors have searched for any way to keep our beloved devices turned on at all costs. TinBot Designs is an Afghanistan-based company that has a unique new idea in this field: use ambient noise and movement to keep an iPhone battery charged little by little. Using a pizeoelectric effect that takes this noise and motion to stretch small rods, an electrical charge is created that can keep a battery charged.

All of this is accomplished in a small case that fits snugly around the iPhone without bulking the product up or creating something extra that needs to be carried around with the phone. This product is still in such an early stage that it lacks a name, and TinBot Designs are still looking for a transducer to make this project work at their standards. Their campaign is raising $5,000 to continue product testing to make this wonder charger a reality. At this time, no reward tiers offer the product itself. It’s a really interesting and unique idea, but there isn’t enough hard progress to consider for the average consumer.

Cell Phone Accessories

SounDish parabolic audio enhancer will crank up sound output, won’t receive DirecTV

The sound engineer in all of us instinctively knows to cup smartphones with our palms to increase the volume of the random cat video. With that idea, the SoundDish was born. The product is as a passive acoustic amplifier and, like your hands, needs no electrical source to function. No matter where you take it, the SounDish’s design will double the sound coming out of a smartphone if its odd shape doesn’t get in the way of getting it there in the first place. Something as low-tech as this is certainly welcome if the sound quality is worth it. Otherwise, a bluetooth speaker and a pack of batteries can run you less than its $40 asking price — even at the expense of being at the whim of temporary power. The creators of the SounDish are looking for a $30,000 infusion to bring their idea to market. One will cost backers $40 with delivery in February 2015.

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.


Lighting Music

LumaPlay Speakers do the wooing for you with fly beats and soft lighting

LumaPlayTo set the mood, it’s necessary to combine sound and good lighting for that special someone. Now you can control both with one easy product: LumaPlay Speakers. These speakers allow you to play HD music as well as control light shows from your smartphone. The LED lights can change color and always go along with the beat of the song. For $399, backers can enjoy these decked out speakers. For diehard music and lighting fans, these speakers may just be the way to go, if you’re willing to spend the money. LumaPlay hopes to raise $75,000 on Kickstarter.

Tech Accessories

SoundVerter redirects, amplifies anemic flat-panel TV audio

SoundVerterWith flat-panel TVs getting ever thinner and cheaper, it’s no wonder that their audio quality leaves a lot to be desired. Speakers on these televisions are pointed at the ground, so the sound goes down instead of out towards the viewer. The SoundVerter is a simple product that sits directly below flatscreen’s speakers and directs sound towards viewers. This accessory uses the basic rules of acoustics to improve sound quality on televisions, much like Ears does for the Surface.  One pair SoundVerters costs $75 with an estimated delivery date of June 2014. This product needs to raise $20,000 in a 60-day Kickstarter campaign.

Tablet Accessories

Ears augment Surface’s sound, match its covers

EarsNeed a boost to your Surface’s sound without buying crazy expensive speakers? The iPad has had a number of silicone speaker enhancements and now the Surface has a stereo answer of its own. Ears offers a simple solution to your quiet woes. This product pair attach to the Surface tablet’s speakers on each corner to amplify the sound that comes out. Ears are designed to direct the sound to the user in front instead of towards the back. This nifty product comes in seven colors  to match Microsoft’s colors and is available for the Surface 2 or Pro 2 for $10 with an estimated delivery date of June 2014. Hopefully in the future. Ears hopes to raise $5,500 on Kickstarter in its 30-day campaign.

Health and Wellness

iHear brings down the cost of hearing help

The Premise. The acoustics of life shouldn’t require a lofty price. Yet, what most of us take for granted as just another sense is a commodity that others don’t have access to due to a hearing disability. A high quality hearing aid is very expensive, and it’s a barrier that keeps one in five Americans from buying hearing aids that dig deep into their wallets.

The Product. Regardless of whether you use an iPhone or iPad, the iHear is a comfortable hearing aid that delivers crisp and clear sound. It’s waterproof, completely invisible to outside viewers, and can be adjusted to have a perfect fit within your ear in less than a minute. It offers everything that a person with a hearing disability needs, but can do so at the fraction of the cost. The low price/high quality combination makes this hearing aid much more accessible to the average consumer, and thus it gives access to sound to a much larger percentage of the population with a hearing disability.

The Pitch. Both the Indiegogo campaign and the video show that iHear is truly passionate about making hearing aids more affordable. The creators go into depth about what is included, and how customers know that they’re getting reliable hearing aids. Supporting the mission of iHear are the stories of testers who have already changed to the hearing aid. They echo the sentiment of supplying a cheaper competitor for high quality sound delivery.

The Perks. iHear gives plenty of opportunity for anyone to support their campaign and the effort to give access to hearing to more people. The iHear HD can still be claimed at its early bird price of just $149, but the hearing aid will then be priced at a reasonable $200. For those who don’t have a hearing disability, there are plenty of ways to get involved. iHear also has a philanthropic campaign of trying to deliver 1000 hearing devices for free. Pledgers can donate $10 to that cause or pay $379 to get two hearing aids for you and two hearing aids for a person in need.

iHear has also developed a PC-based hearing test that can be administered that is available at $49. Lastly, for those looking to support iHear, you can pick up earphones designed for your smartphone and MP3 player for just $39. It’s currently anticipated that the iHear devices will start being available in August 2014.

The Potential. iHear Medical has a product on its hands that means all the best for improving the lives of people with a hearing disability, but the question is whether or not people without a hearing disability are willing to pledge. iHear still needs to get FDA approval for its products, and then the task will be to challenge the six companies that control the market for these medical devices with higher-priced product.