Connected Objects Toys

It’s your very own light show with the GLOW smart cubes

If someone didn’t know any better, they’d think cubes were the only form crowdfunding campaigns were aware of. With such a large variety of already clever cube-shaped devices like the Sugr Cube wireless speaker to the LED-studded Cuberox, it takes something truly innovative to stand out.

The GLOW interactive smart cubes try to do so but fall a little flat. They react to music and gestures, lighting up in a wide array of colors at various levels of luminosity depending on the stimulus. The company behind GLOW, Yume Cloud Inc., envisions it being used as a device to be played with, a piece of decorative flair for the home or even larger events like weddings, or simply as a visual accompaniment to music at, say, a concert. A set of two GLOW cubes is going for $106 and is expected in April 2016 should its $20,000 goal be met by February 3rd, 2016.

While the accompanying iOS/Android app can be used to play games with the cubes, the product seems like a throwaway. It doesn’t bring anything completely new to the table. Backers would most likely want something with a bit more functionality, and the GLOW doesn’t quite deliver.


Sugr Cube wireless speaker plays music, offers sweet touch functionality

There are many Wi-Fi speakers on the market, but other than doing away with wires, they tend to work very much like old-fashioned wired speakers.

The China-based creators of the Sugr Cube Wi-Fi speaker have designed their product to directly stream online music, while also offering intuitive touch control functionality. The user just has to tap the speaker to play or pause a song, tilt it left or right for the next or prior song, double tap it to share the current song with those who have paired their own Sugr Cubes, and touch it and leave the hand there to share the current song with Facebook friends

The companion iOS app enables easy Wi-Fi setup, multi-room control, sleeping mode and alarm, and the ability to keep updating the speaker with new features. Android and other unspecified devices will be supported soon. Sugr Cube, which comes in wooden housing, currently supports iTunes music, Pandora and BBC radio. Other services may be added later. Backers who pledge $119 will get the speaker when it ships in June as part of an early bird Kickstarter discount. Its maker is looking to raise $50,000.

The speaker has a lot of promise. Although there are other Wi-Fi speakers that offer some degree of touch control, like the Aether Cone, Sugr Cube uses the feature more extensively. But it faces the same problem as any other speaker sold online by a new company: There is no way to gauge how good it sounds without hearing it in person.