Connected Objects Imaging

XY Share It squares up photos with your circle of friends

Since the dawn of the digital camera and years into the smartphones imaging revolution that launched billions of photos around the Internet, syncing up photos with friends, family and fellow party guests is a game of jumping through digital hoops using a barrage of services with different tradeoffs: Facebook, Dropbox, Google Photos, iCloud photo sharing and on and on.

XY Share It offers a twist on photo sharing that addresses the sometimes surprisingly difficulty in sharing photos with mobile devices that may be right next to you. By introducing a small Bluetooth gadget similar to the locator tags (such as the one created by the company) that have deluged crowdfunding platforms, one can easily and securely share photo with those who have the tag. Essentially, the small squareish device acts as an authentication device.

Connected Objects Technology Wearables

Multifunction dog tag boosts luck of finding lost pooch

Dog owners dread the idea of losing their pooch. So, the idea of a smart, wearable device is a no-brainer for many pet owners.

The new Lucky Tag, developed by Los Angeles-based Beaconpliance, is a dog wearable device that combines three main features into one. The on-collar tag can be used as a tracking device to find a missing dog, but also offers location-based service social functionality among nearby dog owners, along with pet healthcare functions. The tag uses beacon technology to help users find their dogs. Each device has a unique ID configured for each dog and constantly sends out a Bluetooth signal as far as 250 feet for Android and iOS smartphones nearby to detect and locate the ID.

The “Find My Dog’ feature helps users locate their missing pooches with the collaborative efforts of Lucky Tag devices nearby. Lucky Tag owners can also exchange contact info with each other, enhancing the device’s social functionality. The device, meanwhile, tracks and logs each dog’s activity level and ambient temperature, and syncs the data with the user’s smartphone. Early bird backers can get a Lucky Tag by pledging as little as $29 and are expected to get the device in February. Beaconpliance is looking to raise $40,000.

Lucky Tag supposedly consumes less power than similar devices like Pawda and Tagg that use GPS technology. But GPS devices cover a much larger area. As Beaconpliance concedes on its Kickstarter campaign, the biggest challenge with beacon technology is that it relies on the collaborative support and power of a mass community. That means unless many consumers buy the device for their dogs, a key part of its functionality will not work well. That is a major downside of the device. But the relatively low pricing may be enough of an incentive for some consumers to buy one.


Stone Tether will help you find your stuff, even at your neighbor’s house

Technology has reached a point where networked items can find each other when lost. Locator tags are the bridge between older analog items and the digital age of today.

StoneTether is the next entry into the crowdfunded locator tag market. With a minimal, stylish design, waterproofing up to 30 feet, and the ability to be attached or clipped to any kind of item, StoneTether is meant to keep prized possessions from going missing, including kids or pets. When the registered phone goes out of range of a StoneTether tag, it pushes a notification to the phone and reports the location up to 500 feet. Additionally, if anyone else has a StoneTether tag and app combination and passes by a lost item beyond that radius, the item will daisy chain itself to the other tag and push a notification reporting the location, meaning more tags make items easier to find. StoneTether is raising $15,000 as they complete the software and start production. A StoneTether tag is just $20 and will be available in April 2015.

While this is not the first device like this, StoneTether offers a sense of simple style and strong functionality to create a worthy competitor in the field of locators.

Connected Objects Pets

Iota teams up with more of its kind to track anything

The Premise. Tagging something so that it won’t be lost can be done any number of ways, from something as simple to a tag with contact information to microchips and affixed GPS trackers. Now it’s time to know more than simply where something is; it’s time to know where it’s headed and what condition it’s in.

The Product. Iota is a small GPS tracker only slightly larger than a quarter that packs a lot of data processing power underneath its tiny hood. With the ability to be attached to any material, Iota can report the location of a pet, child, bicycle, or key ring. An alarm can be triggered through the Iota app in case it’s hiding in plain sight, and a variety of sensors can push notifications if something’s wrong. With an accelerometer and a temperature sensor, Iota can report if a dog needs to get out of the sun or can be put on a door frame to alert owners to someone entering their home. The Home Base attachment can be set up in a home and offers GPS tracking in four miles in every direction, and can also communicate with other Home Bases in the coverage area to cover even more ground.

The Pitch. Iota’s simple design aesthetic carries over into its pitch video, which chooses to demonstrate the different features of the device as opposed to being flashy or needlessly over-produced. The campaign itself covers the features of each of the unique profiles and how to set up an Iota more thoroughly to demonstrate how simple it is to keep track of the things that matter. Iotera, the maker of Iota, is looking to raise a whopping $250,000 to create molds, get the proper certifications, and go into production.

The Perks. An Iota with Home Base and accessories to attach it to any number of things can be picked up for $99 with a shipping date of January 2015. A second Iota tag is added to the package at the $169 level, and a third at $249. The tags and Home Bases continue to multiply as the reward tiers get more and more expensive.

The Potential. If Iota simply tracked, it would be easy to say that there are a number of other options that would do its job just as well, but because the device is flexible enough to be a pet monitor, a home security system, and more, Iota is an exciting prospect that deserves support, and once it hits the market, some lucky things may never go missing again.

Cell Phone Accessories Sensors/IoT

Duet won’t let your phone out of its sight

The Premise. There’s nothing quite as worrisome as the panic that sets in after realizing there is no longer a smartphone in the pocket it belongs in. There’s also few ways to figure out where a lost phone has gotten to without the help of somebody who wants to do the right thing. Now there’s a device to put an end to both problems.

The Product. The PROTAG Duet is a simple tag that uses Bluetooth Low Energy as it rests on any clothes, bags, wallets, or anything else. When the registered phone goes ten meters outside the Duet’s range, an alarm goes off to let users know that their phone is not currently with them. Once within range, a button on the Duet will cause the phone to ring, even if it’s in silent mode. There are privacy options to keep any alarms from going off in professional environments, and what’s best is the device works both ways. If a Duet owner puts the tag on their wallet and then drops the wallet, the PROTAG app on the phone will alert the user and tell them as they get closer and closer to where the item is located.

The Pitch. The campaign video features a likable yet forgetful young man who constantly loses his phone until the Duet changes things. The campaign itself goes into more details about the technology included in Duet and some of the other features such as the ability to track up to 10 tags with the iOS or Android companion apps. PROTAG wants to raise $5,000 to reduce production costs by ordering components in bulk.

The Perks. Duets are available for pledges as low as $17 plus $5 shipping outside Singapore, impressive considering the proposed $59 retail price. Higher tiers are available which offer a discount on batch ordering. Duet is expected to ship between May and June of this year.

The Potential. There are a lot of devices like these coming out that are designed to help people stop losing their items using Bluetooth, NFC, or just plain human decency. Duet looks to be a little more sophisticated than many because of its two-way performance. Whether losing a phone and getting an alert in time to grab it, or dropping a wallet and using a phone to locate it, Duet can handle it. It’s not the most precise method, and it might still require some hard searching, but it’s better than having no information on where to find lost items.

Connected Objects Technology

Tagtalk lets gift tags deliver a digital surprise

tagtalkAs any gentleman knows, sending a card with a gift is imperative for the opportunity it provides to share a sentiment. But what if gift givers could record videos, songs, pictures or other surprise content to enhance the gift? Tagtalk has just that idea in mind, combining QR codes and NFC to sync up to cloud-based uploads. These colorful gift tags can be attached to any present and make giving a gift more personal, even from thousands of miles away. It’s hard not to get ideas of how to use these tags to surprise friends and loved ones after watching the campaign video. A Tagtalk tag is available for as little as $6 CAD and launches in August.