Cell Phone Accessories Smartwatches/Bands

Nudge filters calls and texts so only important ones come in, nudges you into being social

Smartphones run our daily lives, providing us with calls, texts, e-mails, reminders, and other conveniences. As such, it’s tempting to keep a close eye on the phone to make sure that absolutely nothing is missed. However, no one likes hanging out with someone glued to their phone all the time.

Nudge is a system made so that the phone can stay put away until something really important comes up. This rubbery bracelet features notification lights to alert the wearer to an important call, text, e-mail, calendar reminder, etc. It connects via Bluetooth to an app that allows for notification customization. For instance, it’s possible to allow calls from a boss to come through to the bracelet or texts from kids. Each type of incoming communication can be given either a green light on the bracelet or red. The bracelet features a “shut up” button that lets the phone be silenced if the call is deemed ignorable.

We’ve seen many other bracelets and jewelry and home goods of this type like the Ringly. While certainly a good idea, Nudge fails to live up to its counterparts. Other systems allow for vibrations and lights so that different patterns can be set for different types of notifications. Nudge is unisex, which male backers may appreciate as most other types are for women only, but Nudge will need to push farther to really compete. Backers can have their own for a donation of £29 (~$46) with estimated delivery set for August 2015. Nudge is hoping to raise £35,000 (~$55,000) on Kickstarter.

Connected Objects Cooking

Ricewise is the connected rice cooker of your sushi-making dreams

Most everyone can agree that there’s really nothing like a freshly cooked, warm bowl of rice. Unfortunately, with our lives as rushed as they are, we sometimes can’t find the time to clean and cook the rice, leaving us to confide in the powers of a rice cooker. A staple in many kitchens for over 50 years, rice cookers are always useful, but haven’t really caught up to our modern age quite yet.

Enter Ricewise, the connected rice cooker you send a text to. You don’t send it to have a chat, though: a text message starts the process of cooking rice stored in its three kilogram chamber. With the capacity to also hold five liters of water, Ricewise can cook rice for up to 18 people without having to add anything else, leaving you to worry about everything else. If it is low on either rice or water, it will also remind you to refill it too. Interested backers will have to possibly consider charging for meals: the Ricewise’s campaign price is $492, saving $457 off the final retail price. If enough people can stomach that price without seeing a prototype, the company’s $25,000 goal should be piece of rice cake.

Connected Objects

SCROL LED display lets you text your tiny version of Times Square

Dynamic signage is a great way to provide up to date information to customers or employees on a variety of deals, offers, wait time, or safety information, but programming new messages in takes time and an understanding of how the device works. SCROL LED is a standard LED scrolling text display box that can be mounted anywhere, with the key differences of a SIM card and an antenna to receive text messages. These messages are then displayed on the device, scrolling as they are received. Additionally, other controls for the device are tweaked the same way, from setting default messages, deleting all the backed up messages on the card, or adjusting the brightness of the LEDs.

This allows for quick and easy updating of a sign even from a distance to communicate messages to an entire group of people or publicly as they are received. SCROL LED needs £10,000 (~$15,600) to become available, and buyers can grab one for £140 (~$220). At this time, orders in the United States will not be fulfilled due to a lack of FCC certification. The amount of people still needing a scrolling LED sign of this size is low, just like the need for this device.

Cell Phone Accessories Travel

Navdy lets drivers stay connected without taking their eyes off the road

The Premise. No matter how many advantages a smartphone can have in terms of communication, navigation, and information, all of these things can become dangerous while operating a motor vehicle. Hands-free sets and dashboard mounts only fix part of the problem: using them still requires taking eyes off the road.

The Product. Navdy is a dashboard-mounted device, it’s true, but instead of being mounted in the center of the car’s console, Navdy goes behind the steering wheel. From there, it projects an image onto a mirror which reflects it back onto a windshield at a simulated distance of a few meters away, offering access to data about speed, direction, navigation, and incoming texts and calls without ever taking eyes off the road. Navdy is controlled with a mixture of voice recognition and hand gestures, allowing drivers to safely talk, text, and even tweet in a way that is arguably safer than any other alternative.

The Pitch. Navdy’s pitch video is an instant classic, and fans of videos for apps like Summly and Push For Pizza will recognize the humorous, casual style of the video in this introduction as well. The Web site for Navdy is standard pre-order fare, with lots of quality information and large, stylish images. The layout fits the content so well because the video does such a supreme job of entertaining and making visitors curious enough to scroll all the way through the data down to the ordering page.

The Perks. Navdy can pre-ordered at a discount, costing supporters just $299, with an expected shipping date early in 2015.

The Potential. Potential for Navdy is huge, both for its success and for future devices to reverse engineer it and add a feature here or a different UI there. Still, this feature set, the well-designed interface and interaction via voice and motion, and the combination of utility and safety will make Navdy a huge hit from soccer moms all the way up to commercial drivers. If Navdy only offered navigation tools, it would be useful enough to be a niche product, but by offering a complete front-end for any smartphone experience, there probably isn’t a single driver on the road who couldn’t make use of Navdy in their daily lives. Even better that it does all this without cluttering or obscuring all those other drivers out in the real world.

Cell Phone Accessories Lighting

MyHue delivers notifications with soothing, customizable lights

myhueLooking at your phone to read incoming notifications is already an outdated concept. MyHue, like many other one-pixel displays, uses different colors or flashing patterns to turn a piece of modern art into an informative light fixture. The colors and shades can be customized, as can the materials that the light travels through to let you know when your phone is a-buzz. Additionally, the MyHue uses induction charging to keep devices powered. It’s not the first time a device like this has been crowdfunded, and it’s not even the most fully-featured of its kind. The fact that the product grew dull before its 2-minute pitch video was done speaks volumes. MyHue goes out to backers that pledge $60 in October 2014 and will be successful upon reaching its $45,000 goal on Kickstarter.

Cell Phone Accessories Displays

LEDmeKnow signals the calls you should take

The Premise. Folks these days are busy busy busy with work, family and friends. As a result, we’re constantly attached to our phones, anxious to miss an important call or message. It can be frustrating, however, to feel the need to check the phone all the time. It’s important for people to relax away from their phones and enjoy the company of those they’re with, without worrying about missing anything.

The Product. The LEDmeKnow is a smart LED light box that works with your smartphone. Like a flat Rubik’s Cube, it has a face covered with nine squares in different colors. Each color is programmable to be attached to either certain recipients or certain websites. For instance, the blue light can indicate all Facebook notifications while the red light indicates that a call, e-mail or text is being received from one’s boss. The box is completely customizable for your needs. Each light will remain on until the call, e-mail or notification is dealt with so that one doesn’t have to be constantly staring at it. In addition, it doesn’t need to be close to the phone to work. the LEDmeKnow also features long battery life and only needs to be charged once a month.

The Pitch. LEDmeKnow’s campaign begins with a video of everything wrong with checking your phone at all times. In the dramatization, this guy can’t be bothered to look at his super hot girlfriend because he is too ensconced in his phone. The rest of the campaign features a comparison with a similar product and how the LEDmeKnow is (much) better. This smart cube hopes to raise $30,000 in a 30-day campaign on Kickstarter.

The Perks. Early birds get the box for $55, while punctual and late birds must pay $60 and $65 respectively for the special Kickstarter prices. This Ukranian product promises delivery by November 2014 and offers free shipping to the USA. 

The Potential. As stated in their very own campaign, LEDmeKnow is aware that it isn’t the first product of its kind out there. The L8 SmartLight is very similar to the LEDmeKnow and was successfully funded on Kickstarter in August 2012. According to the campaign, however, the L8 had problems with low battery life, crashing, inability to stay synced with the phone and the product didn’t ship when promised. Also, it displayed each notification for only a few seconds, so the user had to remain glued to the box which rendered it slightly silly. All in all, the LEDmeKnow is a great option for men and women looking to enjoy the moment as the market has plenty of options exclusively for the ladies like the Ringly smart ring. While it may not be particularly useful in public, this product is great for those evening and weekend moments when phones become tiresome to deal with.

Tech Accessories

Privus encrypts digital communication to keep it from prying eyes

PrivusWith whistleblowers raising issue with online security from hackers and governments alike, encryption can be an important tool to protect privacy. The Privus system allows users to encrypt their emails, chats, and texts easily for complete privacy. All you need to know is in the first second of the video, as a CIA and NSA Surveillance Contractor declares the Privus encryption unbeatable. For a pledge of $25, backers can get access to Privus email encryption with a year’s subscription to Privus Premier. Those who want safe physical storage can add on a 16GB USB drive with Cipher-Key application for a total of $65.