Food and Beverage

Tealightful timer times brewing tea, makes the perfect cuppa’

There is an art to brewing tea. Many tea shops recommend certain water temperatures and, more importantly, specific brewing times for different types of tea to get that perfectly brewed cup.

Tealightful takes the guesswork out of brewing time for tea. This product looks like any standard tea ball and the user can insert their own teabags, loose leaf tea, or herbs of their own choosing. To set the brewing time, just twist Tealightful and drop in the water. When the time is up, the ball automatically closes making sure that the tea doesn’t steep for too long. Tealightful is long with a handle that makes gripping easy and comes in white, beige, black or gray.

This is a nifty little product, plenty useful for those who love tea. All tea comes with instructions on brewing time and Tealightful makes it super simple to follow these instructions. Backers can have their very own for a donation of $25 on Kickstarter. If Tealightful can reach its $40,000 goal, backers will receive theirs by June 2015.

Connected Objects Cooking

ChefBot helps you whip up your next delight; prevents burning

Generally, there are two ways a kitchen can be thought of. It can be the soothing, relaxing part of the home where delicious, homemade meals are prepared. Or it can be the part of the home where the refrigerator, toaster oven, and microwave are located. Unfortunately, the latter rings true for most. As easy as any cooking show makes it seem, the process of creating a meal from scratch is loaded with subtlety essential to the recipe itself. However, most people don’t have the magic touch, making cooking difficult and arduous.

The ChefBot may look like a regular kitchen scale, but hiding within is a Bluetooth-enabled kitchen assistant. This device weighs ingredients, provides a running calorie count of them, and leads users through any recipe uploaded into the device with the ChefBot companion app for iOS or Android, all while streaming music through Bluetooth. The device’s stainless steel construction houses multiple voices or a TFT display that communicates this information a user, and everything is built to be water-resistant to avoid unseemly accidents from seriously damaging the unit. The Bluetooth version of the ChefBot is $99, while the Wi-Fi unit is $149. ChefBot is expected to ship April 2015 provided the campaign raises $50,000.

The glut of connected kitchen objects makes it seem like no one in America can cook. Whether that’s true or not remains to be seen, but there is certainly a variety of them. The ChefBot’s design is underwhelming, but the actual product is priced well, offering just enough functionality to be valuable. Its choice of material makes it superior to Drop, another scale that seeks to lend a helping hand but it does so while connected to an iPad, a device people might not want in the kitchen at all.

Technology Wearables

Timer Smart Ring unlocks doors, phones and hearts

Fitness tends to be the main application featured in smart wearable devices. But the maker of the Timer Smart Ring is focusing on other uses for its device, including the ability to use the ring to open intelligent door locks, unlock mobile phone screens, or pass along digital business cards to other mobile phones using NFC technology.

The ring supports most intelligent door locks on the market that use 13.56 MHz, including locks made by Samsung. Users can set the ring to unlock the screen of select mobile phones, whether or not the phone already uses other unlocking systems, such as a gesture code or password. The ring is compatible with Android and Windows smartphones, but not iOS. As shown in the campaign’s somewhat corny video, the ring can also be used to make romantic connections in public places by taking advantage of the device’s NFC. The ring designed for male customers is made with titanium, while the female version is made of 18K rose gold. Its maker is looking to raise €39,000 (~$48,600). Backers who pledge €39 (~$49) will get a ring in a choice of black or white.

Unlike similar products such as the Arcus fitness ring, the Timer Smart Ring actually looks similar to a fairly standard metal ring.  That, and its reasonable price, will make it especially appealing to some male consumers who wouldn’t be caught dead wearing some of the other smart rings on the market that seem to be designed only for female users. But the device’s unmemorable, and even downright strange, name stands to make it a tough sell. An even bigger challenge, however, is its lack of iOS support.




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.