Personal Transportation

A Segway evolved, RevoBot lets you roll on to wherever

Remember the Segway? It was touted as revolutionizing personal transportation device, but ended up being the preferred ride of Hollywood mall cops. Still, the bulky and expensive device inspired many to come up with something between a bicycle and a car.

RevoBot is a relatively lightweight, single-axle, two-wheeled balancing personal transporter that allows users to travel up to seven miles per hour. The Bluetooth-enabled device can be connected to a smartphone, enabling users to listen to music while traveling. Other features include a Samsung lithium ion battery that takes two hours to charge, along with LED lights for safety in the dark and low-light environments. It is being offered in a choice of five color options. RevoBot will retail for $1,000 and ships in September. Its maker set an Indiegogo campaign goal of raising $20,000 by August 4.

The intelligent body gravity board doesn’t feature any handles, so it could be harder to operate RevoBot than a Segway. But RevoBot’s maker says it’s easy to learn, with the average time for a beginner to get used to it only about 10-15 minutes. Larger drawbacks for some consumers could be the fact that it’s only been tested for users up to 230 pounds, and that it can only travel 10-12 miles on one charge. Of lesser concern is that although it was designed for indoor and outdoor use, its tires weren’t designed to be used on dirt roads. All in all, RevoBot seems like a fun gadget for the well-balanced to possibly save some time dashing through buildings.


Pixeom keeps your files in the cloud, you in the loop

The Premise. These days, it seems just about every company out there wants you to keep your files in their “cloud,” or share and collaborate with your friends and coworkers using their tools. But whether you pick Google, or Microsoft, or Apple, or Adept, or Box, or Amazon, or some other random cloud provider, where is your data stored? Who really has access to it? And what happens when they have an outage? Wouldn’t it be nice if you could store your own data, and still get all those benefits of cloud collaboration, without having to set up your own massive server farm?

The Product. “Take back ownership of your data,” say the developers of Pixeom, a cloud-in-the-palm-of-your-hand device that makes it practical for consumers to host their own server appliances. The securely encrypted and hugely expandable gizmo can stand on its own as an entirely private sandbox for you and your friends to play in, or can join a global “personal exchange network” of Pixeom devices talking to one another.

The Pitch. Pixeom’s brother-and-sister creators use their pitch video to talk about the benefits of storing your information yourself and hosting your own apps and discussions. They’ve developed hardware based on the Raspberry Pi embedded Linux platform and software to match, and they’re looking for funding to get from the prototype stage to full production of their device. Among other tasks ahead is to optimize the software for better performance.

The Perks. The interesting rewards start at $75, where you get the Pixeom software on an SD card to install on your own Raspberry Pi device, and for $125 and up you can pick up their Raspberry Pi-based hardware when it’s ready. Bonuses for higher pledges include faster hardware, a 1 TB external hard drive, and even user interface and exterior design customization, topping out at $5,000, which nets you a VIP invite to their launch party.

The Potential. Google, Apple, and Dropbox have all provided the kind of cloud service that many consumers want, where they don’t have to think about where it is, how much it costs to run, or what to do if a component fails, and don’t mind trading away their eyeballs for advertising or their loyalty to an app ecosystem. The little product has predecessors in the likes of PogoPlug, the Connected Data Transporter, and connected hard drives such as the WD My Cloud. Still, particularly for open source advocates, Pixeom is a compelling product for consumers and small businesses who want a little more control over where their stuff is, don’t want to commit to a particular company’s apps or ads, and don’t mind putting a little effort and attention into maintaining such a service for themselves.