Chargers/Batteries Music

The Ripcord USB cable powers all your musical gadgets anywhere

For the roving musician, inspiration can strike anywhere. The good news is that there’s never been a better for this to happen, with a plethora of options — both digital and analog — for playing and recording music. The bad news is that all of this equipment, from guitar pedals, amps, synths and keyboards to mixers, MIDI recorders, and tuners, all need to be powered by batteries that are too expensive or power outlets that may not be compatible or not there at all.

The team behind the Ripcord believe that due to its ubiquity, USB power is the future. To take advantage of the fact that most people carry already carry with the USB chargers, power banks, laptops, and smartphones all with USB ports, the Ripcord was developed to be a plug-and-play power cord that allows the standard 5V output of USB ports to charge musical equipment requiring 9V.

Tech Accessories

Cypod flash drive takes four types of data for a spin

USB flash drives are important tools for computer users, enabling them to save photos, text and video data, and conveniently take that information anywhere without having to schlep a PC around. But not all memory sticks are created equal. Many of them are small and can be easily lost, while others can be unreliable and many can only fit a small amount of data.

Cypod is a cylindrical flash drive that promises reliability and the ability to hold a huge amount of data. It also adds something missing from typical USB flash drives: the ability to, like a traditional hard drive, partition four separate types of data. Each partitioned area can be selected by rotating the device to access the four separate USB sticks that have been incorporated into its design.


Sirius B makes a pocketable PC the star of you mobile world

As powerful as smartphones and tablets have become, they’re still nowhere near desktop class. So for all the situations where desktops are necessary, the smartphone is a decent stopgap, although it  inexplicably can’t perform many of the same functions as well are they desk-bound counterparts.

The Sirius B combines some pretty decent technical specifications— an Intel Atom Bay Trail quad-core processor with 2GB of RAM, 2 USB ports, HDMI 1.4 out, 32GB of flash storage, dual band Wi-Fi, a 3.5mm audio jack, and Bluetooth connectivity—all in a slim, smartphone-esque design that comes in at just 4.2oz.

Imaging Networking

U+ flash drive forms a triple threat for storage, charging and selfies

USB flash drives are extremely handy. But there are many of them on the market and the makers of several more of them have recently sought funding via crowdsourcing, including the Reversible USB Adapter.

patent-claimedWhat separates U+ is that the hybrid device serves not only as a wireless USB flash drive, but also a multimedia hub, external charger and a selfie shutter. For the latter functionality, it integrates with Android and iOS smartphone and tablet cameras to create a selfie shutter that activates at the click of a button on the U+. The campaign touts that it’s built with a Qualcomm CPU and Samsung RAM, and supports 1080p video.


ATOM battery pack charges everything under the sun and then some

One of the biggest issues with the many pieces of technology that make life so much more enjoyable, productive, and fulfilling is their incessant need for electricity. Everyone has experienced that moment where their laptop, phone, or wearable was on the cusp of death, instantly ruining future plans. In this day and age, that just shouldn’t happen.

The team behind the ATOM is on a mission to make sure of that. The ATOM is an small, unassuming black box comprised of a universal power outlet and a battery pack with a rapid charging USB port. The battery pack’s tiny size betrays its monstrous capacity for power — 30,000 mAh to be exact.

Input Music

The Oval percussion instrument rounds out digital music making

For many, the idea of learning a musical instrument inspires fear and dread. As such, many make attempts at smoothing the learning curve associated with it by using technology to rethink everything instruments can do. The Oval digital music instrument continues that trend in an effort to empower anyone to both learn and play music.

The Oval is inspired by the Hang, a percussion instrument based on the physical principals as the steelpan. The instrument sits on the lap, and is covered in a circular ring of seven multi-sensing, pressure-sensitive pads, with a single pad in the middle. Its MIDI-compliant design gives users the choice to use Oval with its iOS/Android app, or any other music creation software like Ableton. No matter the choice, a user can change the type of instrument being played, change scales, add effects, loop sounds live, and even upload their own sounds.

Food and Beverage

Nano Heated Wireless Mug keeps it hotter for longer

No morning is complete without a cup of hot coffee. The big challenge is always figuring out how to keep that coffee hot all throughout the morning.

patent-claimedThe Nano Heated Wireless Mug provides just such a service. Using a charge, it keeps coffee hot for 45 minutes. The technology Nano uses allows for the coffee (or tea) to be heated evenly. In addition, the battery remains good for seven refills. To charge, one can use any standard USB cord. This thermos also features a handle, snap lid, light weight, and food grade plastic so it’s safe for consumption.

There are many wireless heating mugs around, but most focus on actually brewing coffee on the go, like the Hey Joe Coffee Mug. Nano is more versatile in a way because it works with whatever beverage the user craves at the time, including tea. One will cost backers a donation of $39 for delivery in August 2015. Nano is looking for a funding goal of $40,000 with the help of Kickstarter.

Tech Accessories

With new MacBook ports, Apple taketh away and Hub+ giveth back

A consumer has just bought the new 12-inch MacBook and wants to connect a desktop monitor or a couple of other devices to it. That consumer will quickly realize that it’s not possible out of the box because Apple’s new computer only has one USB-C port.

patent-claimedThe Hub+ solves that problem. It’s a USB-C hub specifically designed for the new MacBook that offers all the ports most users will need, including two USB-C ports, one SDXC card reader, one mini DisplayPort and three USB-A charging ports. It also includes a built-in lithium-ion battery to charge any mobile phone. Hub+ costs $99 and will ship in July. Its maker set a Kickstarter goal of receiving $35,000 by June 16.

The compact hub is targeted at a very niche customer base at this point because it was designed specifically for the new MacBook. But it could be seen as a must-have accessory for anybody who buys that computer or a wave of new laptops that wlll use USB-C such as the new Chromebook Pixel.


Backerjack Podcast #13: More USBs, Sliding Keyboard Discs, and Robots for Kids

In Episode 13 of the Backerjack Podcast, Steve and Ross check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders.

  • SnapPower, a replacement outlet cover that adds a USB port in seconds
  • Octodon, a wild smartphone input device that uses magnetic disks mounted to an unfolding smartphone extension
  • Codie, a little robot loaded with treads and loaded with sensors that teaches kids to code

Many thanks to SnapPower for sponsoring this episode! Please support its campaign.

Download  the episode or listen below, subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and follow Backerjack on Twitter and Facebook.

Chargers/Batteries Home

SnapPower gives USB an outlet with no rewiring

The best place to charge a phone at home seems to be “anywhere” but in many households stuffed with electronics and appliances, it’s difficult to sacrifice a whole outlet for the fraction of power needed to charge a phone.

SnapPower addresses this issue with an outlet coverplate that includes a small “chin” to accommodate a USB port. While there have been other ways to add add such a smartphone charging convenience, they have included undesirable tradeoffs between aesthetics and installation. Some products that are basically chunky rectangular power strips simply plug into the existing outlets, adding a lot of bulk to the outlet Stealthier products require playing around with wires.

SnapPower, on the other hand, draws power from the screws used to connect the device. Simply remove the old coverplate, add the new one, and you’re done. The company, which previously created an LED-based nightlight using a similar technique, seeks $35,000 from Kickstarter backers by May 15. Bundles of SnapPower coverplates — which are available in traditional and decor varieties — start at about $15 per unit and go down from there as the bundles grow. They’re expected to ship in August.

SnapPower offers an affordable and easily installed charging convenience. it would be nice if it could support two phones by adding a USB port to either end, but one can just purchase a few more for other outlets around the home.