Chargers/Batteries Connected Objects Luggage and Bags

AMPL charging backpack provides ample energy for your contraptions

What should be portable devices are anything but when people have to lug around external batteries, charging cases, and all types of wires just to keep them filled with energy throughout the day. Modern demands require the presence of constant sources of energy, but always fighting for an outlet isn’t the most practical solution.

Instead, the AMPL Smart Backpack lets users take the power with them. The shock absorber-lined, water-resistant backpack is outfitted with three compartments for swappable, high capacity batteries that are powerful enough to charge everything from smartphones, to tablets, to 17″ laptops. The batteries feature Onovo fast charging technology to charge the batteries to 80% in an hour to avoid staying stuck to walls. Located throughout the bag is a total of six USB ports that funnel the energy, monitored and controlled by either a small, touch-capable OLED screen, or a Bluetooth-enabled companion app that lets users prioritize what gets charged first, along with keeping an eye on the internal temperature—all without opening the bag.

This is the slickest conception of a smart charging backpack so far when compared to half-baked products like the Smart Charge Power Bag. The sheer power that can be carried around, coupled with the level of control the companion app gives users, makes this a clear winner for lots of people since these devices are so common. The $125,000 campaign is looking to get the $249 backpack out to backers by September of this year.


Ora adds aura to wireless chargers, turns charging devices upside down

Wireless chargers are the most important accessories for wireless devices, but they tend to be rather indistinct and boring from a design standpoint. Ora is a unique-looking wireless charger/power bank that is oval-shaped and sleek-looking, coming in a combination of white and one other color of the buyer’s choice.

patent-claimedA sliding panel allows the user to pull out the hidden outlet plug and USB adapter. Ora gets plugged into a wall outlet, and the user can opt to plug a wireless device into it via a charging cable or directly into Ora’s spring-loaded connection port. It is compatible with the iPhone 5 and 6, iPod Touch and Nano, and all Android and Windows Mobile smartphones—and the charger will hold each device upside down safely. Backers who pledge $30 will get one charger when it ships in July as part of an early bird Kickstarter discount. Ora is hoping to raise $60,000 in funding.

The charger certainly looks unlike rival products, but it’s not clear how many consumers will spend extra money for a charger mainly for its nice design. Nor is it clear how many consumers will feel comfortable enough to plug their expensive smartphone into Ora upside down, especially if the wall outlet is far off the ground.

Tech Accessories

PC Daddy converts your computer into a multiband radio receiver

There is still a contingent of traditional radio enthusiasts out there. No doubt some of them would love to get access to a much wider offering of traditional radio stations on their PCs than is currently possible now.

PC Daddy is a USB AM/FM/shortwave radio device that can transform a Windows-based computer into a multi-band radio receiver without spending a lot of money. Once connected to a computer, the small (3.5″x4.5″) box enables users to completely control all functions of the radio from a PC screen and hear the sound through the computer’s speakers. Backers who pledge $185 will get a PC Daddy when it ships in December.  This product is looking to raise $30,000 on Kickstarter.

The product has promise, albeit for a very niche audience. DXing enthusiasts who like to receive distant radio stations will probably like the fact that PC Daddy displays the location, city, and distance from the user of the possible stations tuned on AM and shortwave modes. That feature gives them the ability to have a good idea of what station they are listening to without relying on the station to announce its call letters, especially if the announcement is made in a foreign language. PC Daddy is comparable to Winradio products, but cheaper.

Cell Phone Accessories Chargers/Batteries

Ampere wirelessly charges smartphones, tablets in sleeve form

To most people, climate change isn’t the world’s most pressing issue, but the dying smartphone in their pocket or purse is. With smartphones batteries experiencing none of the fantastic leaps forward every other component of modern smartphones have had, people are stuck with incredibly advanced pieces of technology that can’t stay on for a full day.

Power banks and other products like Mophie cases have enjoyed popularity as mobile solutions to the problem, but the folks at Novelsys think it can be so much easier. Their Ampere charging sleeve fits most smartphones and phablets and wirelessly charges them using the Qi inductive power standard along with a 2700mAh battery. This product also features a USB outlet to charge other devices four times as fast. Its companion iOS/Android app allows users to control when charging happens, monitor battery life, and track their device using Bluetooth LE.

The Ampere’s main draw is the lack of external attachments, wires, or connections, making the process of charging a smartphone on the go super easy, unlike similar products like the MyQi. Pretty much anyone with a smartphone will be interested in the $79 product, although some untested models may not work. The $60,000 campaign is looking to ship Ampere in August 2015.

Safety Sensors/IoT

Instantly inform loved ones of accidents with Ridersmate safety device

As enjoyable as off-road cycling, horseback riding, or hopping on a motorcycle can be, one wrong twist or turn can mean the difference between narrowly avoiding an unfortunate accident or being on the wrong end of one. Sometimes, these accidents can happen in remote places, so it’s extremely important to get in contact with those who can help. The problem is that it may not be so easy to do so while possibly incapacitated.

Like a small traveling companion, the Ridersmate is always by a rider’s side. One end of the lightweight, portable device attaches to a rider and the other half attaches to the ride, whatever it may be. In the unlucky event that the two halves are disconnected, the dongle sends text messages to three pre-programmed contacts with information of exactly where and at what speed the accident occurred, along with a Google Maps link to the location itself. All this information allows emergency contacts to make informed decisions vital to making sure help arrives on time. The £199 (~$310) Ridersmate is looking for £19,900 (~$31,000) in funding. The product is expected to ship March 2015.

The Ridersmate is bright and features anti-crush construction to survive any type of mishap. In addition, its eight hour battery is USB rechargeable and can possibly last much longer due to how it doesn’t need to constantly check GPS. Something like the Urbanshell would go well with the Ridersmate to make sure others aren’t the cause of an accident.


Get a tan and power your devices with the SolarPad

The impressive functionality of the smartphones, tablets, and wearables in people’s lives makes it an absolute bummer when they die. Usually, power banks swoop in to save the day, but even those need to eventually be plugged in themselves. In response, products have emerged that charge devices with solar energy, but take a long, long time to do so.

The SolarPad solar charger comes in an iPad Air form factor and is outfitted with monocrystalline cells that are fully charged in just three and a half hours of direct sunlight. The product’s use of coated bamboo is attractive and keeps it that way, making it a worthy addition next to the beautifully designed devices everyone totes around. SolarPad features 2 USB ports for dual charging, and a USB in for daisy chaining or wall charging as well.

Every solar charger tries to pack solar panels onto something new, like the SolarHug and the SunnyBAG, so it’s refreshing to see it designed to be on its own. The SolarPad boasts a seven year warranty, so users won’t have to worry about anything but soaking up some sun. The product goes for $97, and its $35,000 campaign is looking to have it shipped out by March 2015.

Fitness Video Games

TreadGaming works you out without cheat codes

Video gaming is a fantastic way to spend a day off, but pretty a pretty terrible thing for the body. As much fun as it may be, a sedentary lifestyle is nothing but bad news. Although virtual reality is eventually promising a future where people will be able to move around with their favorite virtual worlds, that future is a considerably long way off.

Enter TreadGaming, a tiny, USB-enabled device that attaches a treadmill or an ergometer bike and transforms it into a giant video game controller powered by nothing but physical activity. The Mountain Dew and Doritos won’t be at arm’s length anymore but, in exchange, users will be able to sneak, walk, and run throughout whatever world they popped into the DVD tray.

What’s more, any action can be mapped to the exercise device or the two Wii Nunchuks that are able to plugged into the TreadGaming devices along with free I/O pins offer a ton of versatility when it comes to interacting with the game itself and expanding the device’s capabilities. Early birds can grab the device for kr380 (~$47) before it goes up to kr456 (~$57). The kr22,500 (~$2,800) campaign is looking to get people off their couches by March 2015.

The TreadGaming device is fairly limited at the moment in its execution, working out only with the PS3. Further revision and a deal with another company will be required to bring the rest of the current generation consoles up to speed. In addition, other types of exercise tools won’t work, like ellipticals and rowing machines. A similar device that combines exercise and gaming is the STABALLIZER, but works only with smartphones and tablets. Omni-directional treadmills that work with VR headsets have been teased, but are a ways off. Until then, something like TreadGaming can fill that niche.


Conkey hangs around to keep mobiles useful

On those especially busy days at work or while enjoying weekend activities, it can be difficult to keep a mobile from losing all of its juice. So Conkey can be attached to a keyring for those days when there’s no time to wait around for a mobile charge to be restored. Though the mobile battery backup only provides 30 minutes of extra usage and its micro USB connector is only compatible with Android and IOS, it does have a few other nice features. The built-in, universal power plug unfolds to plug into a wall outlet, and it has an internal SD memory card. A magnet fastener keeps the item’s short cables from getting tangled around the user’s car keys.

Since it’s roughly the size of a standard car key, it’s going to offer more convenience and portability than most portable chargers, but not as much power. Backers may also want to check out the ReelJuice and OneCard campaigns. This campaign seeks to raise $30,000. For $30, backers get one set.


Plan V lets you use your key ring for backup phone charger

It seems that if the phone battery is going to go dead, it always happens at the worst possible time. So Plan V was created with a backup plan in mind. The USB charger can be carried abound on one’s key ring and a 9 volt battery provides the power to charge a dead Smartphone. It will provide up to four hours of talk time. The flexible neck piece makes it fold up so that it is about the size of the average car key, and only weighs seven grams.

Plan V is a great idea as long as one doesn’t mind the fact that they will always need to have a 9 volt battery on them – or never go anywhere where they can’t easily buy one. Backers may also want to check out the Charge Case and Kodiak campaigns. This campaign seeks to raise $30,000 AUD (~$25,000 USD)  by December 24, 2014. For $15 AUD (~$13 USD) backers get one product with the micro USB and an expected delivery of February 2015.

Connected Objects Tech Accessories

Modular Nakatomi Hive is a docking system that connects to whatever you want

Nowhere is our cluttered digital life more evident than in our homes and offices, where wires cross every which way in an effort to keep us connected. Even if our devices have become the digital swiss army knives we’ve always wanted, the ways in which they interact with the world around us have remained clunky at best. Modularity is the bet the team behind the NAKATOMI is making, offering a system in which one dock serves all your needs.

The NAKATOMI PURE is the smartphone version and takes its place atop your home or office desk. It features three USB ports: one to connect to your computer and two to connect to your devices. It also features an ambient light to show whether or not its active, and stylishly facilitates content syncing. The NAKATOMI HIVE is a living room dock that connects to your TV, stereo, and Wi-Fi, allowing for XBMC-like content curation and playback. In addition, the HIVE’s dock is customizable so that you can choose to make it a charging dock or a home monitoring system while you’re away. More docks are expected to be developed, so the HIVE’s uses will continue to evolve.

As interesting as modularity is as a concept, being able to only use one dock at a time limits the NAKATOMI’s utility. And having to change the dock depending on the need is more work than most people care for. Having a few separate devices that each operate independently all the time is better than having to toggle every single time you want a new capability. In any case, the NAKATOMI’s build quality seems superb and would make for a snazzy desk mate. The campaign is looking to get the $99 PURE or the $299 HIVE out to backers by May 2015 by reaching their $100,000 goal.