Safety Sensors/IoT Tech Accessories

FLASHNUB sensor tells you when the door’s ajar with a light show

The steady creep of wireless technology into homes has made the ability to stay informed less of a luxury, with home automation and sensor options becoming more commonplace as their design and price reflect the simplicity of their utility. The biggest danger with this approach is running the risk of being too simple.

Many  years ago, a device like the FLASHNUB door activity monitor would possibly turn some heads, but now can only be a lackluster idea at most. The device works by attaching a battery-powered sensor to a door that contains a contact point. Once that contact point is broken by an opening door, the device sends an alert through Wi-Fi to the connected USB-dongle that emits a three flash light.

The product itself is incredibly simple and is more of a DIY project than something to be considered a serious product, so its $60 price tag is a bit of a mystery. As such, there are other far more mature solutions for situations that require staying informed. The FLASHNUB campaign is looking for $50,000 to get the product out to backers by September 2015.


SteadyRack bike rack keeps bikes orderly, powered

Bike racks can make or break the space their in depending on how exactly they tackle the challenge of storing the two-wheeled transport. Some can be cumbersome, and some can be almost too minimal as to threaten damage to the bike or the space around it. In addition, bikes are near and dear for most, so their storage is incredibly important.

The SteadyRack is a versatile solution that offers users lots of options. The product attaches to a wall and steel arms hold your bike up at a right angle, offering users the option to swivel the bike to the left or the right to save space. The sleek rack also sports three USB ports to charge biking equipment or even smartphones, recognizing that enthusiasts need that functionality to keep their gadgets topped up. A SteadyRack goes for $60 AUD (~$49) and is expected to ship in April 2015. The campaign is looking for $35,000 AUD (~$28,800).

Cell Phone Accessories Tablet Accessories

Harrier Cable loops in multiple USB data modes

While most of us are perfectly OK with the capabilities of our Android smartphones and tablets, there is a very vocal minority who continually clamor for more openness and connectivity. As a platform, Android performs admirably in this respect and makes sure to offer users the ability to do so. Problem is, users may need special connection solutions to use keyboards and mice with their device, for example.

The Harrier Cable is an extremely low-cost option to both charge your device while giving you the option to also use keyboards, mice, printer, and even game controllers with your smart device. The cable also supports the option of charging multiple devices with one power socket as each cable can connect to each other.

All in all, this product is extremely niche and seems like something you’d see in one of those markets full of all kinds of technology knick knacks rather than something a tad more serious. Again, it is only going for $12, so it is a price point that may be subject to an impulse purchase. The Harrier Cable will be available by the end of this year provided the campaign reaches their modest $1,000 goal.


Twist caps the MacBook wall adapter, offers USB charging

Keeping mobile devices charged while overseas can be a challenge when one doesn’t have the right adapter. Twist offers users the opportunity to keep everything juiced up in over 150 countries. The charger twists to offer the appropriate plug, and then the user has four USB charging ports available for use. Its unique design makes it a more stable option, especially in older, worn out outlets.

The product is specifically intended for MacBook only, and it appears as if there is only one spot on the adapter for non-mobile device power, a definite drawback. The folks at OneAdaptr would do well to consider adding other models of laptops into the mix to make their product more versatile. Twist is reminiscent of the PlugBug, but offers more options in its usage. This campaign seeks to raise $30,000 CAD (~$26,300 USD) by December 19, 2014. For $22 CAD, (~$19 USD) backers get one product with an expected delivery of February 2015.

Furniture Technology

Redidesk is a desktop PC that’s serious about the “desk” part

Classroom computing is hot button topic nowadays. School districts are pouring ungodly sums of money into procuring the most advanced technology for their children only to have it broken, stolen, or just plain ignored by teachers who care to use their time in a more constructive way. There’s no doubt that it’s important to integrate a sound digital curriculum, but it seems like the way it’s done now racks up bills without much to show for it.

The REDIDESK is a promising all-in-one touchscreen computing solution built within a classroom desk. This combination reduces the chance of breakage or theft, and makes it easier for instructors to integrate computer learning into the curriculum without wasting time, hoping for no technical difficulties. REDIDESK is Wi-Fi enabled and its retractable computer screen still leaves lots of desk space for students to learn with. For example, it offers many orientations to facilitate group work. The desk is also easily assembled, and inventor Darren Riley hopes this aspect will offer the community of those who the REDIDESK will eventually serve the employment opportunities necessary to be empowered. Any donation amount goes toward their $70,000 funding goal so that they can begin a pilot program in Baltimore to test the REDISDESK out on a larger scale. From there, they’ll have enough data to put the desk into production.

The work done here with the REDIDESK is admirable, especially the push to create more employment opportunities in those underserved areas where the REDIDESK would cater to, but the link between superior education and computing remains to be seen. Technology cannot act as a replacement for traditional teaching, something a project as well-intentioned as REDIDESK may not completely understand. In any case, the idea is interesting, and barring exuberant costs for schools themselves, should do well considering school districts will do anything to save a buck.


Hashkey dedicated keyboard lets you #beonewiththehashtag

The last decade has seen the humble little hashtag shoot to meteoric heights of global importance due to the prevalence of Twitter pretty much everywhere. No one saw it coming, and even the hashtag itself doesn’t even know what to make of it. What used to be the lowly pound symbol on a telephone is now a global phenomenon, and what better way to acknowledge that than taking it off its shared space on the keyboard and giving it its own digs?

The HashKey is a USB-connected single key keyboard featuring the star of the show, the hashtag. That’s literally it. The entire thing is all really tongue-in-cheek and charming, and most will pop a smile watching the campaign try to jokingly convince potential backers of the economic impact of the time wasted finding the hashtag. The HashKey is reminiscent of Art Lebedev’s mini keyboards, but where those have OLED displays that are customizable the HashKey is dedicated. In any case, a Bluetooth connection rather than a wired connection for the HashKey would’ve been nice considering its £17 (~$26) price tag. The campaign is looking for £15,000 (~$23,300) to ship out this social media novelty by March 2015.

Tech Accessories

inCharge loops you in to tiny, flexible charging cable

USB charging cables determine the stress levels involved in our daily lives. As we’ve become more dependent on our phones, technology has not followed, resulting in battery lives that are far too short to meet the demands of a technology-focused day. inCharge is a portable USB cable on one side and a microUSB or lightning cable on the other that folds onto your keyring. This way, you’ll always have power available to you. inCharge comes in many different fun colors, is flexible, and short enough so that it won’t get all tangled up in your keys. The one downside of this product is that it doesn’t have a wall outlet port, so you must be able to attach it to a computer or laptop for power, unlike the similar Tiny TravelBuddy wall charger. Even so, this product will soon become a must for all smartphone users who depend on their phones. The most basic form of this Italian-made product goes for a $9 donation with estimated delivery set for December 2014. inCharge hopes to raise $20,000 on Indiegogo.

Cell Phone Accessories Connected Objects Music Tablet Accessories

CuBund bridges your smartphone to home receivers

Taking music from portable players and phones to cars and home audio systems usually requires specific hardware or lots of messy, tangled cables.

Cubund is a simple USB device that plugs into a car or home audio system’s USB port and receives high-quality Bluetooth audio streams from phones, laptops, or tablets. It allows for complete control using the remotes or onboard controls of the larger device. This allows for quick installation and even faster access to music when moving from public to private areas or from the home to car and vice versa.

Cubund can also handle incoming or outgoing calls from a phone and push them through to the car’s audio or home stereo, allowing for safer, hands-free communication even in the middle of blasting the volume on a favorite song. An additional USB port is added to Cubund to allow the charging of other devices. Cubund needs $20,000 for materials, assembly, and licenses, and can be purchased for delivery in February for $89.

The right kind of equipment or settings handles pretty much everything Cubund does already, but in lieu of buying new phones, new audio equipment, or even a new car, this is a simple, cheap way to bring older equipment into the present.

Displays Tech Accessories

Minimax packs in the pixels in an add-on USB display

Anyone who has spent too many late hours leaned over a laptop screen knows the toll that the quality of the display can have on the eyes. Sencha Electronics have created the MiniMax to combat this very problem. The MiniMax is a portable, flat, lightweight 13” external display that is powered by USB and can plug into any device to offer higher quality visuals. With a 2560×1700 resolution and 239 PPI, the MiniMax is brighter and clearer than most standard laptop screens, meaning happier eyes for all. The Plug and Play feature isn’t device specific either, as the MiniMax functions with all Mac, Windows, and Linux platforms with a free USB slot.

The LCD screen is easy to pack up in a laptop bag or backpack and comes in a stylish clear housing to protect the display from scuffs and scratches. Sencha Electronics need $30,000 for assembly, quality assurance, and fulfillment costs. Interested consumers can get their MiniMax fully assembled for $329, delivered in February 2015. There are a lot of great options for additional portable displays, but MiniMax offers quality to put it above the competition. The only knock against it is that it may be a little late now that Apple’s Retina displays and the Microsoft Pro 3 offer built-in high DPI displays.

Tech Accessories

Nimbus light brightens up when dark clouds surface

The only real light source we constantly have on us is the LED on the back of our smartphones but that’s not entirely reliable as there are so many more parts of the phone constantly requiring precious energy to function. NIMBUS wants to become your go-to light source instead. The USB-powered light stick can be mounted on the edge of a book or the lid of an open laptop to give you the light you need to do what you need to do.

One could also take it along with you for those impromptu photo shoots, but the glaring lack of even the smallest of internal batteries will keep what should be an extremely portable product pretty useless unless you have a portable battery pack. At that point, though, it comes full circle — you might as well use your smartphone. NIMBUS just doesn’t do enough and what it does do, it doesn’t do too well. The $25 gadget is estimated for a December 2014 delivery.