Tech Accessories

ChatLight lets video chatters see each other in a better light

Skype, FaceTime, Oovoo, and other video chat systems have become increasingly popular over the last few years. Each allow a way for people far apart to have a face-to-face conversation. Of course, when talking to someone from afar, most want to look their best.

ChatLight offers a way for video chatters to look great. This bright light attaches to any smartphone, laptop or tablet because its length is adjustable. The light itself is versatile too, allowing the user to either set it on high or low. It charges via a USB cable and only needs 15 minutes for a full charge. ChatLight rotates too, so that it’s always in the right spot.

This product is a neat little invention, great for anyone who likes to video chat a lot. The brightness is an especially nice feature for new college students who may have to talk in the dark due to sleeping roommates. There’s no mention on how hot the light gets, however, something the creators may want to detail in their campaign. One ChatLight goes for $20 with delivery in June 2015. This product is looking for $50,000 in funding on Kickstarter with a campaign end date of March 28.

Connected Objects

Frebble offers a hand to those who can’t be there in person

Premise. Long distance relationships are tough. Whether friend, family member or significant other, it’s hard to connect with someone via phone or video chat when SO many opportunities for distraction abound. Hell, it’s hard to command someone’s attention when they are sitting two feet in front of you – and what happens out of view of the webcam, stays out of view of the webcam.

Product. While video chat has vastly propelled the relevancy of long-distance relationships, Frebble now complements the experience of simultaneous seeing and hearing with feeling. Frebble is a handheld device that works in pairs and uses tactile feedback to mimic the sensation of hand-holding through the internet. Once the Frebbles are connected to each other, one user can squeeze the device and the other will feel the sensation of his hand being held. Frebble is compatible with Skype, Facetime as well as the Frebble app.

Pitch. The incredibly adorable campaign video explains the human need for touch and how much more it can mean to us than just words alone. CEO and founder Frederic Petrignani explains that today we have technology to talk to and see each other in real time and at a distance, but there exists no way to hold hands with someone at a distance in real time, and that was the problem he wanted to tackle. Campaign funds will be used in the initial production of Frebble which will be subsequently distributed all over the world as early as October 2014.

Perks. For $89, early birds can back Frebble and receive two Frebbles (one for you and one for your loved one) in a choice of green or blue. Additional reward tiers include Frebble Philanthropist, Frebble Developers and the most pricey reward level: Frebble Champion. One Frebble Champion will receive two custom Frebbles in any color, engraved with a name or message, an invitation to Yes!Delft offices in Holland, and a dinner with the board of directors for a pledge of $10,000 or more.

Potential. Frebble is an interesting and unique concept that has potential at least as a novelty gift among those who find themselves with loved ones afar. A similar concept, Taion Heart, was revealed years ago by Japanese company, DoCoMo however the concept was not brought to production. While endearing and adorable, users may find it easier to video chat “hands free” even at the cost of a virtual touch.

Connected Objects Pets

iCPooch offers videochats, snacks to defeat doggie doldrums

The Premise. Snoopy has it pretty good. He can act out the carefree antics of Joe Cool, have exciting Red Baron adventures, mess with little kids as the Easter Beagle or Great Pumpkin, win first place in a Christmas light contest, and perhaps best of all, demand dinner on a whim. Meanwhile, other dogs are stuck at home in an empty house while their owners get to have all the fun!

The Product. iCPooch is one dog owner’s attempt to bring relief to the depression that many dogs experience when their entire world has walked out the door a duration that seems unending. Owners simply connect the doggie delighting device to a wireless router, and then they can easily stay in touch with their four-legged family member. Yes, now even dogs can make their own selfies of sorts as they videobark with their humans by using their very own smartphone or tablet attached to an included adjustable mounting bracket. And just like any savvy record representative for a major label or a Hollywood studio lawyer, the owner maintains control. In this case, that’s with the iCPooch Android app, iOS app, or Web browser. Owners can even deliver a treat at the click of a mouse if their doggie is behaving. Several treat sizes will be compatible with the enclosed reloadable and removable bin.

The Pitch. The video for the $20,000 campaign, which doesn’t shy from playing on viewers’ emotions for funding, aims clearly at those with busy lives who see their dog as being more than just their stay-at-home pet. It’s quickly revealed that the product was invented by a poised 14-year-old, a pretty impressive feat even if she did get a bit of help from Dad with the details.

The Perks. There are eight tiers from which backers may choose. The $99 early bird special offers a complete product, plus Fido’s name in computer monitor lights via a listing as a Founding Pet who helped bring the project into the lives of other struggling doggies and their grateful owners. The estimated delivery is May 2014 for all levels.

The Potential. iCPooch could be useful to any smartphone vidchatter who feels that their dog needs a little extra tender loving care and a little less privacy. However, it seems that trusted neighbors might be able to check in occasionally to calm an anxious pet until its human family can get home. iCPooch appears to be a one-of-a-kind product that can make a dog’s life a bit less of a dog’s life when you’re away.