Connected Objects Input

Invisibly tread the internet with SilentKeys keyboard

Like it or not, this is the age of mass surveillance. While companies and governments love that the public’s most sensitive information is up for grabs, it makes for an increasingly compromised world, one in which beliefs and actions can be used against us. For those much malicious entities, that can mean social and financial ruin if not properly protected.

The revelations of the NSA’s mass surveillance program prompted many in the world to change the way they lived online. Preevio believes that having nothing to hide doesn’t mean having to show it all, and built the SilentKeys keyboard to help people secure their online actions no matter where they are. The all-in-one privacy keyboard connects to any PC or Mac and boots into a completely fresh, anonymous, and protected instance of the Satya desktop.


Backerjack Podcast #15: Telemedicine Tricorders, Privacy Protectors, and Milk Minders

In Episode 15 of the Backerjack Podcast, surly Steve and redeeming Ross check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders:

  • MedWand, a 7-in-1 telemedicine enabler that combines measuring your vitals with spot checks of ears, nose and throat
  • Shellfire Box, a tiny network device that routes all your home traffic through a tested virtual private network
  • SmartQsine, a system of connected miniature scales that can let you know when you’re close to running out of foods or recipe ingredients.

Shellfire Box hides all your home Internet traffic from prying snoops

Censorship and other draconian tactics to keep the Internet anything but the free and expansive entity it should always be are unfortunately enforced in countries around the world to various degrees every single day. Luckily, the virtual denizens of the Internet are a sly bunch, employing tactics like VPNs and the use of the Tor network in order to skirt prohibition. VPNs can also be used to circumvent location restrictions around accessing certain Web sites such as the BBC iPlayer or Hulu if you’re not in their home countries.

Shellfire is a VPN service, has been operating out of Germany for the past 12 years. While its service works for computers and some smart devices, there are many other devices like consoles and Blu-ray players that can’t connect and be protected. As such, there are many people looking for a single solution that can securely connect any device on their home network. That’s the mission of the Shellfire Box.


VPEx is a new solution to combat Wi-Fi hackers

Wi-Fi attacks can compromise a computer user’s most valuable personal data. To fight them, is the VPEx, the Virtual Private Exonetwork: a relatively inexpensive twist on a VPN.

The two-part, easy-to-use solution includes the ExoKey, a small USB device that plugs into a laptop and encrypts its network interface. The ExoNet, its second component, is a gateway connected to the home or office network and provides a trusted connection to the Internet from wherever the user is. ExoKey will soon support mobile phones and tablets too.

Backers who donate $139 will get an ExoNet and two ExoKeys that will allow two people to use open hotspots without fear of their data being compromised. The product is promising if it indeed does what its creator claims it can do. Anyway to protect one’s data at a reasonable price is always welcome on the market.

The current estimated delivery date is in March. Once the Kickstarter campaign is over, the company will field the ExoKey at $39.95 each and ExoNet at $65 each. Exonetwork will only be successful upon reaching its $50,000 goal on Kickstarter.

Smart Home

Tiny NUZii smart device micro-manages so you don’t have to

By no fault of their own, most of our homes are dumb. As a result, hoards of companies offer all-in-one solutions to take advantage of the opportunities that technology has to offer. Over the years, these smart home hubs have evolved from merely being control points for other connected objects to adding utility themselves. With all those additional features, though, their cost has gone up as well. The NUZii flips this idea on its head by offering a tiny smart device that not only helps automate the home, but also helps make the rest of a user’s life easier.

NUZii is small, really small. At four inches tall, the product is impressively packed with all sorts of functionality that will make most wonder how it’s all possible. The 2MP camera, air and humidity sensors, and Bluetooth connectivity all complement the device’s home automation functions, syncing up to other connected objects, learning the user’s habits, and setting custom profiles depending on the time of day. Apple TVs, Roku streaming boxes, VUE light bulbs, Jawbone activity trackers, and many other popular connected devices are all fair game.

NUZii can also connect to external storage with its two USB ports and, with the help of a Wi-Fi network, users will always have the ability to use that storage however they want from wherever they are with the help of an integrated download manager. NUZii is a triple threat in that it can also connect to your modem and offer VPN and Tor support to provide users with complete anonymity on the Internet, something that is becoming increasingly valuable as time goes on. The device clocks in at just $99, and provided the campaign reaches its $65,000 goal, backers will receive NUZii in June 2015.

NUZii isn’t the first of its kind nor is it the last, but it certainly makes a good impression. Similar products like the pēqSherloQ, and the Neoji may execute some aspects of the NUZii much more successfully, but none offer its level of versatility, especially for its price or even size. The product’s app store stokes excitement as well, serving up the potential for vastly different uses than what the inventors have intended. Look for the NUZii to make a dent if properly funded.

Connected Objects Tech Accessories

Nabtobox bypasses the firewall without opening up the floodgate

The Premise. Setting up a smart, connected home network is an exciting process that opens up the possibility to efficiency and home automation. However, the security-conscious will also have in place adequate digital protection and firewalls, which can prevent these devices from being accessed from anywhere except the home network.

The Product. Nabtobox is a little device that can be connected to any home network behind a firewall to enable one-touch access from mobile devices to connect to the network securely behind the firewall but not be denied access from afar. The basic principles behind the box are those found in peer to peer networking, VPNs, and port tunneling, without any of the shady elements of those activities. Nabtobox provides access without sacrificing security, plain and simple.

The Pitch. Nabtobox isn’t a flashy or sexy concept for most people, and so the pitch video is appropriately scaled down to match. Still, there’s a sort of human element to it that makes it enjoyable to watch and easy to relate to. Nabto are out to raise $75,000 for their plucky little device in order to bring it to the masses at large. At $125,000, Nabto will include a GPIO PIN header, and at $250,000 will include virtual USB access.

The Perks. The tech-savvy can get their hands on incomplete alpha and beta versions and bring them up to full speed for $29 and $34 respectively, to arrive in August for alpha and September for beta. The first release model will be launched in October for $39 and will need some new firmware updates to reach maximum potential. The market-ready version is $49 and will be out in November.

The Potential. This is a nice little idea that can make remote connectivity to a complete, and more importantly, secure home network a reality. However, the catch here is that setting up a home network isn’t always a cakewalk either, depending on what the desired setting and devices are, and so putting one in place already requires a bit of tech savvy. Probably enough to take the necessary steps to get by without a Nabtobox. Still, there are certainly enough people out there who just want what’s only going to be easy to set up and control, whether at home or from a distance, and for those people, Nabtobox looks like the right addition to get everything exactly the way it should be. After all, that’s the whole point of a connected home system.