Concern about our digital information is at an all-time high. Between cloud services skimping on security, credit cards being swiped, major banks being hacked, and the NSA sniffing around, it’s difficult to confidently secure valuable files. BoltKey’s Guardian intends to make it easy. The silver slab offers users military grade encryption and wireless backup of up to 3TB of data, coupled with two-factor authentication requiring the included BoltKey accessory. The product’s encryption and storage may dwarf others, but products like WEDG or the Sherylbox offer more options with which to interact with data. Early birds can get their own Guardian for $199 in November 2014, while tardy turtles will get theirs in December 2014 for $249.
The Premise. Creative types know that getting the most of the digital side of their work takes a very specific build of programs and hardware to make the most of them. A simple desktop or tablet may not be enough, and in those cases a little extra firepower comes in handy.
The Product. The Modbook Pro X is essentially a reconfiguration of the beloved MacBook Pro, turning a versatile laptop into an even more capable tablet that offers the functionality of a dedicated artist’s tablet with a vibrant HD screen that uses mind-boggling high resolution. By tearing apart a MacBook and fitting it into a new case with touch-screen display that offers 2,048 levels of pen sensitivity, the Modbook Pro X gives users the flexibility of a device that can run OS X or Windows, all the apps that any MacBook can run normally, and adds ease of use and an experience tailored to artists and designers to the package.
The Pitch. Modbook Pro X isn’t for everyone, and the pitch video doesn’t try to pretend otherwise. Focusing on those who require the full output from programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, the Modbook team showcases almost exclusively the ways in which their device can make the lives of those in the graphic arts that much easier. Modbook needs $150,000 almost entirely for manufacturing costs.
The Perks. Getting a functional Modbook Pro X is going to take a little bit of coin. For $1,999, an existing, owned MacBook Pro with a 15.4-inch Retina display (from no later than late 2013) can be sent to the developers, who will tear the device down and reassemble it as a Modbook Pro X. The Keybars on the back of the device are added at the $2,299 level, while those who pay $2,689 will also get the Keyboard Stand. Anyone without an existing and compatible MacBook Pro can get a complete package for as little as $3,999, going as high as $5,689 for a top-end system with all the bells and whistles. The base perks won’t ship until March 2015, while the higher-tier items will be out as early as December 2014.
The Potential. A Retina display combined with pen controls has never been attempted before, and for some people this will be the kind of dream machine that will be pinned to their corkboard as a sports car of rigs for work and play. The high price point and requirement of owning a MacBook Pro at lower levels will shy away all of the potential backers who might just be looking for some new tech to play with.
Tablets are super popular and make one’s life easier in many ways. One drawback is that they take up extra space and you have to carry them around. ExxtremeKinnexx is hoping to cut down on that clutter by creating a smartphone case that can be stretched and expanded while connected to the phone’s Micro USB port to allow a phone to become a tablet and then go back to being pocket-sized when done. All they have to show at this time is a pretty standard PowerPoint presentation and none of the reward tiers include the actual device, but what ExxtremeKinnexx lacks in concrete details they certainly make up for in superfluous x’s and an exorbitant $433,000 campaign goal.
Portable hard drives are great, but in today’s world if files aren’t on the cloud, they may as well not be accessible. Wi-Stick is a portable flash drive that functions wirelessly, allowing up to eight devices at any time to connect to it and access any stored files. Wi-Stick offers compatibility with most major operating systems (iOS, Mac OS X, Windows, Android) and has a battery that lasts for as long as five hours before it needs to be recharged. Other similar devices are on the market, but Wi-Stick’s compatibility is how it seeks to set itself apart from the competition. Wi-Stick starts at 8GB for €70 and is estimated to deliver in August 2014.
With tablets quickly becoming common devices that consumers own, the clunky keyboard-and-mouse input of desktop machines is beginning to feel obsolete. Zmartframe is a device that offers two-point multitouch on any 19- or 22-inch monitor. The device straps onto the monitor and features an easily-calibrated Windows touch PC interface, but with the flick of a switch can also turn any monitor into a stand-alone Android PC. Devices like these have existed for some time now, but the actual functionality has been suspect, so it’s up to Zmartframe to really stick the execution on this one. Supporters can get their fingers on the basic Zmartframe in October 2014 for $260.
The Premise. The dream of a vast public cloud of data is dying. Privacy is becoming a greater concern for almost every citizen of the Internet, and so having cloud-style features and access to files across devices and geography is great, but keeping others away from sensitive and personal files is even more important.
The Product. The Sherlybox is a RaspberryPI-powered compact desktop cloud server that can sync with almost any PC and access files over a secure connection even when devices are currently powered down. Because the files are being transferred over a personal server, everything happens behind the appropriate firewalls and there are no limits to the quantity or size of files sent across the house or the globe. With a proprietary software protocol designed specifically for larger files, the Sher.ly service and app can use almost the entirety of a network’s bandwidth to move files quickly.
The Pitch. Sherlybox’s inventor, Blazej Marciniak, and his partner Marek Ciesla introduce us to the Sherlybox with just three simple presses of its sync button. While it’s difficult to really illustrate the speed and security of such a device in a quick marketing video, the passion of the creators shows through their whole campaign, and their promises are indeed something worth considering. To make the Sherlybox a reality, Sher.ly Inc. needs $69,000 for testing, manufacture, and quality assurance.
The Perks. A Sherlybox with an open hard drive slot will be sent out in November to backers who pledge $149 or more. Anyone that wants built-in storage as well can have that hard drive slot filled with a 1 Terabyte hard drive at the $199 level. Personal touches like engraving and color choices are available at higher tier levels. All reward tiers that include the Sherlybox itself also come with lifetime licenses for the Sher.ly app.
The Potential. Despite looking more like an air freshener than a cloud server, Sherlybox offers a lot of compatibility and easy sharing options to make files private but still easy to access to those with the proper credentials. While covering all the mobile app bases may take some time, the device already plays well with Flex TV and Xbox Media Center, as well as Windows, Mac, and Linux PCs, the Sherlybox is a great utilitarian device that can store and access media across multiple devices in a simple, easy, but also secure way. That extra added touch of privacy could make all the difference in standing out from competitors of this device.
The Premise. The printer has resisted the march of technology fairly well. The bulky, heavy devices have remained so as everything becomes mobile, and their feature set hasn’t changed much in the last twenty years. It’s time the printer made the jump into the smart age.
The Product. The PPrintee is a mobile printer that looks a bit like an original-model iPod and is just as pocket-friendly. With a display that can manage print jobs but also tell the latest news, weather, and social media updates while idle, the PPrintee is not just a one-trick pony. When it’s time to print, the PPrintee drives around the page determining the dimensions of the paper, and then drives around the page printing material at a rate of 1.5 pages per minute. If a job requires more than one page, PPrintee will even drive around looking for another piece of paper to print on or request that another paper be provided. Multiple PPrintees can even be synced together to complete a job more quickly. PPrintee is compatible with Android, iOS, and Windows devices and jobs can be sent to the printer through wifi or Bluetooth to begin printing right away. The PPrintee can even be steered through the app to provide a printed signature or special touch on any job.
The Pitch. PPrintee is so early in development that sadly any shots of the printer in action are CG simulations of what to expect from the device. Still, its flexibility and ability to handle more than just simple mobile printing are exciting enough to warrant further consideration. PPrintee wants to collect $330,000 in funds to continue engineering the product and bring it to the public.
The Perks. The basic black PPrintee printer is available for $249 and is expected to release in August 2015. The white and orange models cost slightly more, while limited aluminum, titanium, and rounded PPrintee designs are available starting at $299 to launch a month later.
The Potential. Mobile printing is not a new concept, and devices like the Pocket Printer are already looking to revolutionize the market. While the PPrintee lacks the robotic whimsy of the Pocket Printer, it makes up for it in spades in terms of additional features. From the interactive screen display to the app that can send print orders to the printer to the planned color printer/scanner PPrintee planned later, the PPrintee looks to be better choice. The wait for this device is long enough however that a major printer manufacturer may just beat it to market.
The Premise. Computers are getting smaller and more powerful, and some believe this spells doom for the desktop model as we know it. As smartphones and tablets continue to dominate the personal tech market, a fully functional computer would have to adapt to the pressure to keep up.
The Product. The Tango Super PC is a complete, fully functional PC that fits in a pocket. With an adapter to HDMI video out and USB ports for any input devices, the Tango Super PC can be docked and used at any workstation or home entertainment center, then disconnected and easily carried to its next destination. The Tango can run any PC-compatible operating system including Windows 8, Linux, Chromium, and even Steam OS. It has a 2GHz AMD Quad Core processor, up to 8 GB of RAM, Wifi, audio ports, and only weighs 200 grams.
The Pitch. For a product like Tango, customers only need to see two things – what can it do, and where can it fit. The Tango Super PC is the size of the average smartphone, and in the campaign video we see it running office programs, creative arts programs, and even modern, graphics-intensive games. With interest from major retailers and AMD, Tango wants to raise $250,000 to meet inventory demands, improve the product further, and tap into new markets.
The Perks. The Tango PC is available in four configurations of RAM and hard drive space, ranging from the basic 4GB RAM, 32GB SSD model at $349 to the 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD model at $473. Any backer who pledges enough to receive one of these systems however is eligible to receive an additional free system once Tango sells 100,000 units, either through the Kickstarter campaign or afterwards.
The Potential. The potential for a fully functional, pocket-sized PC is massive, allowing employees to not just access files remotely but take all of their work with them and access it using the same system no matter where they are. It would be enough if this PC were mostly just for running office suites but add in that it has the graphics capabilities of playing modern games or rendering creative pieces, Of course, the laptop has become the master of portability and computing power on the go, but the ability to have something small and dockable would certainly meet the needs of a broad range of users.
The Premise. It might be hard to realize, but a good deal of time spent doing anything on the computer is moving from the keyboard to the mouse and then back again. It’s an insignificant blip when it happens once, but it more likely will occur over and over, adding up into lost time. No amount of keyboard shortcuts can prevent this from occurring.
The Product. The Motix is a touchless, hands-free sensor that sticks onto a keyboard and reads finger gestures above the keys to enable mouse-like or touch-style controls over a computer, regardless of operating system. By simply lifting an index finger off the key and pointing it forward, simple finger motions allow for scrolling, navigation, and anything else that can be done with a mouse.
The Pitch. The campaign focuses on how much easier and responsive computing can be if only one input device needs to be used. The Motix plays well with mice, however, making it a perfect solution for things that it’s designed to do without shutting out mouse functionality. Motix creators Technology Launch, LLC want to raise $50,000 to finalize the product’s design and complete its production. If the project reaches 400 pledges for the Motix itself, the included keyboard in the higher tiers will be upgraded from a standard release keyboard to a custom keyboard with built-in Motix capabilities.
The Perks. The Motix sensor is available to backers who pledge $80. At the $185 level, the Motix Pro is available for those that want to customize keyboard and mouse gestures. These perks will ship out in November, but for those that can’t wait, an early release with API documentation is available for $1,000 in September.
The Potential. Motix is designed to keep control intuitive and uninterrupted, but unless people are skilled typists with only a few of their fingers, moving from keyboard to Motix is still a full-stop process, albeit with less arm movement. Leap Motion has already shown off this kind of touchless control in the marketplace optimized for a more immersive interface, albeit doing so in a fashion that is more about 3D space manipulation than economy of movement. At least with Motix, the hands can stay anchored on the keyboard, but for typists that don’t subscribe to home row methodologies, there may be reason to worry about accidentally setting off the motion detection and sending a mouse cursor somewhere unwanted.
Many people own a memory stick that lives on their key chains to carry around their files with them. The GoKey is like that, but on steroids. This small keychain has memory storage, a USB to charge your iPhone 5, Android or Windows phone, and Bluetooth capabilities to help locate your keys. One drawback is that, due to its small size, you’ll only be able to eek a couple of hours out of its charge. The Stiktag also helps people locate their keys, but this is a much more versatile product. A GoKey costs backers $39 at a base price; the developers seek $40,000 in a 31-day Indiegogo campaign.