Posts Tagged ‘Kickstarter’

Nowadays our lives are dominated by screens. Whether it be your PC, Laptop, tablet or smartphone, we are all focused at some point in our day on them.

Although this seems like a bad thing, one thing is for sure, environmentally this is great, as paper is slowly becoming less of a part of our lives.

I am not sure if this is the same for you, but this does mean with all that finger poking at screens and mouse clicking, I almost feel like I have forgotten to hold a pen, as when I go to write a note it feels like I haven’t held one in years which I have to say I do miss.

But of course with most things recently, somebody comes along to bridge that gap and today we focus on OTM Technologies who have started crowdfunding Phree, the digital input device.

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This is the “write anywhere” device which lets draw, write, annotate on pretty much any surface. It will connect to all of your devices over a Bluetooth connection and is compatible with apps like Office, Evernote, OneNote, Acrobat, Google Handwriting Keyboard, Viber and more. So you can sketch or jot down ideas, thoughts or even take down details instantly.

phree

Personally, I can really see this being used in meetings, quickly jotting down notes and minutes to view digitally at a later date, but I have to say I do like the idea of being able to just pull this out and start writing anywhere.

One thing that really surprised us was the fact that not only is it an awesome digital input device, but it will also function to take calls as a headset and to briefly see texts and write to reply back to them…..now that is cool!

phree4

The carry case will charge Phree on the go. The cap attaches magnetically to the body of the case to form an adjustable stand for any smartphone. Just place your phone in the stand, begin writing or drawing off-screen with Phree – you have an instant mobile workstation that actually works. Phree can be ordered with or without a case.

The dimensions are as follows L x 142mm, W X 18mm and a Weight of 30 gr with a touch swipe display on board the pen. Phree at the moment comes in 4 colours, but the designers will run a survey to properly deduce what colours people want.

We love this and have not seen anything like it. It is is fully funded on Kickstarter and you can currently nab yourself one for $189 with a case.

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Amillux has entered the market space for iPhone and Apple Watch docks with it’s rather eye-catching Unify Dock.
Like other products in this space, the Unify Dock charges both your iPhone and Apple Watch at the same time but – as far as we can ascertain – is the only dock that uses just one cable.
Manufactured in the USA from aircraft grade 6061 aluminium, the Unify Dock certainly looks the part. It is fully adjustable to allow your iPhone 5, 5S, 5C, 6 or 6 Plus to fit snugly in the charging position and Amillux state that all genuine Apple iPhone cases can be accommodated along with most 3rd party cases.
Those with keen eyes and an interest in crowdfunded technology may have seen the Unify Dock before on Kickstarter. The Kickstarter project was cancelled by Amillux when they found a quicker way to enter the market with the help of a strategic partner.

dock

With final prototyping already complete, Amillux co-founders Kyle Jesse and Andrew Acree inform The Tech Spy that the Unify Dock will be listed on Indiegogo shortly for a second attempt of crowd funding. 

One benefit of this strategic shift is that the dock should be available much sooner than initially anticipated and at under $100, including a genuine Apple Watch Charging Disk. This would enable you to keep your existing disc at the office or in your bag for emergencies. One to watch. Pardon the pun.
Website http://www.amillux.com/

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As we know, Apple make products beautifully simple that just work.

It doesn’t matter how many times Android, Microsoft or any of its competitors point out Apple’s weaknesses, you still just feel better with an iPhone in hand or a MacBook Air on your lap, even if isn’t the fastest on the market at the time.

Few products manage to capture the simplicity of design and still remain fully functional like Apple. But over the last few years, we have started to see some crowdfunded projects which follow the same line as this tech giant to great effect.

Premium One is a modular designed dock which can not only hold your Apple Watch, but the creators have also thought of those people who have the whole Apple Family of devices.

Made from aircraft grade aluminium, the dock looks like it could have been made by Apple themselves. Coming in 3 CNC precision drilled models, they look cool and hide all cables from sight as they charge the devices.

Premium One – Takes one Apple Watch – The watch is charged via the same MagSafe charger employed by Apple.

watch dock

Premium One W2 – Takes one Apple Watch and one iPhone

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Premium One W3 – takes one Apple Watch, either one iPhone 6 or 6 plus or any 5 series model, and in addition your iPad Mini or Air/Air 2.

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What we love about this product is not only the design and simplicity, but its modular design, and how it can be expanded in future. Once again it looks like something Apple would sell on its shelves in the Apple Store so would look more than at home providing charge on your bedside table.

Coming in black, silver and a bi-colour mahogany this product looks great. Starting at $55 for the W1, $89 for W2 and then finally $129 for the W3, we think this has been well priced comparing it to others in the market place.

Already fully pledged on Kickstarter, head on over and get yourself one before it goes!

Our smartphones have come a long way when it comes to audio, but the problem is the thinner they become the less likely the audio quality will improve.

Take the iPhone for example, no one can argue that it is a superb phone and the audio output is pretty good, but it could be much better. Without a massive advancement in technology, this isn’t happening anytime soon.

Shure, the audio specialists, make some of the best earphones in the business, but even they think that plugging the Shure 535’s into the iPhone really doesn’t show off their potential. Try it, plug-in your best headphones into your iPhone and listen to a track, then listen to the same track with the same headphones on your computer with a dedicated sound card and you will very quickly hear the difference.

The only solution is a portable amp which magnifies the audio signal to amplify the sound. Otherwise without this, the louder you make the music the more distorted it will become. These portable amps need to be powered and are normally expensive and bulky and are aimed at the audiophile.

The guys over at UAMP want to change this with a Kickstarter campaign.

“We wanted to capture that premium sound you get from hi-end audio equipment and make it available on every device, without the complications, terrible interfaces, or exorbitant costs. Uamp provides the same hi-fi sound for a fraction of the price and size of standard amplifiers. The Uamp unit measures 43 x 43 x 9mm and weighs just 26 grams – we’ve crammed all the electronics of a hi-end amp into one tiny device. Its nano design means it can easily fit into the smallest of pockets, allowing you to carry it with you anywhere – walking, jogging and cycling, or travelling on the bus, train and plane. Combined with its ten hour battery life, Uamp is truly a portable device.”

The difference here is not only its size and ability to be recharged by USB, but also its price. With postage to the UK, this will cost you about £40 which for anyone who has spent £250+ on headphones it’s a small price to pay. UAMP have kept this simple and stylish, with little LED’s and a slick design. You simply plug-in your iPhone and then your headphones on the other side and away you go.

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With a 10 hour rechargeable battery and adjustable EQ levels, working with every device no matter the makers, this really is an amp for the budding audiophile. Priced at about £45 all in on this campaign, it really is worth a punt, especially if the manufacturer delivers as much as they promise.

uamp

UAMP

When it comes to the crowd sourcing websites, it’s not that easy to find a unique product anymore as it seems that every day a new USB battery charger, “Smart” suitcase or iPhone dock populates the pages.

I have to say, as tech bloggers we have been pretty disappointed with the lack of cool tech that has arrived on the market with only the odd device exciting us at the end of 2014.

Today we saw Displio….This is an e-ink display that will simply show you what you want to see….simple!

Displio Colours

Sometimes in life you have to take things back to basics. Yes, we can see this information on our phone or our computer, but you physically have to go through a number of steps to make this happen. Displio is different, as this device allows you to display information via widgets simply on the screen so that you can at a glance, see what you want to see.

The device will show things like the weather for a particular area, or your appointments for the day and can even show you details like email message counts, FitBit data, Facebook likes and messages, Twitter feeds, reminders, PayPal balances, and tracking details for shipments all taken from the internet via the WiFi connection.

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The idea of this is simply brilliant. I can imagine how this would fit into my life, on my desk at work or in front of me when I wake up and brush my teeth in the morning. The brilliance of this is the simplicity, as all we want is a glance of info during the day to remind us of things that we want.

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The Displio device is offered in seven different colours and in a wood casing too. It gets power from an internal battery allowing it to be placed anywhere you want and being e-ink this will have a great battery life. Users tap the device to reload it and with its inbuilt accelerometer it will adjust the screen. The screen is a 2.7-inch E Ink unit and it has a speaker for alert sounds.

The only problem with this device is its price. At $99 on Kickstarter I would not buy more than one which in reality I would need to fit into different areas of my life. Let’s hope the price comes down as I think the company may struggle to fulfill pledges on this occasion.

Home automation is becoming a bigger and bigger topic every week as “The Internet of Things” grow. With more and more devices coming to market, thanks to the likes of not only the tech giants out there but crowd funding like Kickstarter, we can now enjoy the control of things like light switches, thermostats, power sockets and even our media centres.

Now don’t get me wrong, it has been a childhood dream of mine to be able to control things in the house through Home Automation and even going that step further when the house ends up doing it for you as it knows you are home….but with all these new devices one thing stands out that could prematurely end this whole revolution before it has started.

Every one of these new devices, comes with an app. If I am in my house and I want to turn a light on, I can unlock my iPhone, click on the app and simply choose the light I want on. Cool? Yes…but surely it was easier to just get up and switch that light on? I then decide it is getting a bit cold, so I click on another app and this allows me to turn the heating on in my house providing me with a comfortable environment. It is all good, but technology here has made my life harder, which is not the point of it at all.

Smartthings, crowd funded via Kickstarter, were one of the first to try and put this right. The idea was to put all of the devices under one app, so they could all talk to each other and of course you only had to go into one app to control them all. This idea was the step forward “The Internet of Things” needed, allowing each device, even if it was from a different manufacturer to work with each other, so if a sensor was triggered as you arrived home, you could have it switch on the heating and turn the entrance lights on.

My only issue with this is that you still need to open an app. The guys over at Athom have designed the Homey, which is a spherical shape device that sits in your house and you can talk to. Now of course it has the app, as this makes it easy to set up and of course collaborate the tech, but when you walk into your kitchen you can ask the device to turn lights on Siri-style, or turn the tv on to a certain channel….this is home automation!

App

Homey talks to pretty much all devices and here are a few things it can do;

“Homey combines your devices and the internet, allowing for smart scenarios:

When you get home, your lights fade on, your thermostat is already set to a comfortable level and your favorite music is streamed to your receiver.

When you need to wake up, the curtains or blinds are opening, your morning tune is playing on your stereo while the weather for today and your e-mails are being read to you. The smell of fresh and automatically made coffee gets you out of bed.

When you’re in the supermarket, you decide it’s going to be pizza tonight. You tell the Homey app to pre-heat your oven by switching it on. If you have a smart fridge, your grocery shopping list is sent to you.

When you want to watch a movie, the blinds close, your lights dim, your music fades out, the TV is set to the correct channel and your media center plays the movie.”

Homey

The list of products the device communicates with at the moment is enough for us to take notice as normally with these types of ideas they are very thin on the ground. But I am sure you will agree, Homey is everyone’s Homey;

LightwaveRF
Airplay
Sonos
Nest
Hue
Spotify
Logitech
Bose
Philips
Samsung
Gmail

We love this device and even at $229 with an arrival time of June 2015, we still think this is well worth the investment. We just hope that no one else beats them to the market first, especially as Apple tonight announced its home automation project HomeKit.

So, the long awaited Doorbot arrived at TTS Headquarters just before the holidays and we could not wait to get this bad boy out to start reviewing it.

Let’s be clear here, from the second it is pulled out of its courier parcel, you do not think “Crowd-funded” product. This device would look completely comfortable sitting next to the first class products you ordinarily see in an Apple store.

On opening the box I was surprised to see the care that has been taken with this device. Firstly, not only are you given a screwdriver handle which also includes a screwdriver bit  to help you fit the device, but they also include a liquid level and drill bit with all wall plugs to ensure this can be fitted right from opening the box.

Open Box

Fitting is remarkably easy. Even those less DIY savvy of you will have no problem getting the device in place. The instructions show all the different places you may want to attach it to with a step by step guide and the camera can be angled quite freely to deal with most front door situations . We have ours directly connected to our old door bell wiring to power it but also wanted to have the door bell still chime inside when the Doorbot is pressed which is not actually functioning. We are currently waiting on the guys over at Doorbot to address the situation.

Once installed, setup was again very easy. It uses your smartphone app or can be accessed online via a laptop. My only gripe with the setup is that it only supports 802.11b when you would expect it to at least be N graded. We had trouble connecting the Doorbot to our Wifi and to get it to work we had to move the router much closer reducing the distance away from the router from 15 metres to 5 metres away (although the app still shows a very low signal).

After setup has been completed, using the device is relatively straight forward. The button is pressed and you get a notification on your phone. In this case we are using it with an iPhone so the notification is like all others and once opened you get the choice whether to answer the call seeing who is at the door (this took about 7-10 seconds to appear). We especially liked the walkie-talkie type push button to talk so that you get complete privacy inside the house when talking to someone at the door, but was not that impressed with the low quality video which is delivered to your device. We think this should be either your choice as it depends on your internet speed and wifi connection or an auto function depending on your connection.

All in all, this is a good product. The Doorbot team need to address a few issues which I am sure can be fixed in future updates delivered direct to the device. On viewing comments online their support is a little to be desired at the moment, but it will take them time to catch up with all support related issues as we cannot forget this is a small start-up which do not have the comfort of a whole department just to answer technical issues.

The Doorbot is an awesome product when you think of its roots, but they already have competitors close on their tails. Get yours for $199.

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