Insulin Angel medication tracker watches blood sugar, keeps insulin usable

Diabetes is a common but serious disease, requiring constant vigilance on the part of the diabetic in make sure their medication is stored and used at optimal temperature. If not, it can spoil and be rendered ineffective. What’s more, keeping the medication close is of utmost importance, because losing it puts users in a precarious situation.

The Insulin Angel is a product designed to alleviate the common worries associated with diabetes by incorporating a temperature and proximity sensors into one compact, tab-like device. The Bluetooth-enabled device works in tandem with an iOS or Android companion app to keep users constantly informed about their medication’s temperature, send timed alerts as to when to administer the medication, as well as to facilitate a wireless leash to make sure users never leave their it behind.

The companion app’s medication database currently contains information on a wide range of popular insulin medication, as well as a few asthma and rheumatism medications too — with an expanding library in the works. A single Insulin Angel runs $50, and the $55,000 campaign is looking to ship the product in August of this year.

Despite its name, Insulin Angel can be used with a wide range of temperature sensitive medication no matter the affliction, an incredibly handy utility for sufferers around the world. This makes it a much more broadly capable but ultimately less focused product when compared to something like Amiko, designed specifically for asthma sufferers and as a result benefits from its narrow focus.

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.

Users need only connect the Shellfire Box to their router to encrypt all traffic accessed on its Wi-Fi network, all without a single screen of configuration. A worldwide infrastructure ensures speedy connections no matter where users choose to connect. A Shellfire Box with one year of premium VON service runs $59, a paltry sum for digital freedom. The $25,000 campaign is looking to get the product out to backers by July 2015.

There’s nothing positive about a censored Internet, so solutions like that provide easy to access VPN service can embolden many more users to take action and keep it free. The Shellfire Box will inevitable draw comparisons to the anonabox, but the key difference their is the latter’s dependence on the Tor network. Using the Tor network ultimately limits the types of devices that can be used, especially because of the severe speed limitations it imposes, while a VPN service like Shellfire allows users to stream video and play games without a hitch.

Noteu Wi-Fi display lets you know you have a message and not much else

Thanks to the Internet, there has never been a more abundant supply of information so freely available. As beneficial as this abundance is, the sheer amount can quickly become overwhelming without efficient methods of consuming it all. Smartphones do an amazing job of keeping up with the many Web sites and services people use every day to communicate, but sometimes there’s a desire for more passive notification, particularly among iPhone and Android holdouts.

For those times, the Wi-Fi connected Noteu smart clock helps out by constantly streaming information. Besides being a customizable alarm clock, the product uses widgets to push Facebook messages, tweets, e-mails, and RSS updates. In addition, IFTTT support lets users create custom alerts tailored specifically for them, such as shipping and stock updates. A single Noteu will run $133, with an expected ship date of September 2015. The campaign is aiming for $14,919 in funding.

This campaign marks the fourth go around for young inventor Jack Trowbridge, signifying a process of iteration that has led to Noteu’s current model. However, when compared to competing products like DISPLIO, it still falls short. It’s clunky, isn’t context-sensitive, and just doesn’t do enough especially considering it doesn’t seem like a user can act on any of the notifications from the device. IFTTT support expands its capabilities immensely, though, and may be its saving grace.

Planty monitors plants, makes sure they’re feeling well

Plants are an excellent way to brighten up any home. But they need lots of care in order to stay alive. Most plants die because their owners aren’t sure of how exactly to care for them.

Planty offers a solution to that problem. With a sensor that goes directly into the soil, Planty sends the plant’s information via Wi-Fi to an accompanying app. It monitors moisture, soil levels, temperature and light. If the plant is too hot, a notification will be sent to the app. When the soil gets too dry, the app informs the user who can then deliver water to the plant with the push of a button. Planty’s smart pot is simply designed with a white round base that plugs into the wall.

Backerjack has seen many other smart planters like the Daisy and GreenVase. Planty sets itself apart with a sleeker design and a more versatile sensor. One will cost backers a donation of $99 with delivery in November 2015. The company seeks $100,000 on Kickstarter by May 23.

Quick Cool offers personal phone fan with not-so-quick delivery

With welcome warmer days ahead, people are enjoying rising temperatures, but forgetting how hot it can really get.

Now, anyone with a cell phone can cool themselves down. The Quick Cool is a small 2”x2” fan that can plug into any phone via a USB cable. It has a battery life of around four hours and can easily be recharged. Once production starts, the product will be available in a variety of colors.

While the Quick Cool does have the convenience of working with phones, an obvious question looms: Is such a device actually a beneficial? A fan sucking up a phone’s battery life doesn’t seem desirable in the slightest, especially since most phones can barely stay alive for a full day. There are also a multitude of small portable fans already out there. Additionally, the device’s 2”x2” size doesn’t seem large enough to really make any kind of real difference from a cooling perspective.

Still, interested backers can have one of their own for $40 if they’re willing to wait until April 2017 for delivery. Quick Cool is looking to raise $8,000 on Kickstarter by April 29.

Playbrush uses interactive gaming to get kids to brush their teeth

Many parents with small kids know how hard it can be to convince some children to brush their teeth regularly, and to do it well.

Playbrush is a device that attaches to the end of any conventional toothbrush, transforming the brush into an interactive game controller that can be used in conjunction with iOS (and later Android) mobile devices. When the user starts the app on their smartphone or tablet, the gadget will automatically connect to it via Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth Smart) technology. Playbrush costs $72 and will ship in December. Its maker is hoping to raise $51,887 by May 9.

Playbursh is a device with potential, especially for parents of young kids who either try and avoid brushing altogether or race through the process in just a few seconds. Turning brushing into a fun activity might very well be the trick to get at least some of them to change their ways. That said, it’s impossible to tell from the Kickstarter campaign video just how strong the initial game itself is. If it’s just one weak repetitive game, those kids may very well get bored after a week or two and parents will be left with the same problem they started with. To address this potential problem, the device’s maker plans to add multiple worlds, levels and characters.

 

Backerjack Podcast #14: Breathing Sensors, Social Servers, and Heat-Seeking Bedroom Bots

In Episode 14 of the Backerjack Podcast, Steve and Ross check out some of the latest products seeking funds and preorders:

  • Neobase, a home server that lets you create your own private Facebook for sharing with your (small) circle of friends. Now all your base are belong to you!
  • Wakē, a focused light and speaker combo that mounts over your bed to wake you gently without disturbing those sharing the budoir
  • Prana, a wearable sensor that scores your breathing and posture and lets you practice via a video game

Many thanks to SnapPower for sponsoring this episode! Please support its campaign.

Download  the episode or listen below, subscribe via iTunes or RSS, and follow Backerjack on Twitter and Facebook. Also check out Steve’s great work on Apple World Today!