But enough about us: The first Backerjack reader poll

Hey, Backerjack readers! We’ve been covering the best — and some of the less-than-best — in crowdfunded and preorder gadgets since the beginning of last year. Now, we’d like to ask for a bit of feedback to understand you a bit better. We’ve got four quick questions following the break. We’re not asking for a dime, but the only reward tier we’re offering is a better experience, so please help build a better Backerjack by clicking through to the post. Thanks!

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Back to the Backers: Blu wearable smartphone

Since the advent of the iPhone, smartphones have all generally become the same rectangular slabs of glass and plastic we’ve all come to know, love, and obsess over. So when Blu jumped on the scene this past March with its concept for a hybrid wearable smartphone concept, its innovative design definitely garnered attention — although not enough to raise the close to $500,000 necessary to fund it. Now, Blu is back with another Indiegogo campaign and this time its goal is even loftier, aiming for a cool $1,000,000 in an all-or-nothing fixed funding campaign. That goal will cover the development of the product’s many flexible components, from its F-OLED display, circuit board, and larger capacity 4200mAH battery. (more…)

Vufine takes a pass on Glass, shows any content in nerdy style

Although Google Glass (and its successor) have attracted the most attention in the growing wearable display market, it’s clearly not a product for every consumer due to factors including its high price.

Vufine is a much cheaper alternative to Google Glass that works in conjunction with any device capable of outputting a 720p HDMI signal. The clip-on microdisplay attaches to one side of a standard pair of eyeglasses via a magnetic docking station that allows it to be adjusted for the user’s comfort. Vufine can be plugged into mobile devices to act as either a second monitor to view movies and other video content or to display information including GPS directions, emails and text messages. Wearers can also use it as a viewfinder for cameras, or to see everything that their drones are seeing in flight. Vufine costs $149 and ships in November. Its maker has set a Kickstarter goal of raising $50,000 by July 22.

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Rogo dock lets your smartphone run a smart home

Having a personal assistant in the home either means shelling out lots of money for someone to follow you around all day or going all in on some of the more experimental attempts to integrate robotics in the home.  Choosing either option overlooks the most powerful computing device in most people’s lives: the smartphone.

Rogo is a dock that uses the connectivity of a smartphone to power a range of applications aimed at giving users a true personal assistant in the home. All of Rogo’s apps are powered by a cloud platform and a conversational AI that users can speak to naturally. RogoTele is a telepresence app to keep users in touch with family or friends back home that takes advantage of the swiveling dock to track movement, while RogoChat is for all other times where message and event notifications will do.

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Motomood LED “automoticon” offers smiles as you pile on miles

Irate drivers, honking horns, brutal traffic, birds being flipped — all of these unsavory elements contribute to the, at times, less than joyous experience of driving. While the freedom of the wide-open road is indeed alluring, most can identify with the more common occurrence of traffic jams and the stress they induce.

Motormood LLC’s goal is simple: make driving safer, more fun, and more social. To achieve this, it created the Motormood attachment, a light-up emoticon that uses a reusable, non-marking adhesive to attach to the rear window of a vehicle to encourage drivers to say thanks for whatever kind acts occur on the road. The attachment, paired with the infrared remote that clips onto the sun visor, lets anyone quickly illuminate the smiley face’s embedded LED for six seconds.   (more…)

Xkey Air lets you stylishly make MIDI music on the go

The original Xkey keyboard by The CME Group is a MIDI-compliant keyboard that boasts a slim profile and strong aluminum finish, with its only issue being its reliance on a USB connection. Although its design has received positive reviews from both amateur and pro musicians alike, the questions remained: when would a wireless version be created?

For those who were waiting, the wait is now over: the Xkey Air is the Bluetooth LE-compatible version of the Xkey. The Xkey Air retains all the features that made the original so appreciated, and as such users can still expect either 25 or 37 real-sized keys that are velocity sensitive along with a suite of programmable buttons that control characteristics such as octave, modulation, pitch, and sustain. Wireless instruments have always had to contend with problems of latency and battery life and the Xkey Air does its best to address these through just a 7 ms latency and an advertised minimum of 10 hours of battery life. (more…)

Airhook makes airline trays useful when they’re in the upright and locked position

Anyone who flies knows that the tray table is an uncomfortable evil that food and drinks often claim at the expense of tablet-resident entertainment or productivity.

Airhook is a compact, portable solution that works with the existing tray tables but makes them more useful. The simple design features a collapsible hook that gets widged between the tray and the seat into which it folds. The cupholder portion folds down, making a convenient storage place for a drink throughout the duration of the flight – including take-off and landing.  The Airhook also features a docking station for a variety of mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, with a bungee cord that helps lock the device in place from the top.

The design is well-executed, and the designers are selling Airhook for $20 each, to raise $15,000 by July 26, 2015, expecting delivery by December 2015. However, frequent travelers may find that the elastic may stretch with continued use, making the device less stable as time goes on.

Oko tries to reverse the digital picture frame no-go

The digital picture frame category was once hugely popular, but has sunk into a funk in recent years as photo sharing has gone mobile.

The makers of Oko are hoping to drum up renewed interest in the category by offering new features and focusing on social network interactivity. For example, Oko will let users follow hashtags and enable the device to display the best pictures and videos that are uploaded on social media networks. Features planned for the near future include voice control and, in a future version of Oko, cloud storage.

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