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!
Mixing cocktails can be fun but it can also be time-consuming and expensive if you need to hire a bartender. And at a party, the host can get bogged down making drinks.
Bartesian hopes to solve the cocktail crisis. The idea piggybacks off of the popular single-serve coffee maker by Keurig. If that device is designed to wake one up, this one is here to help one party down. Essentially, the drinker provides the alcohol and the Bartesian uses recyclable pods to mix the drink with aplomb. Right now, Bartesian offers three well-known drinks and three signature drinks that include a margarita, cosmopolitan, and sex on the beach. Each Bartesian costs $299, and the campaign hopes to raise $100,000 by July 26th. The robot bartenders would be delivered by April 2016.
Bartesian’s main challenges will be whether its pod-enclosed drinks live up to freshly made ones as well as trying to develop a wide range of pods for the endless varieties of cocktails. As we learned in the coffee pod wars, only one or two can really survive. Bartesian is not only a far cry from those industrial bartenders promoted on luxury cruises, but comes on the heels of another crowdfunded cocktail maker in Somabar, which is $150 more.
After failing to reach its Kickstarter goal of raising $217,000 for the Mikme wireless recording microphone early this year, Mikme Audio is giving Indiegogo a try with a new campaign for the device. The company has, however, opted for a much more modest goal of raising $25,000 by July 26 this time.
Mikme allows users to record quality audio with just the single touch of a button. The company has done some work above and beyond its Bluetooth connection to stream audio reliably to its iOS and Android companion app. Users can use the app to simply save, mix, edit and share their recordings and can mix up to eight tracks. The device comes with 8 GB of onboard memory, enabling up to 180 hours of recording. Other features include a gold-plated condenser capsule. Mikme will ship in November and cost $299 at retail.
With its single button devoted to recording, the device remains a good option for consumers looking for a simple, high-quaity microphone that offloads all the user interface to an app for easy editing and sharing.
Most people use cleaning fluids to clean off their kitchen counters. But the chemicals in those cleaning solutions can be dangerous, especially for people with asthma and other breathing conditions.
UVe is a device that uses UV light to disinfect kitchen counters and other surfaces in the home and can operate whether the user is home or away. No dangerous chemicals are needed. Although it’s basically a countertop version of the Roomba, UVe can also be used to eliminate germs on hard floors and any other flat surface large enough for it to safely move around on, including hardwood, tiles, stone, concrete and foam floor mats, its maker says. The device also features smart ledge detection that enables it to know when it’s reached the edge of a counter. UVe is being sold to Kickstarter backers at the early bird price of $89 and will cost $99 after that special pricing, which, according to the campaign, is still cheaper than the undisclosed planned retail price . UVe will ship in November. Its maker has set a Kickstarter goal of raising $50,000 by Aug. 11.
UVe should appeal to many consumers globally. But customers outside the U.S. will, at least initially, have to supply their own plug adapter because it will ship only with a charger designed for the U.S. The charger can accept 110-volt and 220-volt input, so buyers outside the U.S. won’t need a voltage converter/transformer, according to the campaign.
While a pool is a perfect antidote to a hot, sticky day, maintaining it over the long-term can quickly prove to be a hassle. Keeping its water balanced is a tricky game requiring the right amount of the right products at the right to ensure quality. However, balancing kits can be involved and unclear, leaving owners unsure of what to do.
The drop Wi-Fi connected pool monitor is a solar-power buoy that continuously monitors the temperature, pH, and chlorine levels of a pool. With this information, the iOS/Android drop app can create custom maintenance plans complete with recommendations on which products should be purchased, and how often they should be used. drop takes the guesswork of maintaining up to three pools for up to a week without sun with the option of maintaining more for $9 a month. In addition, an accelerometer inside detects suspicious movement too, sending a smartphone alert when it does. Backers can expect their own drop by June 2016 for $199. Drop Designs Inc. is hoping to raise $100,000 by July 9th, 2016.
With ideas like drop and the Quack Vac out in the wild, it’s never been easier to take care of a pool. drop offers users just enough valuable information to make it worthwhile, with a solar panel truly making the product you can set and forget.
Even if the majority of photos taken ultimately live on the Internet, there is still a place for them in the home. Sure, Facebook and Instagram let us swarm the globe with the everyday, but special moments deserve a more prominent and permanent location.
To make framing and hanging photos an experience that rivals hitting a Share button in its ease, Montreal-based design studio Toboggan created FLIXI. Its Wall Snap system — comprised of four springy feet, double-sided adhesive tape, and an integrated level (perhaps overkill) — lets users quickly search for a place on a wall, ensure a level frame, and set it all under a minute. Slowly pulling on a pull tab within detaches it from the wall without a trace. FLIXI frames come in a variety of sizes (4X6, 5X7, and 8X10) and colors, all of which can also stand upright or connect together to make a two-sided hinged frame or a mobile. The many options FLIXI offers naturally lends itself to many display ideas, all of which can be worked out online through the Web app Toboggan offers.
Several portable security devices have either reached the market or been introduced on one of the crowdfunding sites, including the multi-function Tye.
But AllBe1 is out to top them all, offering about 10 features in one small device with multiple sensors. Those functions are each available to the user via mobile device apps: an out-of-range lockdown mechanism that will prevent anybody else from accessing one’s mobile device when the user steps away, a fitness/steps tracker, the ability to track people or pets, a car alarm, drawer opening detection, theft detection, and the ability to send alerts when the user’s body needs more sun exposure or less. AllBe1 also offers a smart button that can be used to alert somebody at a pre-set number if the user senses danger.
There have been several onboard diagnostics (OBD) devices for cars introduced already. Some have focused on a single main function. In the case of GoFar, for example, it was fuel efficiency.
Vinli seems a bit more ambitious, coming with a wide range of apps. It’s an OBD-II device that’s been designed to quickly transform any older vehicle into a smart car. The device adds Wi-Fi to a vehicle using T-Mobile’s 4G LTE network, allowing the car to always be connected. Like other OBD-II devices, its maker is stressing how easy it is to set up, saying it takes only seconds to connect it to a car’s data port located under the dashboard. Drivers can then use the connection to stream media and send data.