You are currently browsing the Drop Kicker blog archives for December, 2013

Zuli Smartplugs


Zuli Smartplug is a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) smart outlet that, like most smart outlets, sits between a standard outlet and whatever you plug into it (e.g. lamp, oven, coffee pot). This allows users to:

  • Turn devices on and off from a smartphone.
  • Monitor energy consumption.
  • Conserve energy by eliminating standby power (provided, of course, that the standby power of the device is greater than the energy needs of the smart outlet).

The market for smart outlets is getting crowded. To distinguish itself, Zuli is promising “location based automation,” which would detect when the user has left the room and turn off the lights and appliances automatically.

The feature is clever, I’ll give them that. Unfortunately, the technology they claim to use does not support the implementation they describe, so either they’re misguided or Zuli is far more complicated (and therefore difficult and expensive to design, test, and manufacture) than they claim.

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Notch: The future of smart apparel is … later


Notch is a BLE-enabled activity tracking puck with an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer. At least it was – the campaign was canceled when it managed to raise only $10k of its $100k goal after 10 days.

The creators are adamant they will relaunch in January 2014 with better technical information and marketing, and I hope they do. Unlike other activity trackers, users are expected to wear multiple Notch units in specially designed clothing, creating a sensor network with the potential to capture and reconstruct more intricate body movements.

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Nymi: Update


When we originally looked into Nymi, the wrist-worn authentication device that identifies users by their electrocardiogram (ECG), we were skeptical but open-minded. Published algorithms managed a 10% false accept rate, which, though far from perfect, might be good enough for some consumer applications. And perhaps Nymi could do even better.

Nymi promised a white paper with greater detail on their underlying technology, and I had high hopes it would put these questions to rest. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

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Smarty Ring provides “alerts right on your finger”


Note: this photo does not even remotely represent the actual dimensions of the product.

Link to Indiegogo

The Smarty Ring Indiegogo campaign ended this week smashing its fundraising goal amid a huge flurry of interest in the final stretch.  Unfortunately, as stated at the top of their project description “All pictures shown here are conceptual design”

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Angel demonstrates working Inertial Measurement Unit


It’s been a while since we’ve talked about Angel, and it looks like they’ve made some progress as shown in their latest updates.

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Drop Kicker Mop Up, Dec. 9

There are some crowd funded projects we come across through our search that are just so out there that we really can’t find anything interesting to say about them.  They’re so far gone that we’re confident that every one of our readers knows better to take them seriously.  That being said, they’re still pretty amusing, so we thought it’d be fun to do a brief bi-monthly wrap-up of the projects that aren’t really worth a full analysis.  Thus, the Drop Kicker Mop Up:

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“The Rock” smartwatch finds itself in a hard place, Kickstarter finally steps in.


Link to Kickstarter

Piggybacking off the success of the Pebble, the new Rock smart watch offers some never before seen features at a competitive price, however a growing number of backers have seen these features somewhere before…

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Kickstarter project creators like to quote people who summarize their words

Building an audience is hard.  Our blog has been slowly gaining traction thanks to our efforts through social media sites like reddit, but a real explosion of traffic can only result from our readers taking it upon themselves to read our content and share it with their friends.

Fortunately, our content is free to access, so everyone who chooses to “talk it up” has already had an opportunity to review it thoroughly and evaluate it for themselves for free.  This isn’t always the case.  Movies, music, electronics, and books all cost money to access, so smart consumers turn to product reviews to gather information before they whip out their wallets.  Savvy producers even show off good reviews as a way to build credibility for their product.  You can’t watch a car advertisement without hearing something about J.D. Power and Associates or Consumer Reports, and the back cover of just about every best seller is littered with quotes from various critics.

So what happens when you’re selling a product that doesn’t exist yet?  Nobody can buy the product to review it, and you can’t even send out pre-release units to journalists.  What do you advertise?  As it turns out, the solution is often to just quote people who summarize your words.

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