You are currently browsing the Drop Kicker blog archives for January, 2014

A quick message from the founder of Hydrobee

Last week, I got a message from Burt Hamner, founder of Hydrobee which we reviewed recently.  Here’s what he had to say (edited to remove personal information):

Your DropKicker review was fair, glad you know we can make the power claimed, and yes, there is a lot more work to do to make this a commercial product!  And yes, I have not done it before, so I got smart.  Find help!

We have now figured out how to charge our USB dynamo/battery with faucets and hoses, streams and rivers, wind, bikes, pulleys and open wood fires.  Design in process.  Found a great prototyping and batch manufacturing team in Tijuana who makes power tools etc.

Also we have a little coalition of local Seattle people forming “McStarter” consulting team to help others do crowd funding.  Maybe we can enlist you guys as product reviewers  pre-Kickstarter, for those entrepreneurs smart enough to know that’s a good idea!

Burt Hamner, President, Hydrobee SPC

The Ark wireless portable charger


As the portable backup battery market is flooded with a number of hand-held battery solutions, the Ark from Bezalel hopes to float above the rest by offering a wireless charging feature uncommon in portable devices.  With forty days and forty nights left to go on their campaign, it looks like they’re well on their way to reaching their $35,000 goal, but when their efficiency claims are scrutinized, one wonders why anyone should bother waiting.

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SeeSpace InAir Augmented Television


SeeSpace InAir promises a whole new way of interacting with your television. Using an inline HDMI dongle, they hope to enhance your favorite programming with additional information from the web.  It’s definitely a cool idea if done well, and the hardware technology is there, but the real question is where this extra content is going to come from.
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Dream on


The allure of sleep and dreaming is undeniable, those mysterious necessities that fill a third of our lives (if we’re so lucky). Despite decades of research, there is no comprehensive theory of sleep, why we dream, or why I feel like a slug when I wake up early. It’s no wonder we find them fascinating.

Unfortunately, some unscrupulous creators have taken advantage of that fascination, raising insane amounts of money with good marketing and shoddy science while more legitimate campaigns languish. Let’s set aside the hyperbolic nonsense – no more shouting about the “power” of sleep and dreams – and investigate the science and technology behind:

  • NeuroOn – A magical device that claims to track your sleep patterns, train you to sleep less, induce lucid dreams, and wake you up gently, all while ripping off early supporters
  • Lucid Dreamer, CanLucidDream, Aurora, & DreamNet – Lucid dream inducing masks
  • Napwell – Progressive light alarm clock
  • Vigo – Track your alertness and give you a poke when you start to doze

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Skulpt Aim


You should buy a Skulpt Aim because “you can’t improve what you can’t measure.” Or so they say.

But do they measure something worth improving? They claim to record body fat percentage but cite no evidence their method is accurate (or that it even works). They claim to measure muscle quality – a metric they appear to have invented – but don’t bother to define the scale.

We’re expected to watch their parade of very fit half-naked models and take their word.

That said, while it may be snake oil, it’s not necessarily a scam. The technology behind Skulpt has been used in numerous peer-reviewed studies to assess disease-induced changes in muscle composition, including several projects by Skulpt’s co-founder Dr. Seward Rutkove, Professor of Neurology at the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

So let’s play along, shall we? What exactly does Skulpt Aim measure?

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Airfy wireless hotspot


The Airfy team claims that their new line of wireless devices will make it simpler for individuals or businesses to set up advanced and secure wireless networks.  The product looks good, but there are some business challenges and gaps in their product description that leave me with a few big questions such as “what does the app that ties all of these things together actually look like?”

While it looks like Airfy is pitching a new wireless router, closer investigation reveals that they’re trying to start up an internet services based company that will utilize a global network of devices such as those pitched in their campaign.  Many of the advertised features require pervasive use of their technologies, and yet some of those features may hinder widespread adoption.

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Drop Kicker Mop Up – 03 January 2014


It’s time for another installment in our occasional “Mop Up” series, a review of crowdfunding news that caught our interest. In this issue:

  • Project Aire – An overambitious smartphone
  • Magnoplug – A safer power cord
  • myLIFTER – A BLE-enabled lifting device
  • Bluetooth LED Dog Collar – You have to respect descriptive product names
  • Bringrr – A Bluetooth Low Energy location tag
  • OpenBCI – EEG for the people
  • No More Woof – Read your dog’s mind

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Coin: Update


Coin, the card of cards, is back with a couple of updates: a “tap-to-unlock” feature, and a video demonstration of their latest prototype.

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