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
In our previous Mop Up, we expressed concern that Project Aire was promising a $245 smartphone with custom OS and custom hardware by March 2014 with only $5k in capital. It all seemed a bit fanciful. Then, suddenly, Project Aire was gone:
“Magnoplug is an extension cable with a magnetic safety break.” A damn good idea – one can imagine how useful Apple’s MagSafe connector (US Patent 7311526) would be for extension cords, lamps, and the like.
Unfortunately, Apple is infamously litigious (their little tiff with Samsung is just one example), and they unarguably own exclusive rights to the MagSafe technology. Magnoplug claims to have consulted a patent agent, but even if they’re in the right, could they really survive a challenge from Apple?
myLIFTER is a “smart” lifting device that you can control with your smartphone, though it comes with a separate remote if your phone is one of the many that does not support Bluetooth Low Energy.
I wish more campaigns would dedicate the bulk of their video to clips of their prototype working as designed. It’s not without risk – $50k is not much money to spin up manufacturing at scale – but the level of polish up to this point inspires confidence.
A dog collar with four LEDs! It’s a cute idea, but it looks to be the creators’ first significant project and one worries they may be getting in over their heads.
The creators are are promising to ship in April and have not described a plan to scale up production if and when they get funded. Then again, perhaps the bigger worry is my pup chewing through the electronics and eating the battery…
Another BLE location tag dohicky – it literally does everything Lapa and a host of similar devices claims to do. As far as I can tell, its only distinguishing feature is that it’s taken the “dropped e” naming convention to a whole new level.
OpenBCI is an open source 8-channel EEG platform. It’s Arduino-compatible, which will be welcome news to many hobbyists, and their campaign video features a very convincing, no-bullshit demonstration of their prototype.
I hope this campaign succeeds – I look forward to seeing what the DIY-crowd can do with accessible brain-computer interface technology.
The Nordic Society for Invention and Discovery (excuse me, N2rdic S0ciety for Invent1on and Discov3ry) is converting canine EEG measurements into spoken language interpretations of mental state. So far, they can detect “I’m tired”, “I’m excited”, and “I’m hungry,” mental states I could never have decoded otherwise.
At least they are very clear that you’re not buying a finished product.