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

The Atlantic: Have you contributed to a health scam?


Ch00f and I recently had the pleasure of talking with Olga Khazan of the Atlantic on the subject of dubious crowd-funding campaigns. Her article, which specifically targets health products, is an outstanding review of the challenges we face more generally.

If you have a few minutes, I encourage you to give it a read.

One thing to rule them all?


If the “Internet of Things” is going to live up to the hype, hardware developers will need to fully embrace the metaphor and all it implies. Let’s be honest, most projects these days are a variation on a theme: take a few sensors, add a 2.4 GHz radio, think up a snappy name, and claim to be “the world’s first <really specific application>.” However, despite the underlying similarities, each has its own custom app and interface, making it impossible to design a common “browser” that allows users to navigate from device to device.

If this landscape sounds more like cable TV than the Internet, that’s because it is. Providers are competing to herd users into their particular walled-garden.

Some day, a central authority will define a common standard like what the Bluetooth SIG has done with their heart rate profile (among many other examples) and things will improve. In the meantime, hardware developers continue making grand promises that assume they succeed in the winner-take-all competition for users.

As a backer, this is a HUGE leap of faith – even if the product ships, we may receive only a shadow of its potential usefulness, like buying a media player to find out it only plays HD-DVDs. And unlike retail, crowdfunding has no refunds and no returns.

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iFind RF energy harvesting bluetooth beacon


A few weeks ago a new device entered the ever-widening bluetooth beacon market on Kickstarter. Unlike the competition, the new iFind from WeTag Inc. promises that it can offer all of the features of a standard bluetooth beacon without ever needing a battery charge or replacement.  This bold feature is relatively unexplained leading to a large amount of online skepticism.  In an attempt to cut through the controversy, we were lucky enough to conduct a short interview with WeTag’s CTO Paul McArthur.  While his response did help us to attach more concrete numbers to the company’s claims, we are still unconvinced that iFind is a viable product.
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Neptune Pine Smartwatch cancels NFC, CDMA; waterproofs device with commercial NeverWet spray


Though we only covered the Neptune Pine in passing when discussing how some campaigns like to quote publications that summarize their own words, some of their recent project updates have created quite a stir that deserves brief discussion.

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