Michael manages PCWorld's hardware product reviews and contributes to TechHive's coverage of home-control systems and sound bars. More by Michael Brown
Contrary to what you might think, higher-income households are actually less likely to be burglarized, according to an analysis by the Department of Justice. So folks of lesser means are not only at greater risk of being ripped off, they’re also less able to afford a home-security system. The team at Canary doesn’t think that’s fair, and they’re working on a device that could level the playing field.
The company launched a crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo today to bring its inexpensive home-security system—also called Canary—to market. I spoke with Canary’s CEO, Adam Sager, about the new product last week. Sager, a former sergeant with the Israeli Defense Forces, provided security consulting services to a number of large corporations before cofounding Canary.
Some say that programming and circuitry are some of the most important subjects we aren’t teaching our kids these days. Knowledge of electrical behavior and computers has become quite useful, but many are raised in relative ignorance. A pair of enthusiasts have chosen to address the issue by producing a simple, easy to understand teaching aid. LightUp (funding through June 30), the name bestowed upon company and product alike, represents a set of electronic building blocks and a suite of programming tools aimed at helping up-and-coming generations learn.
LightUp is a series of wireless electronic components. Building blocks spanning functions from resistors and switches to pressure sensors and light theramins are linked together at the ends by magnet-tipped connections. The coin-battery piece provides constant current to lights and buzzers, allowing you to easily see the fruits of your efforts or exercise problem solving when something’s gone awry.
I’m not convinced that personal sidewalk traversal is ripe for a renovation. Plenty have met success by marketing their new wheeled contraptions as toys or exercise equipment. Yet Inventist is billing its new product almost as a replacement for walking, almost entirely forgoing an appeal to one’s sense of fun. The two-wheeled transportation platform, or Hovertrax (funding through June 30), is aimed at carrying the future of small-scale transportation into view.
Think of it like motorized skateboard turned sideways, or a Segway without handlebars. A pair of rigid black foot platforms perch atop an axle, each rotating independent of the other. Wheels about the diameter of grapefruits cap each end, producing a profile that looks like it’d awkwardly fit into the average backpack. With a step onto the pads, a system of gyroscopes and accelerometers briefly wobble the device beneath the user, settling stably underfoot. Counter rotating gestures of the heel and toe or a lean to and fro then rotate and accelerate the Hovertrax and its cargo. In practice, the rider looks rather like someone standing on an airport people mover or a stop-motion video subject sliding at lifelike frame rates.
Amber covers lifestyle and mobile tech, including fit tech, mHealth, travel, home automation and more. In her non-tech time she takes too many pictures of her cats, watches zombie movies, crochets, and plans out her next tattoos. More by Amber Bouman
It can be awkward to try and convince a friend that they shouldn’t be driving, but it’s a situation that many of us find ourselves in: It’s late on a Friday night, you’ve been out with coworkers for a few hours, and then Steve from accounting unevenly rises and declares it’s time for him to head home. “Are you okay to drive?” someone asks, and he says he’s fine—but it also took him several minutes to find his keys in his jacket pocket. Maybe he’s just tired, maybe he’s past his limit, but there’s no real way for you to determine whether or not you should insist on calling him a cab.
So far, 2013 has been a real banner year for virtual reality enthusiasts. Oculus is almost done shipping the last of its Rift virtual reality headsets to Kickstarter backers. And Virtuix Tuesday launched its own Kickstarter project to fund manufacturing of its upcoming Omni treadmill (funding through July 22, shown above in an artist's rendition).
Unlike a traditional treadmill, which forces you to walk a specific path, Virtuix’s product is the latest in a series of upcoming “omnidirectional” treadmills for gamers.
The University of Maryland’s Morpheus Laboratory has been tinkering with flapping wing flight for almost a decade. Now Da Vinci Classic Ornithopters (DCO) has partnered up with Morpheus Lab to offer a device that bears the fruits this research and design, a remote controlled small unmanned air vehicle (SUAV) that’d make its namesake proud. The Da Vinci Classic Ornithopter (funding through June 17th) is bringing affordable robotic birds to the hobbyist crowd.
Ornithopters are aircraft whose forward momentum is generated by a flap of wings. Though they’re best known as a theoretical design dreamt up by a Renaissance man, the Classic isn’t quite large enough to carry people. This fowl-styled vehicle instead exists solely for those seeking to relish in the concept of bio-inspired flight.