Our Review of the BOBINE Flexible iPhone Dock

This KickStarter funded project was sent to us to review from [FUSE] chicken.  This company makes a variety of charging cables, travel cables, phone docks, and stands. The product we were sent to review is called BOBINE, and is touted as “the world’s most flexible iPhone dock.”

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photo courtesy of [FUSE] chicken

photos courtesy of [FUSE] chicken

Unfortunately, as we don’t have iPhones, and the BOBINE is designed specifically for iPhones, I was unable to actually use the product on my phone, but I did unbox the product, and got to experience how well it is manipulated to be used in various manners- such as this tripod. It seemed to be a very sturdy cord, and handy to use for charging your phone while

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Youtube videos of the product in action in a moving vehicle show that it’s not as stable as a mount on your dash- a bit wiggly, but sufficient to use for hands- free calling or getting directions.

This YouTube video demonstrates ways to flex the stand to make it more sturdy.

 

I enjoyed the tag that was attached to the cord:

“While this product may seem self- explanatory, PLEASE READ the Start Guide first!”

The other side read:

“Stop!

Twist me, curve me, bend me, but PLEASE DON’T fold me or be overly aggressive as I have feelings too.”

Attached to the instructions is the personal e-mail for the founder of the company. It’s nice to see companies with personable service and a sense of humor.

This nice product is 24 inches long, comes with a unique registration code so you can obtain a warranty within 90 days of purchase, and it’s available for $34.95 on the company website. Free shipping on product over $50, too!

Project 475 Kits Will Technologically Prepare the Next Generation

Project 475 aConsidering that the younger generation is addicted to tech, it is up to the older one to teach them how to make better tech. This is why there is such a push for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mechanics) education, and there have been a lot of educational toys to help with this.

The issue is that many of these educational toys are muy expensivo. As someone who has written a book on Lego MINDSTORMS, I know that those kits cost a few hundred dollars. Wouldn’t it be easier to create a kit that can teach kids about how to create educational electronic kits with nothing more than materials found in the average home?

That is just what the 475 Kits are designed to do, and it is quite a bright idea. Not only that, these kits will be available to users on a subscription basis, so you get a new kit every once in a while around a theme.

Now, this idea is just a Kickstarter project, at least until it can get its proper funding (and you should give to it). The plan is that the first kit be a Home Audio Kit. The first would be a Collaboard for using resistance using graphite pencils, the second is an electric ukulele, and then a DJ Mixing Station, which you can see in the image.

All of these can be done with the Andruino Board and materials like bottle caps, CDs, and a hot glue gun. In fact, if you click on the link below, you will see a video of the next project, which is a hand grasping.

Hand Grasp

Project 475 bYou can imagine what this does for the user as he or she can create something of their own with simple materials. Suddenly, creating some technical creation becomes easier, and you don’t have to buy a lot of expensive equipment, like a 3-D printer and such.

Well, I am looking forward to the day when these kits become available for subscription, as these 475 Kits will make a smarter and more tech-savvy generation. Until then, please go over to project 475’s Kickstarter page and donate to them.

Kickstarter Spotlight: Bots Alive, and it will do just that!

I’m not certain if I have ever used the whole “Kickstarter Spotlight” in our headline, but I think it is helpful to put some Kickstarter tech projects in the spotlight. This Bots Alive thing is definitely right up my alley.

I figured that it was better to just put the video here instead of showing some pictures of it. You can see that it uses the Hexbug Spider, and this is a toy that I am surprised that I have not covered before. I believe that Radio Shack helped develop the Hexbug at first, but that might be the subject for another article.

Anyway, the Hexbug Spider normally comes with this dinky controller, but Bots Alive really lives up to its name. You can see how the Hexbug Spider avoids the red blocks but is attracted to the blue ones. You can also see that this gives the Spider some very lifelike movements.

In fact, I would venture to say that they almost look too lifelike. You might notice that when it is surrounded by red blocks, it almost has what I would call a panicked expression. It’s like if you were to put a rabbit in a box-trap.

In addition to the markers and blocks, the Bots Alive will have an IR Blaster to allow the user to control the Hexbug Spider. It looks like a little radar dish that plugs into the smartphone itself. There is a companion app that does this, and there is an augmented reality program to “see the world as the robot sees it”.

I had a chance to talk to Dr. Bradley Knox, who has researched human-robot interaction and A.I. at the MIT Media Lab and at UT Austin after studying psychology at Texas A&M. We discussed how this technology could be applied to STEM education, and how the success of Star Wars has helped develop robotic technology over the years.

Now I am told that the Kickstarter fund for this should be starting right now, and I scheduled this post to coincide with it. You should definitely read more about Bots Alive on the Kickstarter page here.

WeKast: The Plug and Cast Solution

WeKastIt looks like we have another great Kickstarter project, and I believe that this one will be receiving its funding. WeKast is a pocket-sized device that allows you to present content straight from a smartphone, tablet, or laptop to any screen.

There is a video on the Kickstarter page that kind of over-dramatizes the situation. You know, when you have to deliver a presentation and the projector or whatever doesn’t line up. Yeah, you should probably arrive early to make certain that the tech works for you. I’ve never been the stumbling guy on stage, but I have been in the audience for that, and it’s never easy.

So, you can connect the WeKast to a projector or screen via VGA or HDMI (the small device has both). Then you can connect to your mobile device via Wi-Fi, and then deliver your presentation with slides, business documents, videos, and photos. The control is in your hands with your mobile device, and you can upload directly from any files on Dropbox or Google Drive. The whole thing charges on Micro-USB.

So, this WeKast really is a terrific product, and you can only get it on Kickstarter now, but there will clearly be more products like this.

Vintage Soda Watch

Vintage SodaSo, this is a review of a watch, and it is not a smart one. This doesn’t meant it is a dumb one! This is by Vintage Soda, why soda? It’s bubbly, it’s sweet, it’s delicious! Actually, it uses the style of vintage soda, which is…very smart.

Yes, normally I don’t cover a regular watch here on this site because watches are kind of passe, really. Most people don’t even have one, and smartwatches are supposed to take their place, but really haven’t, honestly. Most people just look on their phone to see the time, after all.

vintage soda watchBasically, the Vintage Soda watch has a bottle cap for a second hand. Seriously, there is a bottle cap in the watchface that almost blocks out the hour and minute hands.

That isn’t the only thing that makes the Vintage Soda unique. The straps are interchangeable, and they have Nylon, Leather, and Stainless Steel. It also has some signature packaging that looks like…a soda bottle. I am totally serious about that.

Seriously, you should check this out, because like a lot of my stories, this particular one is a Kickstarter project. That means it will take your funding to get it off the ground, but it has, at this writing, over 20 percent of its financial goals after a day, so it should make its goals after the end of the month. Still, if you want to give it some help and get yourself a Vintage Soda Watch in the process, click here for more information.

The speeC-EZ from iCreation

speec-EZI recently had a chance to get to know a company called iCreation, and I would highly recommend checking out their products if you haven’t already. They now have a Kickstarter project that is called the speeC-EZ.

In case you are stumbling on the pronunciation, it is pronounced “Speakeasy”. You know, those places during Prohibition that sold illegal alcoholic beverages. In this case, the speeC-EZ is made to prevent car accidents, specifically those caused by distracted driving.

I think we all know that people being on their smartphones have caused some serious accidents, so the speeC-EZ is made to pair with the smartphone so you can control it with your voice. This means you can keep your phone in your glovebox with all the gloves, and you can send/receive texts, make/receive calls, send/receive emails, play tunes, and get some navigation.

As you can see, it mounts in the car’s charging port, and this is what powers it. Then there is a noise cancellation microphone that will turn on as long as it is plugged in.

If you want this, you can pledge for it on the Kickstarter page and help them achieve their $50,000 goal. I have no idea when it will be available to the general public for purchase.

Nikola Labs has iPhone case that charges from the air

Nikola LabsRemember yesterday when I discussed the really cool waterproof battery case from Mophie? Well, that might be a thing of the past thanks to this Nikola Labs product.

According to the Nikola Labs website, “Nikola Technology efficiently converts RF signals like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and LTE into DC power using its proprietary energy harvesting circuit. The result is usable energy that can provide power to mobile devices wireless”.

Okay, so if this technology is really true, then this means that one might never have to charge a phone again. Yeah, the whole charging cable business, which is pretty big, is going to go under. You thought that wireless charging like the Powermat was the bomb? Then you should be prepared for them to get under the bomb, because who needs wireless charging with magnetic induction when my charger just pulls power from the air.

So, this Nikola Labs case will be appearing on Kickstarter soon. Personally, why don’t Otterbox, the aforementioned Mophie, or some other big product accessory company get a hold of this. Hey, why not put this technology on every phone? Yes, every phone would want to be bought, and they would never need to be charged. Yes, this could change everything.

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PhoneDrone turns a smartphone into a personal drone

Phone DroneEvery once in a while, you’ll see a Kickstarter project where I have to go: Hmmm. Such is the case with the the PhoneDrone, an apparatus for your phone that allows it to become an autonomous aerial camera.

Now here is the first thing that I asked. Why would you want to put your smartphone on a flying drone? Not only are you throwing your phone to the wind, but to me, it just seems more logical to control the drone with a phone.

What if the PhoneDrone had some app in it that allowed you to control the drone? Apparently, it does as the app allows for how high to fly, stream video feedback to another mobile device, and it will come back to you if the battery is low.

Yeah, I’m not certain if this will work out. At this writing, it is at about $62,000 of its quarter-million dollar goal. So yeah, I’m not certain if we will see more of these, but let’s just say that perhaps the PhoneDrone is meant to replace selfies.

Check it out on its Kickstarter page and donate something to PhoneDrone now.

LucidBrake is a brake light for the bike!

LucidBrakeIt’s very strange that in an age where all cars need brake lights, bikes do not. This could change with the Lucidbrake, a smart wireless bicycle brake light.

At first I thought this was some brakelight that would attach to some mechanism on the bike so the moment you hit a brake, the light will go on. Actually, it is not like that at all, for the brake light will go on when the bike is about to stop. I guess there are some motion detectors that will light up the 8 LEDs, and it will know the difference between a brake and a bump.

These lights can be seen a half mile away a night and a quarter mile during the day. You can put the LucidBrake on the back of your helmet, your jacket, and the back of the bike. Yeah, might as well make more brake lights for even greater safety.

Now, this is a Kickstarter project, which means that it will need your funding to make certain that it will get off the ground, or on the bike.

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The Greatest Case, a Kickstarter project that needs to live up to its name

The Greatest CaseYes, I have reviewed a lot of cases on this blog, and I think it is interesting that someone has made one known as The Greatest Case. So what can I say, is it really? Well, it has lot of competition with Otterbox, Lifeproof, and other names associated with protecting ones mobile devices. Perhaps what makes it interesting is why it is the Greatest Case.

Here’s a clue: it is the grip. Considering how big phones are getting with the iPhone 6 Plus and the Galaxy Note series, this is going to keep them out of our pocket and into our hand. Hands are slippery tools, so it is probably good that the Greatest Case has so many ways to grab it so it will not slip. When you boil it down, it is a case with a pretty “hole-y” back so the chances of it slipping are slimmer than those with a backside of one surface.

Anyway, The Greatest Case has exceeded its Kickstarter goals, which means that it will probably be out very soon. The creators have stated on their Kickstarter site that “a survey will be sent out to determine which model phone you need case for”. The case is meant to be made for the iPhone 6 Plus, Nokia 1520, as well as the Galaxy Note 3 and Note 4.

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