Top 5 Tech Kickstarters

Jambadoo

Kickstarter is making dreams come to life through the power of crowd funding. One of the hottest categories on the site is Technology. Professional and amateur inventors alike are trying their hand at making our lives better, easier or just plain fun. Here are the top five Technology Kickstarters you can contribute to. Don’t delay, though, once funding closes you’ll miss out on perks.

LibraryBox 2.0

This little device offers users a way to share files anonymously in any location, even those areas that do not have reliable internet service. Libraries, teachers and museum around the world use LibraryBox to serve files to wifi-enabled devices. When the next fundraising goal is reached, they’ll enable the ability to transfer files to the LibraryBox via FTP rather than requiring connection via USB.

SunStash Portable Solar Power Charger for Gadgets & Laptops

Want to be able to charge your laptop, smartphone or tablet anywhere, even when you don’t have electricity? This device can store a significant amount of energy that you can use to power your mobile devices. Their customized case properly aims the solar panel regardless of the time of day, giving it 50 percent or more charging efficiency than a panel with no case. It’s portable and powerful.

GlassKap

If you’re one of the lucky few that have Google Glass, this is a must-have accessory. It is a lens cover for the Google Glass to protect the lens and to let the people around you know that you’re not taking pictures or recording them. Because privacy is one of the primary concerns regarding Google Glass, GlassKaps come in a variety of bold colours in order to be highly visible to those around you.

Jambadoo

If you’re like most tech geeks, you have multiple devices but can only connect to one of them via Bluetooth at a time. Until now. Jambadoo allows you and two friends to connect to the same Bluetooth receiver to play music from all three devices. No need to pause any of them; as soon as one hits play, the others pause.

Handibot

If you’re familiar with CNC technology, you’ll know that it involves computers sending designs to machines to be cut into various materials. Handibot works similar to that, except instead of a computer, you use apps on your smart phone, and instead of massive pieces of equipment, you use power tools. They cut into aluminium, wood, plastics and other materials with greater position than cutting by hand.

Top 5 Power Solutions

Pivot-Power

As we accumulate more and more gadgets the number of four-way extension blocks needed to provide power for them all increases too. But the humble four-way isn’t the only solution, these days there’s a wide choice of kit to help you power and control your various devices. Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting options.

Pivot Power

The problem with standard four-way extensions is that many of today’s gadgets are powered by chunky transformers. Often these are so big that they block part of the adjacent socket so that you can’t plug anything else into it. The Pivot Power looks like an oversized bike chain but its clever design lets you bend it into different positions so that you can use all of its five sockets no matter what shape and size your adaptors are. It has built-in surge protection too and costs £29.95 from prezzybox.com

Piggy6

PIGGY6

A different solution to the same problem is the cutely named PIGGY6. A much neater design than the standard, flat extension strips it provides six filtered mains sockets in a circular configuration making them more easily accessible. In addition it features a built in HomePlug 3-port Ethernet bridge so that you can tidy up your network connections too. The PIGGY6 is avalable from solwise and costs £51.11.

Energenie-11

Energenie ENER011

Whilst it looks like it’s just a chunkier version of a standard extension strip the ENER011 has a trick up its sleeve. Four of the six sockets can be controlled from your PC via a USB port. They can be programmed to switch on and off at a particular time or triggered by an event. You can pre-program the unit for timed switching via the PC then unplug it and use it elsewhere, so you could use it to switch lights on and off when you’re away from home for example. The ENER011 Costs £49.99 direct from energenie4u

Energenie-22

Energenie ENER022

Also from Energenie is this GSM controlled power socket. Send it a text and you can switch power to a device on and off from anywhere. It can accept commands from one master phone and up to four others, it sends a text to the master phone whenever it’s switched so you always know its status. There’s a temperature sensor included too so you can use it to turn on a heater for example if things get a bit chilly, plus it has an internal clock for timed switching. It costs £129.99 from energenie4u and you need to add a pay-as-you-go SIM card.

Sweex

Sweex PP210 Intelligent UPS

Uninterruptible power supplies have long been popular in the business world but have always been rather pricey for home use. The Sweex PP210 though offers protection for up to four devices at an affordable £89.99. It gives a backup time of approximately 20 minutes in the event of a mains failure allowing you time to power down in an orderly way. It also features an Ethernet pass through socket to protect your network connection against surges. Plus there’s software that allows it to be monitored from a PC via a USB port so you can trigger an automatic shut down if there’s no one around when the power fails. You can buy one at maplin

New Sony CP-F1L and CP-F2L Li-ion polymer USB chargers

It’s both funny and frustrating how even your best love tech-gadgets can become lifeless hunks of glass and steel when they’re low on juice. I love my iMac, but when it went through a period of power management issues it was basically just a giant hunk of glass reflecting a man weeping and tearing his hair out. And my extensive smartphone use means I get a day’s charge from my iPhone if I’m lucky. That’s not a knock on any particular brand of smartphone – I’ve tested various brands over time and regardless of maker or OS my daily mix of music, podcasts, 3G streaming and text entry will wear down the best of batteries. When I was an iPhone 4/4S owner I had any number of battery cases stashed on my person – if a very long night was planned I would sometimes venture out of the house with two cases. But that’s a one size fits one solution – and with a current gap (a very deliberate pun) in the iPhone 5 battery case market it doesn’t help me in my day to day.

CP-FL2

Fortunately, hi-tech makers of almost everything Sony have released two Li-ion polymer USB chargers – the CP-F1L and CP-F2L. Sony have more than 20 years of Li-ion rechargeable battery manufacturing technology and expertise. If you need power on the go – for a range of devices – then you should read on.

Just 9.4mm thin and 125g light, the CP-F1L has a battery capacity of 3,500mAh, allowing smartphone users to recharge their phones 1.5 times with a high output of 1.5A. With an output of 2.1A, the CP-F2L offers an even higher capacity of 7,000 mAh in a 12.9mm thin body weighing 198g, and is capable of charging a smartphone up to 3 times. The CP-F2L also features dual USB output power ports so you can bring a friend.

Sony-CP-F1L

Both new chargers can be charged via either an AC adaptor or the USB port on a computer or notebook. The supplied AC adaptor also allows for simultaneous charging of both the charger and a portable device at the same time. A 50cm micro USB cable is provided with both models for convenient on-the-go charging.
The innovative Li-ion polymer battery in both chargers retains up to 80% of its charged capacity after a year, and can be recharged 500 times. They both come pre-loaded with about 50% charge, so if you can be saved from a tight spot from the moment you purchase one.

The new CP-F1L and CP-F2L portable USB battery chargers from Sony are available in Europe from mid-December 2012.

ChargeGenie: Device-agnostic charging on the go

HTC and O2 have already announced their first phone that comes without a bundled charger, so it seems that Energenie’s ChargeGenie first universal portable smartphone charger could have been brought out at just the right time.

Energenie

Why would you want a universal charger you may ask? Well, we guess that should your charger break, or get lost, you can shell out on one charger, that will also charge up whatever phone you happen to buy next. And should the trend for not bundling chargers continue, this could prove to be a useful investment.

Energenie, a specialist manufacturer of smart energy saving and power management products, has devised the ChargeGenie, with a gel pad design, which clamps to the back of any Android, Windows or BlackBerry smartphone. Because a lot of handsets these days have shapely design profiles, rather than being completely flat, the charger’s flexible spine ensure’s it follows the device’s contours for a secure fit.

The charger is connected to the smartphone using a tethered USB cable that neatly unfolds from under the pad and is long enough to reach the handset’s microUSB port, wherever it is on the phone.

The ChargeGenie’s neat shape means that you can carry on using the phone while it is charging – and because it only weighs 75g, it’s easy to pop in a bag or pocket once placed in its plastic storage case.

The device features five LED lights that show the battery power level, and its own internal battery can be charged on the move via USB from a car charger or laptop.

The Energenie ChargeGenie is £24.99 and available to pre-order from www.energenie4u.co.uk. It is expected to go on sale in early December 2012.

Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation PRO: Peace of mind to for iOS addicts

iPhones, with their unassailable ability to make their owners pick them up and start fervently pawing the screen the same way monkeys zealously pick nits out of each other’s fur, have a tendency to run out of ‘juice’ somewhat prematurely!

If you’re anything like the millions of others who are somewhat addicted to caressing their iPhones all too frequently and thus draining the battery of life far too frequently, you may be interested in learning about the Mophie Juice Pack Powerstation PRO.

Mophie-Juice-Powerstation-Pro

This highly rugged high-output battery backup means that you can recharge the love of your life even if you happen to be on top of Mount Everest, shipwrecked on Robinson Crusoe’s island or anywhere that’s nowhere near an electricity supply.

And with a 2.1A power and a 6,000 mAh battery, the Juice Pack Powerstation PRO can breathe life into more power-demanding of gadgets, such as the iPad or other tablets or any other gadget for that matter that takes a charge from USB.

With a rubber casing sheathed over an aluminium body, providing a watertight shield over the USB ports, and with an IP-65 rating that will protect against sand, dirt and dist, unlike many gadgets that flinch and wither at the first sign of water, shock or dirt, the Powerstation PRO is designed to resist all external shocks and potential damages that might be thrown at it!

The Californian-based company’s latest product is also capable of switching between 500 mAh, 1A, and 2.1A charge.

What’s more, with a high-output battery, changing is ultra fast, meaning we don’t have to patiently twiddle our thumbs as we wait for our favourite gadgets to be juiced to the max!

So how much would having peace of mind that we won’t be forced to endure the terrifying prospect of being without iPhone juice and being nowhere near a power supply? – £104.99…hmm could definitely be worth it.

Reduce energy bills and damage inflicted by power surges with Masterplug’s new surge protected range

Have you ever had an electrical appliance damaged by a power surge? If you have, you will know how intensely infuriating power surges can be, and if you haven’t, I’m sure can appreciate how intensely infuriating such an incident would be. If your house is anything like my house, you will have a mesh of wires coming from plugs precariously positioned in an overloaded mains adapter and leading to various highly technical gadgets and devices in every room, just crying out for a power surge. You could either carry on waiting for the day that almost inevitable power surge occurs and knocks every out, making you lose unsaved data, or, worse still, such sudden hardware failure causing damage to highly expensive gadgets, or get wise, and install a new Masterplug Surge Protected device. And with Christmas coming and a new load of gadgets arriving, the latter could definitely be worth the investment.

Masterplug

Market leaders in portable power, Masterplug, has launched the next generation in surge protection, giving consumers the chance to, not only save money on electricity bills, but also avoid potentially costly bills to repair damaged equipment.

These flexible home and office solutions come in the form of glossy black and silver-trimmed units that are complete with modem, USB, LAN and telephone ports and are ideal to use with iPads, digital cameras, MP3s, PCs and smart phones.

Masterplug’s new series, ranges from a highly space-effective Power Tower device, which is ideal for multi-tangled plug and wire scenarios, such as the one in my home, to the Power Block, which also offers multiple ports, to single units with one socket.

In the current financial climate that shows no sign of abating and there even being talk of a ‘double-recession’, everybody is keen on saving money on their bills. This, therefore, could be Masterplug’s next generation of power protection devices, greatest selling asset, as the Power Centre unit offers a Master/Slaver functionality, which, by reducing the amount of power wasted during stand-by functions, could help consumers reduce their energy bills.

eTRV: Remote control radiator temperature control

We love green at Latest Gadgets – grass, trees and low-power gadgets that make the world a better place. The eTRV – or electronic thermostatic radiator valve (sounds like a name out of Dr. Who) is the latter. Essentially, it’s a remote control radiator temperature control.

eTRV

Made by heating control specialists Chalmor Limited, the eTVR easily replaces existing thermostatic radiator valves – simply unscrew the old and screw in the new.

If you’re unlucky enough to be stuck with even older radiator controls, you’ll need a professional to fit one of these (or a gutsy amateur). It’s not a major job, though.

The package comes with two parts – the eTVR itself and a universal remote control, which can adjust any eTVR unit it comes in contact with. Think of it as a Sonic Screwdriver for heating.

The remote uses Infra-Red to operate the eTVR, which means it won’t work in different rooms – and your dream of lying in bed and adjusting the downstairs heating is still a way away.

As well as being controlled from a remote, each eTVR has its own controls on the device, letting you turn up and down the heat to your heart’s content.

Each device also comes with a built-in thermometer, which shows the current temperature of the room as well as the temperature it is set to reach. There’s also a boost option to increase the heat for a 60 minute period.

Each eTVR also comes with three set time periods, allowing you to choose what temperature you’d like in each time period. For example, heat up the living room at night, but cool-down the unused home office. Then choose to turn down the heat in the bedroom during the day, but crank up home office warming.

Each unit is powered by batteries that expected to live for five years without replacement (they’re rechargeable), and Chalmor believe that you’ll save 25% off your heating bill if you switch to one of these and use it sensibly.

Oh, and for long-sighted purchasers, the buttons are huge. Like, really huge.

Retail price of the eTRV is £49.99+VAT and the handset costs £9.99+VAT.

IDAPT i2 Wire-Free Universal Charger

If you’re anything like me then you watch too many cartoons and bore people at parties extolling the brilliance of The Venture Bros. You also have far too many gadgets strewn across your desk, all demanding juice. I have a complex ritual, shuffling mini-, micro- and big-fat USB leads across to power my iPhone, DS and whatever else is demanding power that day. One day all gadgets will have inductive charging cases and I can simply throw them on my desk at watch them automagically charge. Or maybe we’ll finally crack wireless charging and I can have everything continually topping up from my pocket.

IDAPT

But until that day I can play around with the IDAPT i2 Wire-Free Universal Charger with USB. The £30 dock lets you charge three devices at a time – two in swanky dock fashion and one by snaking out a cable round the side. Which three devices you may well ask? Well according to the company the i2 supports 4000+ devices – and with all flavours of USB and iOS devices supported, then there is a very good chance that could be an accurate assessment.

The i2 works via a series of interchangeable tips that suit your particular phone, handheld console or tablet. In the box are six tips: Nokia 2, Samsung 4, Sony Ericsson 2, miniUSB, microUSB and iPod-iPhone. There is also a standard USB slot at the side. Not got the tip you were looking for? You can buy extras for about £6 (which seems a little steep to me).

There are little LED charging indicators that let you know what is charging and a big old fashioned on-off switch at the back. The i2 is a cool looking shiny unibody black box that manages to look classy on the average desktop and can actual help to reduce visual clutter.

Available from the IDAPT store here. www.idaptweb.com/shop. You may well expect a pun about charging your credit card but I’m better than that.