Crowdfunded Gadgets That Frame And Notify

Editor’s note: Ross Rubin is principal analyst at Reticle Research, a technology, media and telecom advisory firm, and founder of Backerjack. He blogs at Techspressive. Each week, Backerjack shares three tech-related products seeking funding.


There’s nothing that grandparents love more than photos of their grandkids. Photo sharing these days is easy with the Internet and social media, but grandparents are notorious for having trouble using these new technologies. From a distance, sharing photos with older people can be difficult.

Famatic is a digital picture frame with an added touch screen bonus. People can share photos via wi-fi directly to the frame so that grandparents can enjoy a slideshow of new material right from their living room. The 8 GB device connects to Instagram, Facebook and e-mail as well so that people sharing on these platforms can easily upload their photos or videos to Famatic. The screen shows who shared the photo or video along with the caption and allows users to comment on each photo.

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As great as smartphones are, the frequency with which they alert users with notifications can be extremely distracting. Setting custom notifications can single out the truly important information, but can be time consuming to set up and can be impolite in social situations.

The ORBneXt is an updated version of the Orb art piece/single-pixel notifier created by Ambient Devices in its early days. It’s a hand-held, easy to use accessory that can sync up with any phone wirelessly and display notification information through a series of ambient colors. The ORBneXt connects to a phone and its Wi-Fi network by resting on top of the device, and then , using a blinking-light sequence similar to the one used by Quirky’s smart devices, can be programmed through its app to monitor information like weather, sports scores, stocks, and more. That information can then be tied to colors (for example, turn red when the weather’s getting warmer), so that the displaying color carries with it information that matters to its user’s life. The ORBneXt is made with a stylish Japanese glass housing, and has an easily modifiable brain in addition to its flexible IFTTT-enabled app.

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No matter how hard people try, it seems like once high school and university are complete, it’s hard to maintain the same level of friendship with people. As friends move away and professional and family lives become more prominent, keeping closely in touch with people grows more difficult.

The Feeling Skin is a case for iPhone 5 and 5S that aims to bring back that simple, honest level of communication by creating simple, easy-access notifications. The display light on the Feeling Skin glows either blue or red to show when friends are in a good or bad mood respectively. To display a mood, users record a video of their current location and situation and display a mood to it.

For those who want to be proactive, a button is available at the bottom of the case to ping added friends to post their current mood. Additionally, the Feeling Skin acts as a battery pack for the iPhone, offering an additional 80 percent battery life.

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