Crowdfunding Spotlight: Sense

Crowdfunding Spotlight: Sense

Aug 8, 2014

As an American I feel that it seems that we are sometimes destined to not get enough sleep. We wake up early for work and then spend all day chugging coffee only to quickly try and fall asleep so we can start it all over again tomorrow. There are plenty of apps for smartphones that allow the user to keep a record of their sleeping habits, and I have tried a handful of them myself. One of the biggest problems with these is that the phone has to physically be on the bed with you, and because it is constantly recording data is should also be charging. Sometimes these two things are not very convenient, and it puts the impetus on the user to set everything up before going to bed which, from my personal experience, is the area where I tended to fall short the most.

Enter the Sense. A beautiful, spherical device that sits on the bedside table and analyzes sleep not just through motion, but through ambient light, sound, and temperature. The Sense knows the perfect environment for sleep and will display what factor was most likely responsible for a poor nights sleep. This will allow for corrections to be made which should improve sleep quality.

The Sense comes in three parts, there is the base station that houses the brains as well as almost all of the sensors in the system. The actual motion sensor comes in a clip that discretely attaches to the user’s pillow and constantly communicates to the base station during the evening. The final piece of the puzzle is the smartphone app that is almost a given now days, and this displays a myriad of information for consumption by the user to digest. Featured prominently is a number that is the score for that night’s sleep measured out of 100. The app looks great, and it truly seems to be a joy to use.

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My favorite feature is the smart alarm that times the user’s natural sleep cycles and knows the right time to sound the alarm. Simply put in a range of acceptable alarm times and the Sense will know, based on that night’s sleep pattern, when the sleeper is at their shallowest cycle; aka. when they will wake up easiest.

As always, the biggest selling point will be the price; will the Sense be cheap enough that somebody would justify splurging for it or getting it as a quick birthday or holiday gift? With the pre-order price set to $120 this is sitting right on that line. Maybe for a big Christmas gift or college graduation present, but the Sense is definitely not something most people would buy on the spur of the moment. All that aside, however, this is a great product and I can see it really taking off and becoming a massive hit in the tech community; especially those of us who work for a living.

CrowdFunding Spotlight: Atlas on IndieGogo

CrowdFunding Spotlight: Atlas on IndieGogo

Feb 19, 2014

It is no secret that the whole technology industry feels that wearable tech and fitness tracking tech are certain to become the next big thing. Giants such as Apple and Google have notably thrown their collective hats into the ring with Google Glass and the iPhone’s new M7 motion coprocessor. The problem with fitness trackers, as this weeks KickStarter Crowdfunded Spotlight quickly points out, is that they are essentially glorified pedometers; crudely equating vertical movement with movement and a work rate.

Allow me to introduce Atlas: the first fitness tracker that actually tracks your workouts. The innovative aspect of Atlas is that it tracks movement in three directions and accurately relates that movement with a set of programmed exercises. By paying attention to heart rate as well as movement, the matte black watch is acutely aware of the amount of effort going into each rep. This means that cheating on reps is now a little bit harder than before. Their IndieGoGo page claims that the included sensor is so accurate it can tell the difference between regular and triangle pushups, squats from deadlifts, and dual-bicep curls from alternating bicep curls.

This is honestly one of the most impressive crowdfunding projects in recent memory and above all I have to say that I find the entire yellow text on flat black to be very cool. The generously sized display is divided into two sections, one containing one large number that can be set as reps, heart rate, or elapsed time, and the other containing the remaining two stacked vertically. At the very top is a bar that lists the current exercise to ensure that what is being logged is accurate.

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The Atlas delivers a gold mine of information for fitness tracking apps, and it has announced compatibility with popular apps as well as an incredibly impressive in-house app that displays metrics such as stability, average heart rate, and workout intensity in addition to tracking workouts and suggesting different exercises to work underutilized muscles or rest overworked joints.

I have to say the total package of Atlas is incredibly impressive, which is probably why it has almost quadrupled its initial goal of $125,000 with still 17 days to go. As can be expected the Atlas watch is not particularly cheap, but $169 for a pre-order still feels like a great deal. So, I am sold. Spread the word; the fitness revolution is upon us!