In another big development on the “Internet-of-Things” front, startup Gecko purports to “make your smartphone smarter.” The idea is that the device – a quarter-sized square – connects to your smartphone via low-energy Bluetooth to help monitor the things to which the Gecko is adjoined. The idea is that you tag items you’d like to monitor with Bluetooth, and based on accelerometers and gesture controls, the smartphone acts as a universal control. The device itself comes with a year’s worth of battery life, as well as a buzzer and LED light for alerts. Tag your front door for alerts about when it’s opened or closed; tag a box of pills to keep track of when you take your medication; tag your pet so you know how far it’s gone. It’s a powerful pairing, if it leaves its current Indiegogo funding phase.
FABtotum is breaking the mold when it comes to 3D printing. By incorporating a milling head, the device supports both additive and subtractive manufacturing, and can be used for far more than the average home or office 3D printer. The device also supports third-party tool attachments, allowing expandable capability. Possibly the greatest addition to the FABtotum is its built-in 3D scanner which uses laser scanning and Z probing to create scans with a precision down to 0.47 microns. The project is currently raising funds on IndieGoGo, but with a final expected retail price of $1,099, it can be expected to be a hot commodity for those who have been waiting to pull the trigger on a Makerbot or similar 3D printer. The device’s expandable capability set and scanning functions only serve to make it an even more valuable asset.
In what appears to be an emerging app trend, SmartAds has positioned itself as a secondary player in the “Pandora for Advertising” model utilized by HitBliss. But whereas HitBliss incorporates their own media store, SmartAds skips the entertainment incentive and goes for the jugular: the app pays you real money to watch the ads. As of yet, SmartAds can only pay $25 per month per device, so if you also have a tablet you could make up to $50 per month. The premise is simple: ads show up in your lock screen, and if you like what you see you can click for more info, buy the product or service, and share it with friends; if you don’t like it you can close it and your regular lock screen will appear again. The company also claims that the ads won’t drain battery life or seep data from your monthly plans. SmartAds is still a small IndieGoGo project, so HitBliss definitely maintains an advantage in terms of development, but if the campaign proves successful, SmartAds could become a functional competitor in the advertising app market.