The rate of innovation in the tech world is at full force. New gadgets, apps and services are popping up everyday, and the best ones make us wonder how we ever lived without them.
Today we’re kicking off a new series called the “Weekly Roundup.” Each Monday we’ll give you the rundown on a handful of cool new technology products that appeared on scene the previous week.
This week’s products, which we discovered via Product Hunt, will give you peace of mind and help you become an all-around better person.
It’s like walking home with a buddy.
When you’re leaving the bar, your friends probably say, “Text me when you get home so I know you made it safely.” But what actually happens is you get home, pass out and don’t catch up until the recap group text the next day. Companion ensures that you stick to your promise in a way that doesn’t rely on your less-than-sober judgement.
The app simply tracks you via GPS until you reach your final destination. You choose the friends (aka Companions) who you want to share your movements with and they can not only see where you’re at in real time, they’ll also get notified if anything seems to go awry.
How does the app know that something’s gone awry? Right now it’s based on time and route. If you go off of your route or you’re taking too long, your friends are notified and an option comes up on your screen to instantly call 911 with a tap.
This app stands out in its market of text-me-when-you-get-there apps (like Safetrek and Kitestring) because it doesn’t require much help from you. Barring no interruptions in your walk home, the only time you even have to open the app is when you input your destination — Companion automatically ends your trip when you reach it. But on the chance that you decide to stop at a friend’s place on your way home, you can end the trip yourself and assure your friends that you made an intentional detour.
Right now, the founders are focusing on college campuses and enabling what they call “Predictive Patrol” to ensure guards are in the optimum places should something come up. But this app can still go beyond the bar/party scene and onto kids walking home from school and using Companion to keep in touch with their parents. In the future, the app will include driving capabilities so you can even track your Uber ride home.
The iOS app is now in public beta for you to try it yourself.
SmartCharge™ LED Bulbs
Backup light in a power outage
No matter how prepared you are for the next storm, if the lights go out, there’s always that period of stumbling around in the dark feeling for the nearest candle and that flashlight that is never in the same place twice. Good thing SmartCharge bulbs are more prepared for the dark than you ever will be.
Just screw in the LED bulb like your would any other, and it will run off of your home electricity. But as soon as the electricity goes off, SmartCharge has a built-in battery that will give you four more hours of light. When the electricity is back up and running, the battery is recharged and ready to illuminate any room during the next emergency.
It’s the best kind of gadget for emergencies because you don’t have to make sure that it’s ready for something you can’t even predict. After it’s screwed into a socket, you don’t have to think about it again. Even if you want to outfit your entire house in these weather-ready bulbs, the best place to start is probably the room where you and your family go in case of emergencies, or even a lamp that you can easily unplug and move from room to room.
The bulb will fit any normal socket and will run you $35.
Keep track of what you eat
Get ready to add another health wearable to your arsenal. BitBite is here to track and analyze what you eat by knowing what you’re eating, how much, and when. It displays your eating habits in easy-to-understand infographics so beautiful, you may almost overlook your weekend-long Pad Thai binge — but BitBite won’t let you. It provides live suggestions for ways to improve your eating habits. For example, it might suggest you grab a healthy snack before your routine late-night ice cream craving. Or it’ll notice if you’re missing out on a certain nutrient and make a recommendation to help you meet your daily intake.
It works by fitting snugly into your ear, monitoring your mouth’s movement … and yes it doubles as a Bluetooth headset. When you’re not eating, you can snap it into the bracelet or pin so it don’t have to live in your ear.
Sure, a few red flags go up when watching the info video for this product, namely: you have to pronounce into the air a list of what you’re currently eating. Also, there is some sort-of vague terminology like “machine-learning algorithms,” which make it seem like if you forget to tell the app what you’re eating, it’s only going to track the time you eat and how much you’re eating. But it may be worth taking a leap of faith with the seemingly extensive team of dietitians and nutritionists who helped provide research for the product.
Beyond the team of experts, BitBite is worth talking about for at least a couple of reasons:
- It’s not a bracelet — Right now, wearables are almost exclusively worn in the same ways that we wear jewelry, but BitBite is shaking things up without taking you into Glasshole territory.
- It’s focused on food — While it would be great to see these capabilities merged into already-existing fitness trackers like FitBit, it’s important to perfect the intricacies of nutrition science through wearables before bundling it with other features. That being said, it is built to work with your Apple Watch, Android Device, FitBit, Jawbone, etc.
Keep in mind, tracking your food intake has benefits way beyond your waistline. For example, if every Friday you start to feel super lethargic around 1 o’clock, you may normally chalk it up to the almost-weekend exhaustion. But with BitBite you could check your eating habits on the last few Fridays and maybe notice that you’ve been eating lunch later because your team meetings run long, so the next time you can prep with a snack beforehand. Food is also often linked to skin issues, so maybe your last outbreak wasn’t just handed down from evil hands of fate to ruin your date night. Maybe instead, your pores don’t take kindly to too much dairy.
We can learn a lot about how our body runs if we can track what goes inside it and map out patterns and trends. It looks like BitBite is a step in that direction.
This product is being funded on IndieGoGo through December 11. A $109 pledge will get you your own device before shipping.
Personalized pages via url
It’s a proven fact that people like hearing the sound of their own name, so it will help you a ton if you’re greeting your site visitors with a personal hello. Bespoke helps with that, but it’s about so much more than a name.
First of all, it’s a cinch to use even for the non-programmers among us. To install it, you just enter the code on your site, then wrap any content with the Bespoke tag, adjust your URL and blam-o. Your website just got personal.
You can also enhance your email marketing by throwing in the user’s name and copy corresponding with the email campaign they’re engaging with. So, if you’re a clothing boutique for men and women each gender can have its own copy. For example, Jill’s site experience might read, “Great to see you, Jill. You should check out our new chic knee-high boots for winter,” while Jack’s might read, “Great to see you, Jack. You should check out our trendy new motorcycle jackets for winter.”
It’s amazing what a little personalization can do to guide your user’s experience in a more intentional, memorable way. You can download the web app now.
Just for fun: PiggyJar
Friends help friends break bad habits
PiggyJar is a digital substitution for a swear jar. You can still swear away, but if you’re trying to kick another habit like being late for work, start a jar for it and invite your friends to join. Stay honest with yourself and them and everytime you tap the app, you’re putting change into the jar.
The money doesn’t actually leave your account until the jar is filled up. When it’s full you can “smash” the jar and you and your friends can go out for drinks to celebrate your broken habit or donate the money to charity.
The app is available for iOS right now.
Featured image via KaboomPics.