New Out in Kickstarter—Ad Blocker, Light Bulb and Engineering Toy

By Michael Cleland

Three new, fully-funded gadgets on Kickstarter prove that consumer technology is becoming progressively versatile and complex while still emphasizing user-friendly practicality.

AdTrap: Blocking Ads on Several Devices

The AdTrap, a self-configuring, ad-blocker device, stops all pop-up ads from disrupting your Internet session. Being bombarded by pop-ups while surfing the web has been commonplace since the conception of the Internet, and today they’re even more obnoxious—being forced to watch a minute-long video ad before being able to even open a desired URL.

Nvate Kickstarter Projects Ad blocker by AdTrap light bulb by LIFX smart bulb engineering toy by Atoms Express toys

In order for the AdTrap to work, all the user has to do is plug the device into an outlet on the wall between the modem and router. The AdTrap is capable of blocking all ads for any Wi-Fi connected device, including smartphones, laptops, tablets, and PCs.

Pop-up blocker software has been around for years, but the AdTrap is original in that it is self-configured and hardware rather than software. The AdTrap also has several innovative features.

“[The AdTrap] automatically updates itself as advertisers change schemes, blocks advertisements from music and video streams, mobile apps and web pages, works with all browsers, and works with Internet-enabled devices,” according to Kickstarter.

The inventors of AdTrap have tested prototypes of the device for seven months. According to Kickstarter, AdTrap inventors have “built and tested several generations of prototypes, worked a lot of nights and weekends to get the project done, and tested a production run of units.”

The AdTrap was fully funded on Dec. 8, 2012, receiving $213,392, well above the campaign’s goal of $150,000.

The AdTrap is available for preorder on the product’s website for $149 and will begin shipping in February.

View the Kickstarter campaign or visit the AdTrap website to get an AdTrap of your own.

LIFX: The Smart Light Bulb

Bringing in over $1.2 million of the pledged goal, the LIFX smart bulb seems to be the most popular technology gadget that has recently been funded on Kickstarter. The LIFX smart bulb is powered by Wi-Fi connection, and can be adjusted in color, mood, and timing by a smartphone app.

Nvate Kickstarter Projects Ad blocker by AdTrap light bulb by LIFX smart bulb engineering toy by Atoms Express toys

With just one bulb plugged in and self-configured as the “master bulb,” all the other LIFX smart bulbs you purchase, called “slave bulbs,” can be configured to the “master bulb.” The slave bulbs imitate the master bulb’s control settings, but can be adjusted individually as well.

The LIFX smart bulb is energy-efficient and is similar to LED lighting. “LED lighting is the future of home and commercial lighting around the world,” according to Kickstarter. “LEDs have reached a price point and level of consistency where they’re now the best alternative to incandescent bulbs for their energy efficiency [as they use approximately one-tenth the energy of standard household bulbs].”

Since the bulbs are Wi-Fi enabled, all that’s needed to set them up through the LIFX app is a password to your home network, and the system self-configures. According to Kickstarter, the LIFX smart bulb has several capabilities.

“Control your lights from anywhere, choose any brightness for a specific bulb—a room or your whole house, create colors to match a mood or décor, visualize your music with animated colors,” according to Kickstarter.

The entrepreneurs of the LIFX smart bulbs are also working on a hacker kit and encourage hackers to try and invent new apps for the bulb.

According to the site, LIFX will begin taking orders early this year.

Find out when LIFX smart bulbs will be ready for purchase on the LIFX website and check out the project’s Kickstarter campaign.

Atoms Express Toy: The Fun Engineering Toy

According to Kickstarter, the Atoms Express Toy works like a remote control by allowing users to magnetically move other toys in any direction using built-in modules such as motor, light, sensor, battery brick, and impulse response “lasers.”

Each Atom Express Toy is a tiny, multi-colored box with built-in electronics capable of connecting to another atom box or adapting to another toy—Legos, stuffed animal, and so on.

“Atoms don’t require any electronic skills or programming experience—or supervision from a parent with an engineering degree,” according to Kickstarter. “In fact, because of the tiny electronics built into each one, kids can make all sorts of cool stuff within five minutes of taking ATOMS out of the box.”

Nvate Kickstarter Projects Ad blocker by AdTrap light bulb by LIFX smart bulb engineering toy by Atoms Express toys

One Atom Express Toy package is the Monster Construction kit, which, according to Kickstarter, “allows you to build and personalize creatures with personalities that are afraid of the light, love to hide in the dark, [and] love to scare your mother.” This kit retails for $69.99.

The Magic Wand kit comes with a kit of toy atoms that can be built into a wand “that can turn on your nightlight, move a toy, or close a door with a shake of the wand,” according to Kickstarter. This kit retails for $79.99.

The iOS Control kit “allows you to control Atoms modules with an iPhone, iPad, or iPod that has Bluetooth 4.0,” according to Kickstarter. This kit retails for $149.99.

The Atoms Express Toy was fully funded on Jan. 1, receiving $183,000 of the project’s $100,000 goal.

The Atoms Express Toy kit is available for preorder on the product’s website and will begin to ship in July. To view the project’s Kickstarter campagin, visit the Atoms Express Toy Kickstarter page.

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