Software is not the only tech thriving right now. Many hardware startups are making great strides in innovation and design to provide solutions for some of our most pressing issues. From food and air quality testing to an advanced action camera that fits in the palm of your hand, these ten hardware startups are ones to watch in 2020.
The team at OCLU set out to design an action camera that is both state-of-the-art and functional. As outdoor sports enthusiasts themselves, they noticed most high-tech action cameras on the market were difficult to use and required you to step away from the action to operate.
The taller, bulkier designs of many popular brands also created excessive wind drag which slows you down. They wanted an action camera that could capture high-resolution videos and images, but one that was also sleek, aerodynamic, and easy to use. That’s when the OCLU Action Camera was born!
The OCLU Action Cam features stunning 4K video resolution at 30fps, plus electronic image stabilization with 1080p at 30/60fps, so video content, including time-lapse and slow-motion, is always clear and detailed. OCLU’s one-of-a-kind LiveCut feature allows users to delete unwanted content immediately. OCLU knows it takes several tries to capture the perfect shot, but they don’t want you to be bogged down by unwanted footage. With LiveCut, you don’t have to wait to connect to a computer to free up space.
Instead of a touch screen, the OCLU features a customizable quick toggle, allowing you to preset your favorite filming modes and quickly change settings. Touch screens can often be frustrating since you have to remove your gloves or warm up your hands to adjust the camera. You never have to worry about this with OCLU’s intuitive, quick toggles.
To solve the issue of wind drag, OCLU designed a smoother, more modern body that sits flush to every surface, including your helmet, surfboard, or handlebars. With one of their many advanced accessories, the camera can be securely mounted to your equipment and also becomes waterproof up to 50 meters.
The OCLU Action Camera is also incredibly affordable–coming in under $200 with their current promo. Now, everyone can bring along this lightweight, versatile action camera.
The OCLU team spent five years developing this camera, and the attention to detail shows in each element. Their innovation has resulted in several awards in the industry even before they launched, including the Red Dot Design Award for 2016, the European Product Design Award for 2016 and 2017, plus the iF Design Award for 2017. Since OCLU made its public debut in 2019, it is catching the attention of thrill-seekers everywhere.
Through their research, Plume Labs discovered that each year, air pollution causes more than 7 million premature deaths. They wanted to create a tool to identify poor air quality and provide practical solutions for change. With this mission in mind, they developed Flow, a personal air pollution sensor that measures what’s in the air around you and provides real-time feedback.
Flow is a small, portable, smart device that attaches anywhere. It measures particulate matter (PM1, PM2.5, and PM10), Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), and nitrous oxides (NO2) caused by exhaust fumes. Whether you are indoors or outdoors, a quick press of the button sends immediate air quality results to the device’s smartphone application. You can then use the app to locate a full breakdown of the pollutants in your area. The app can also guide you towards areas with cleaner air.
Flow has received recognition in the tech industry, including the 2019 Red Dot Award for product design, the 2019 FastCo Most Innovative Company Award, and the 2017 CES Innovation Award. Their CEO, Romain Lacombe, spoke at TED 2018 and helped to bring the issue of localized air pollution to millions. Since then, the company has developed Flow 2, which has a smaller, more lightweight design, and an improved accuracy that can test for more pollutants than Flow 1.
Lynx AR Headset
This France-based startup started with a mission to create an affordable, wireless, standalone headset that also offered users a wider field of view. They noticed most AR headsets on the market were see-through rather than passthrough. With see-through, users see the real world through the glass, with the visual images and objects superimposed. Unfortunately, see-through also has a narrow field of view. The Lynx headset solves this problem.
Passthrough headsets feature the same type of display as VR headsets, but the real world displays through cameras rather than being entirely virtual. These types of headsets are referred to as “mixed reality headsets” because the display is similar to VR, but the AR on a passthrough headset will have a wider field of view. This adjustment also brings the cost of an AR headset down considerably. Most see-through, AR headsets cost around $3500, but the Lynx is currently available for $1500.
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Unlike other passthrough headsets, the Lynx headset is standalone and wireless since hardware, battery, and storage are built-in. Lynx has received recognition in Upload, Forbes, Road to VR, and VR Times. They are set to release to the public in the summer of 2020.
Ekster Smart Wallet
The founders of the Ekster Smart Wallet were frustrated by the lack of security on most everyday carry items, such as wallets. Since wallets hold sensitive information, they wanted to create something safer. Their new smart wallets are the perfect combination of state-of-the-art technology and fashion.
Ekster wallets are stylish and made of high-quality genuine leather. Their design and manufacturing methods model those of most high-end, luxury leather brands. Each wallet is slim and features a small button to display cards in a staggered pattern–making it easy to access your cards. Ekster wallets also feature an RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) secured credit card holder–allowing you to connect your wallet to your smartphone wirelessly. You can then use GPS to track the exact location of your wallet.
Ekster Smart Wallets were featured on CNN, ABC, CBS, and in Forbes. They were also named one of the best Kickstarter wallets. Since their viral launch, they have quickly become one of the largest smart wallet brands.
Openpath Keyless Door Access
The founders at Openpath began to recognize the security risk standard keys and badges presented to many office buildings. Keys, badges, and PINs are unreliable and often lead to information breaches. To solve these common issues, they created a security ecosystem that works with your smartphone.
Openpath’s software is easy to use and creates one true source of control. Instead of relying on key fobs, this system uses employees’ smartphones to grant or deny access. Through Bluetooth and WiFi connection, users can open doors with just a touch of the Openpath reader. Once an employee’s phone syncs with the system, they don’t even need to unlock their phone to gain access. The app allows directors to monitor, lock, and open doors from anywhere at any time. They can also authorize guest passes and initiate lockdowns in case of an emergency.
Since its launch, the Wall Stress Journal, Forbes, Business Insider, and TechCrunch have recognized Openpath. Several businesses have started using Openpath in their offices, including Domino’s Pizza, FabFitFun, and Moon Juice. They have also received numerous awards for innovation and security, including the iF Design Awards for 2020, the Timmy Awards 2019 Best Tech Startup, and the SSI Security Solutions 2019 Award.
Developed by two MIT students who both struggle with food allergies, Nima helps to alleviate the anxiety that comes with dining out when you have a severe allergy. Nima founders spent years developing their science-backed, proprietary technology which allows users to test their foods and ensure no allergens are present.
This small handheld device contains a disposable test capsule to evaluate food. An electronic sensor and algorithm then sends immediate results to the front screen of the device. The device will let users know if any allergens have been detected. The Nima app will also provide more extensive results for each test. To help reduce the mislabeling of many dishes within dining establishments, Nima developed their Food Service Provider (FSP) Program. Now, restaurants can confidently help diners make safe choices.
The Nima has gone through several rounds of testing, including thousands of third-party tests, to ensure users receive the most accurate results possible. When compared with leading ELISA food safety tests, Nima was 97 percent accurate. Nima is supported and backed by researchers in the medical field and continues to expand the allergens it can test. Nima’s innovation has gained the attention of Time Magazine, Travel and Leisure, TechCrunch, Forbes, and Inc.
With so many Americans suffering from sleep loss, Circadian Optics designed the perfect solution. Through research, they found most sleep loss was due to a disruption in the circadian rhythm. This rhythm is your natural sleep-wake cycle, regulated by the setting of the sun. To help maintain this cycle, Circadian Optics created a line of light therapy lamps that are as chic as they are effective.
Circadian Optics uses LED technology to mimic the sun. With exposure to this warm, natural glow, it improves mood, concentration, and boosts energy. If you start to feel sleepy during the day, 15 to 20 minutes next to a sun lamp can help you feel more alert and focused. Over time, light therapy can help maintain your natural sleep-wake cycle, so you fall asleep quickly every night and wake refreshed. The stylish design of the Circadian Optic lamps makes them suitable for any room of the house or an office. The touch sense makes it easy to turn on and adjust brightness.
Recently featured on ABC’s Shark Tank, founder Amber Leong, accepted an investment of $800,000 from Mark Cuban and Lori Greiner. Circadian Optics has also received praise from the Wall Street Journal, Forbes, and NBC’s Today Show.
At Prynt, they decided to change the way we interact with digital connect. They realized most digital footage remained trapped on our electronic devices. Gone were the days of instant gratification when images would immediately print and develop seconds after saying cheese. To change this, they created a smartphone case that turns your smartphone into a Polaroid.
The Prynt case attaches quickly to your smartphone and allows you to print any photo in your camera roll, no ink required. It is compatible with iOS and Android, requires no batteries, and does not rely on a Bluetooth or WiFi connection for printing. Using the Prynt app, users can add frames, photo stickers, and text to images. You can even scan images with the Prynt app and print them instantly. Users on Amazon and Google love the convenience and ease of the Prynt case. Now, high-quality photos no longer have to remain on our devices–we can quickly print, display, and enjoy them.
Prynt’s first round of funding came through their Kickstarter campaign. They were able to raise $1.5 million from 9,023 backers in just 35 days. Since then, Prynt has been in Forbes, CNN, NBC, TechCrunch tech, Slash Gear, and Engadget. They have recently received additional funding and continue to expand their product offerings.
Robin Auto-Pilot Lawn Mower
The team at Robin Auto-Pilot wanted a lawnmower that was safer for the planet and more efficient than what was currently on the market. So, they created the first emission-free robotic mower. You’ve probably heard of the Roomba Vacuum; well, the Robin Auto-Pilot works in a very similar way but for your lawn.
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This fully electric lawn mower uses sensors that stop and turn the mower automatically, so your lawn is cut perfectly from edge to edge. You can set your preferred lawn height, from 1.25 to 3.5 inches, and then the Robin Auto-Pilot will cut your lawn at this exact height. You can schedule mowing sessions on the Robin Auto-Pilot app and monitor charging. Since this mower cuts your grass more frequently, there is no need to rake or clean up lawn clippings. You also save money on fuel and time because the Robin Auto-Pilot is completely self-sufficient.
TechCrunch, NBC’s Today Show, and ABC’s Shark Tank have featured the Robin Auto-Pilot. They have also recently expanded throughout the US and can now provide this unique service to millions of customers.
Qball Throwable Wireless Microphone
The founder of Qball, Shane Cox, spent years installing audio systems in classrooms. However, he quickly noticed that while these systems gave teachers microphone access, there was no access to students. Cox set out to create a solution–a portable mic that would increase engagement and fun.
The Qball is a soft, yet durable ball that can be thrown or tossed around the room. Within each ball is a powerful, wireless microphone that allows users to have a clear and distinct contribution. The mic is compatible with most audio setups, including PA systems and portable speakers. Whether used in a classroom or a company meeting, the Qball mic helps everyone share and feel included.
The Qball also made its way to ABC’s Shark Tank, where Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, and Rohan Oza invested $300,000 in the brand. This new investment has allowed the Qball brand to branch out to boardroom and corporate executives. Several corporations, including Starbucks, Google, Boeing, Microsoft, JetBlue, and Southwest Airlines, have already signed on to make the Qball part of their corporate training sessions.
The innovation of these ten hardware startups is sure to change the way we address our most common problems. They are listening to the public and creating products that help us live healthier, safer, comfortable, and more exciting lives.