Having a #connectedhome is a term we might not have considered even five years ago, but it is rapidly becoming the norm. In my house alone, I have multiple smartphones, tablets, a Smart TV, Smart Surge Protectors, Smart Lights and more. I once was able to protect my home using simple desktop virus protection, but now, that protection only covers my desktop and selected tablets instead of every device in my home which it once did. Although security software has evolved, the hacking world has evolved faster. Take for example, the local schools that have internet. I can’t tell you how many times I have driven by our local school and seen a car parked in the lot using the unsecured internet, it’s hard to say if they are doing legal activities or not, but that internet could be hacked into since it’s open to the public.
A new company, CUJO, is planning to introduce a smart device which will plug into your router which will help to protect your home internet from viruses, hacks, phishing and more for all of the connected devices in your house including television, DVD player, appliances, baby monitors and more which rely on your home internet to send diagnostics’, operate and function in your #smarthome. CUJO is a “virtual shield” which adapts and learns your behaviors to keep you safe. One of my favorite things is that it is plug and play, one cord and it’s running with nothing more for me to do. It’s like your home alarm system to protect your devices, except smarter because it will learn what you use and how you use it to prevent attacks. It learns from all of the behaviors of usage and constantly updates with new adapts safety measures to safeguard against virtual intruders.
CUJO analyzes your internet behavior and secures devices on your network which can include: televisions, baby monitors, refrigerators, thermostats, alarm systems or anything that uses the internet wi-fi in order to operate. If it detects something out of the ordinary, you are sent an alert on your smartphone while the attack is prevented. I store many things on my devices and run a backup frequently, but with my digital life being so #connected I worry about hackers getting information that they should not. A funding campaign will be launched in September with more details to be provided soon. Until then, check out this great video of how CUJO can protect your #connectedhome and read an interview with the CEO of CUJO.
I don’t open my front door to strangers and I’m glad that a device will exist so I can prevent my virtual front door from being opened. CUJO is the world’s first smart device that protects your home Internet and connected devices from hacks, viruses, malware, phishing, and other virtual attacks. With so many connected devices in your home, your personal information is now accessible through various gadgets. CUJO acts as a shield for your entire home network, adapting continuously to keep you safe. There will be a funding campaign on Indiegogo announced for this product on September 15, so be sure to stay tuned! They also have a Facebook event page too!
Today’s interview is with Paolo Debellini of Herokins. Please visit their Indiegogo to learn more and be part of the fundraising campaign.
Thank you for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.
My name is Paolo. I’m originally from Italy. I moved to San Francisco 2 years ago and started Herokins. I have an amazing relationship with my nephews Stefano (8), Anna (6) and Filippo (4). Unfortunately, besides Skype, I can only see them 2-3 times a year. For me, every minute spent with them is golden. That’s why, when I see them picking up ipads or iphones and becoming nervous and robotic I feel very bad. I feel bad because we have such limited time together and technology is disconnecting us. This has to change!! The first objective for me was clear: instead of using another game or toy that replaces the parent or at least disconnects the parent from the child, I wanted to create something that could be enjoyed together as a team. I figured this is the best way to use technology to facilitate family bonding.
Tell me a bit more about how you decided to create the app and wearable technology?
My source of inspiration for Herokins comes from a very interesting event that happened to me a couple of years ago when I was hiking with my nephews. My nephew, Stefano, was very grumpy because my sister didn’t have time to provide him with the necessary attention. To calm him down, I created a simple story/pretend play: there were villains trying to kidnap us and we needed an alternative route to reach the top of the mountain. With that, his mood flipped 180. He loved it so much, that to this day, we still play the same story, just with different variations. That day opened my eyes, and I asked myself: “is there a way to bring stories into everyday situations? Is there a way for children can really have fun while also learning about the world around them?”. That’s when I created McRed, Dr. Rose, and the world of Herokins. I wanted to create unique superheroes, who despite their superpowers, were imperfect, such that they could be easily relatable. I wanted to create a companion with the “we need to figure this out together”. Bringing the toy to the same level of the child is the foundation of creating an amazing experience and what better way than to create a superhero who is relatable?
My goal since day one has been very clear: Stories come first; stories are fun, they teach us through inspiration.
How will it work? Tell me more about how parents and kids will work together using the app?
The idea is very simple. We want to strengthen the bond between parents and children. That’s way children are in charge of the Herokin, while parents are in charge of the storytelling and therefore have control over the smartphone. Herokins takes the latest findings in child developmental research and puts them in entertaining 5 to 10 minute StoryQuests. This experience through the Herokins app and the wearable toy encourages children to learn important life lessons while strengthening the bond between parents and children. Our StoryQuests take parents and children into the World of Herokins, a fun place where our two superheroes McRed and Dr. Rose live. Herokins is a toy that strongly promotes active play. A balanced use of technology decreases screen time and increases quality time for parents and children. The adapting story concept opens up a new, engaging way of teaching and inspiring kids. Stories relate to chores, healthy habits, safety, emotions and much more.
Q: What platforms will it be available on?
It will be available on the iOS, Android and Kindle Fire devices.
Q: What has been the hardest obstacle you have had to overcome in the development process?
On paper, the game play is very complex: the stories were happening on the smartphone, while the toy was interacting with the app, while the parent was telling the child to hide behind an imaginary tree. It seemed too confusing for children and parents to operate the program together. But childrens’ imaginations make them unbelievably adept at connecting the dots and creating seamless stories that occur simultaneously on the phone, through the toy, and through human interaction. The feedback so far has been amazing. The concept, however, is still new, and is a bit abstract, making it perplexing to explain thoroughly.
Q: Can you tell us about the Indiegogo campaign and where we might find this product in the fall?
We chose Indiegogo because we want to create a community of families that can inspire us through their own adventures. That’s why we preferred to get in touch with the end users since day 1 and then build upon it. We will of course try our best to get into bigger retail stores, but we strive for Herokins to be community-driven. We want the community’s voice to be a key part of our identity as we move forward. Rather than product first, then community, we want to have the bottom up approach, similar to our stories. We create the adventure, and then we examine potential methods of incorporating technology to further the enjoyment of our stories.
Thank you Paolo for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your company. We really appreciated the chance to get to know you and wish you all the best in your fundraising efforts. I love the sneak peek I’ve gotten of Herokins as does my seven year old and we can’t wait for it to launch in the market!
Today’s interview is with Michael who invented the Quirky Spacebar. Read our review, you can also buy one from Quirky for $99 USD.
Thank you Michael for participating our interview. Please tell us a little about yourself.
My wife and I have been married for 32 years. We care for our two Moms (85 and 86 years old) that live a minute away in an assisted living facility. I was an Industrial Arts/Technology Education Teacher from 1978-2011 and am now retired and my wife is a teacher’s aide for elementary special needs students. I was an Industrial Arts/Technology Education Teacher from 1978-2011. We have two Scottish Terriers that are kind enough to still let us sleep with them in our bed.
How did you come up with the idea for the product?
School desks were always too small for computers and keyboards. Students’ backpacks can destroy keyboards. I stumbled upon Quirky. I submitted my idea designs once, twice and with helpful suggestions from other community members, the third time, it was chosen.
How has your product evolved over time with feedback from end users?
The latest versions have been upgraded to the faster USB-3.
What has been the hardest obstacle in bringing your idea to life?
Time. Initial product development takes time to go through design, testing and retesting before reaching the store shelf. Space Bar took just over a year.
What are your plans for the future? Do you have more ideas in the pipeline?
I’m very happily married and retired. I will continue being active with Quirky and if another idea pops up, I’ll throw it onto Quirky’s wall to see if it sticks, otherwise I’m just as happy helping and watching others reach product idea success.
Do you have any other news you want to share with The iMums?
Everyone has ideas. Most ideas are not unique, but with Quirky it doesn’t cost anything to try.
Thank you so much for talking with us today and sharing a bit about your invention. We really appreciated the chance to get to know you!
Today’s interview is with Jonathan Frankel, Founder and CEO of Nucleus which will be starting a campaign on Kickstarter soon!
Tell me a little bit about why you came up with the concept of Nucleus?
In 2013, my wife and I were renovating our home. With three little boys (ages 4, 2, and 1) tearing up the place, we wanted an intercom system to help keep tabs on them. But when we got the quote from our contractor, we were shocked – it would be $3,500 to install the same antiquated system my parents put in twenty years ago! In this day and age, it made no sense to spend that much money for such little value. I have a Computer Science degree, and I thought you could create a much better and cheaper system by using WiFi. And by using WiFi, you can also make the system expandable anywhere – so I can have 5 units in my house, one in my parents’ house, and one on my desk at work, and I can connect to any one by a single touch.
How do you think Nucleus will help today’s modern day family?
Most technology today actually inhibits communication; instead of talking, we text, and instead of texting, we tweet. Nucleus does the opposite – by using an HD camera and touchscreen, it makes connecting face-to-face instant. Just one tap and you are face-to-face with your loved ones. This lets a mother check on her sleeping baby whether she is downstairs in the kitchen or 100 miles away at a conference (using the included mobile app). We have also received a lot of interest from people with elderly parents that want to be able to monitor and talk to them from a distance.
We’re also working on voice activation so that you don’t even need to touch the screen. Just say, “OK Nucleus, call Mom” and instantly be connected to your mother’s unit.
What has been the hardest obstacle in bringing your idea to life?
Finding quality people to build it! It is easy to find people to build you a mediocre product, but very difficult finding those that will invest time and effort into perfecting every detail. I thought that with a great idea it would be easy to get people on board, but it took a lot of effort.
When do you anticipate launching to the market?
Thanks for asking. We will be running a crowdfunding campaign in early September. We will be selling the first units well below cost, so anyone interested in finding out when we launch should sign up at our website, www.nucleusintercom.com. They will sell out quickly. In the meantime, we are working on perfecting our engineering and manufacturing.
Do you have any other news you want to share with The iMums?
This isn’t so much news as a request for feedback. As a tech friendly family, we love the iMums and we think many of your others readers might have some great feedback about Nucleus. Please ask them to feel free to to share their thoughts, questions, and comments with me – I would love to hear from them! I can be reached at info@NucleusIntercom.com.
Bio: The founder of Nucleus is Jonathan Frankel. Jonathan received a B.A. in Computer Science from Yeshiva University, rabbinic ordination from the Rabbi Isaac Elchanan Theological Seminary, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. He has worked as a developer for JPMorganChase, a legal and investment intern for two hedge funds, and most recently, a management consultant at the Boston Consulting Group. Jonathan lives with his wife and three sons in Lower Merion, PA.
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