Author Archive for Andrew Vogel

Coding From an Early Age with Bracelets

Jewelbot is a high-tech friendship bracelet that helps teenage girls learn how to code.  Co-founders Sara Chipps and Brooke Moreland developed the product after discovering how important it is for girls to learn how to code from an early age.  Sara Chipps is a co-founder for the national organization “Girl Develop It!,” and Brooke Moreland is a fashion-tech entrepreneur.  Together, these millennial entrepreneurs were able to develop a product that “fuses fashion, technology, and friendship” into one device.  From the beginning, Sara and Brooke knew that they wanted to find a way to encourage girls to develop an interest in learning how to program.  By surveying a range of teenage girls, they learned that this target audience is most interested in a product that would provide friendship and communication.  Hence, the concept of a high-tech friendship bracelet was born.

This product is unique because it allows teenage girls to connect with their friends by wearing the friendship bracelet, which is connected to a smartphone via Bluetooth.  The bracelet is able to light up different colors, buzz, or even send secret messages depending upon how it is programmed.  The product is open-source meaning that the user is able to write her own code for the bracelet.  Users are encouraged to learn how to program using an integrated development environment (IDE) called Arduino.  Not only is this an exciting way for young girls to connect with one another, but it also teaches them valuable program language skills, which will likely be very beneficial for them later in life.  This style of learning encourages teenagers to be creative while also developing important problem-solving skills.  Jewelbot is now being sold online with a starting price of $69.

These millennial entrepreneurs’ creation shows that technological innovation is possible in all markets.  Not only is innovation possible in markets geared towards adults, but entrepreneurship is also a very valuable part of markets aimed towards children.  This encourages me to broaden my horizons and begin thinking about possible entrepreneurial endeavors in a wide range of target markets because there is great potential for technological innovation in all markets.

More information regarding Jewelbots can be found here.


M3D: 3D Printing Made Simple

The Micro 3D printer (M3D) is what Michael Armani and David Jones consider to be “the first truly consumer 3D printer.”  This innovative product is a relatively small 3D printer that can sit on a desk and allow anyone to begin 3D printing.  These two millennial entrepreneurs began their journey for this innovation in a basement back in 2012 where they brainstormed and designed a variety of different technologies.  This brainstorming led to the idea of a consumer 3D printer.  They turned to Kickstarter for support in making this idea a success.  According to their website, this “quickly became the largest crowdfunded printer in east coast history, and even more exciting, the world’s first truly accessible consumer 3D printer.”

Although Armani and Jones weren’t the first entrepreneurs to design and develop a 3D printer, they were the first innovators to create a truly consumer-oriented 3D printer.  This has widened the market for 3D printers substantially because students, artists, and everyday consumers can now begin 3D printing at a low cost with an easy to use design software.  The M3D is now being sold through their website beginning at the low price of $349 and will hopefully be released for retail sale soon.

This innovation proves that there is great potential in emerging industries such as in the 3D printer market.  This encourages me as a Computer Information Systems major to keep my eyes peeled for opportunities in the technology industry, which is changing and improving at a rapid rate.

More information regarding the M3D can be found here at their website.

Fidget for Productivity

Fidget Cube is an “unusually addicting, high-quality desk toy” that is designed to help one stay productive while working.  This innovative toy was designed by millennial entrepreneurs Matthew and Mark McLachlan who call themselves “Antsy Labs.”  According to their website, each side of this cube has something different to fidget with, so that one can “Click. Glide. Flip. Breathe. Roll. Spin.”

These innovators came up with the idea for Fidget Cube after learning that many people have an urge to constantly be fidgeting with something.  This could be anything including pens, keys, or even bubble wrap.  The problem is that one’s fidgeting can be a huge distraction to those around him.  Although one may say that the best solution is to break the habit of fidgeting, research has shown that those who have something to fidget with are actually more productive and perform better on tests.

Matthew and Mark first launched their idea for Fidget Cube on KickStarter at the end of August and have since raised over six million dollars from more than 154,000 backers.  The product is now beginning to ship to the individuals who first backed them on KickStarter.  By creating this innovative product, Matthew and Mark’s hope is that they will provide individuals who have a tendency to fidget at class, work, or home with an alternative device for fidgeting that is both discrete and not distracting.

These millennial entrepreneurs inspire me to keep looking for ways to innovate by simply seeking out problems and pain that individuals face in everyday life.  Most great ideas and discoveries do not suddenly appear, but rather develop from one being observant of his environment and taking note of any hunches that he might have.

More information regarding the Fidget Cube can be found on their KickStarter page and Antsy Labs website.

TrackR: Connecting People With What Matters Most

TrackR is a small tracking device that can easily attach to valuable items such as wallets, keys, and bicycles.  This innovative device was developed by millennial entrepreneurs Chris Herbert and Christian Smith who met while attending UC Santa Barbara.  The idea for TrackR was born when Chris almost lost his car keys while spending time at the beach.  The entrepreneurs pitched their idea in the UC Santa Barbara business plan competition and won.  Immediately after graduating, they began work on the idea.

Over the past several years, the team has grown and they now have several different varieties of the product including TrackR Wallet, TrackR Sticker, and TrackR Bravo.  Each variety is a different shape, but they all have Bluetooth functionality.  This allows the device to connect to one’s smartphone and get an accurate GPS location.  One can easily locate his valuable items using the smartphone app, which has features such as a distance proximity indicator, item ringer, and crowd GPS.  The distance proximity indicator measures how far away one is from the lost valuable and the item ringer allows one to make the TrackR ring.  The crowd GPS is a feature that can be activated when the lost item is out of Bluetooth range.  If the user’s TrackR comes in range with another smartphone with the TrackR app installed, the original user will be instantly provided with an updated GPS location.

Although this idea appears to be very similar to the another innovative product called Tile, it manages to differentiate itself by offering new features.  For example, TrackR has a replaceable battery and allows one to find his phone by pressing a button on the product to make the phone ring.  It also has a separation alert feature, which informs one when he is forgetting to take his phone with him.

The work of these entrepreneurs encourages me to continue looking for new niches even in large markets.  Although many new and innovative products may already exist in a field such as technology, there are always new ways to learn from and improve upon the work of other entrepreneurs.

To learn more about TrackR, click here.

Pebble: A Record Breaking Innovation

Although smartwatches may appear to be a common technological device in today’s world, it wasn’t more than

Original Pebble Smartwatch

The Original Pebble Smartwatch

several years ago that the first smartwatch was released for Apple’s iPhone and Android phones.  The name of this smartwatch is Pebble, and it was founded by Eric Migicovsky.  This millennial entrepreneur came up with idea for the innovation while he was living in the Netherlands and faced the challenge of finding a way to hold his smartphone while cycling.  He was driven to find a solution that would allow him to take advantage of features on his smartphone even when holding a phone may not be convenient or possible.  His solution was a high-tech watch.  After returning to the United States, he started a small, independent company in California, so that he could raise support and begin developing this revolutionary product.  Since his small company had limited resources, they resorted to crowd-funding on Kickstarter to get the idea off the ground.  This campaign was so successful that they raised ten million dollars and broke Kickstarter’s record for the most successful campaign.  Since raising this tremendous support, Migicovsky now has a team of more than 130 people working for his company and has shipped more than a million Pebble smartwatches.

This entrepreneur’s idea is great because it solves a problem that most people with smartphones have.  Eric Migivosky explained his success commenting that “there’s 14 billion wrists in the world.”  This innovator wisely chose a large target market with great potential for expansion.  The huge success that he experienced on Kickstarter confirms that many people experience the same problem as him.  Pebble was one of the first companies to jump into the smartwatch market and therefore continues to experience great success even after other large companies such as Apple and Samsung have launched their own versions of the watch.

This millennial entrepreneur’s success inspires me to continue searching for new opportunities in the technological realm.  Although not all innovations may be as successful and influential as Eric Migivosky’s development, his story shows that big innovations and changes are possible.  It will be only a matter of time before the next great technological device is created.

The quotation used in this blog post was taken from an article that can be viewed here.


Tile: A GPS and Bluetooth Lifesaver

Tile is a tiny GPS Bluetooth device that fits in the palm of your hand.


It was developed by millennial engineers and entrepreneurs Nick Evans and Mike Farley.  This tiny piece of technology attaches to the items that people value most and connects to one’s smartphone via Bluetooth.  The purpose is to help people find their valuables when they get misplaced or lost.  Through the use of GPS and Bluetooth technology, one can see on his phone where the item was last near his mobile device.  The user can even make the Tile play music, so that he can find it if the item is in close range.  According to Tile’s co founders, the idea originated from the experiences Mike had with his wife who constantly lost important items such as keys, backpacks, and even a rental car.  Mike decided to find a way to help his wife find the things that she was constantly misplacing.  Through the usage of crowdfunding, these entrepreneurs quickly realized that the problem Mike’s wife has is one that many people face.  This is one of the main reasons why their idea is great.  According to their website, “the average person misplaces about 3,000 items a year, and spends upwards of 60 hours each year trying to find them!”

These entrepreneurs inspire me to search for ways that simple technologies such as Bluetooth can be used to deliver innovative solutions for large problems.  Although it may seem logical to assume that large problems require complex solutions, Tile is a prime example of how technology can be used to deliver a simple solution to a big problem.

More information regarding Tile can be found here.