At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the Web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there – alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the Pebble clones and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: humanity is living in the golden age of rideable technology right now. In the past few years, electric motors have become smaller and stronger, and batteries have become smaller and more power dense — two trends that have coalesced and kicked off a renaissance in personal mobility devices. There are almost too many rideables to keep track of anymore, and they seem to get crazier and more advanced with each passing month.
Case in point? The miniscule Serpent C. As if electric skateboards weren’t compact and portable enough already, these guys went ahead and designed one that’s small enough to fit inside a backpack for easy transport. You don’t get a full deck to stand on, and it’s not quite as beefy/fast/long range as some of the other e-skate options out there, but what it lacks in performance it makes up for in convenience.
What if your safety light would only stay lit as long as you kept moving? Sounds strange, but that’s exactly the concept behind Million Mile Light, a freshly-re-launched Kickstarter project that’s “powered by motion and engineered to never give up.” The light, which never needs a battery and, consequently, will theoretically never die. It is powered by a tiny, silent, kinetic engine that allows for four ultra bright LEDs to blink with each step you take.
Kinetic chargers definitely aren’t a new thing. They’ve been around for decades at this point, and can be seen in things like self-winding watches and “shake-to-shine” flashlights. Million Mile Light uses this exact same technology, just for a different purpose. The user’s movement (in this case running or jogging) causes magnets inside the device to move. As they jostle around, these magnets push electrons through surrounding wire coils, which creating the electrical current needed for the LED lights to blink.
Back when 3D printing was just beginning to make its way into the mainstream, the only printers available to consumers relied on more or less the same technique to create parts — a process known as filament deposition modeling, or FDM. It’s the type of 3D printing you’ve probably seen before — a printer feeds a strand of plastic filament through a hot nozzle, then carefully deposits the molten goo onto a build plate, layer by layer, to create a 3D object. This is by far the most popular kind of 3D printer, but lately, a technology known as stereolithography has moved in to steal some of the spotlight.
Stereolithography, or SLA, creates objects by flashing a laser up into a pool of photo-reactive resin, which hardens when struck by UV light. Due to the precision of this technique, SLA printers typically create much better parts than FDM printers do. The only problem, however, is that these kinds of printers have been prohibitively expensive for the past few years, so most people haven’t had access to them — but that’s beginning to change. Right now, you can get the SparkMaker for around $145-$160 on Kickstarter, which is pretty amazing.
Interested in tracking your home energy usage, but don’t want to install one of those tricky wired sensors that you require you to crack into your home’s circuit box? Glow might be just what you’re after. In a nutshell, it’s the first home energy monitoring device that tracks your power consumption with a wireless sensor, thereby liberating you from any sort of complex installation process whatsoever.
The system is composed of two devices: a wireless sensor that attaches to the outside of your utility meter box, and the in-home unit which plugs into your wall. The sensor uses a technique called magneto-resistive sensing to monitor electricity as it flows into your home, while the in-home unit sends that information to the Glow app on your phone. If you’re using more energy than you normally do, the beacon will glow red. If you’re using less, it’ll glow green. Pretty nifty, right?
Dash cams are a dime a dozen these days, and for good reason. They’re arguably one of the smartest and most valuable accessories you can add to your car. In the event of an accident, dash cam footage can prove invaluable for insurance purposes, and can help settle disputes if you ever find yourself in court over something that occurred (or didn’t occur) on the road.
But not all dash cams are created equal. The recently-announced Dash camera from portable speaker manufacturer Vava might just be one of the most versatile and full-featured dash cams to date. Thanks to it’s 360-degree HD camera, “the Secure360 captures with clarity what’s happening in and around your car, giving you insight into any event.” On top of that, “it relies on a suite of advanced low-power sensors to watch for abnormal movement or motion outside the car. If an unusual event is detected, the camera instantly turns on and starts capturing everything that’s happening, streaming video to the Waylens Cloud and pushing a notification to the owner’s smartphone in real-time.”