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 there’s no shortage of weird, ambitious, and downright stupid projects out there – far too many for any reasonable person to keep up with. But here at DT we are not reasonable people. We spend an inordinate amount of time poring through crowdfunding sites and product blogs in search of the next Oculus Rift or Pebble Watch, so we’re here to bring you a quick roundup of the best projects that are currently up and running.
Korner – Minimalist door sensor and home-security system
Now that smartphones have effectively driven down the price of all manner of sensor tech, there’s been an influx of cheap DIY security systems popping up lately. Korner is yet another entry into this growing category of products, but unlike all-in-one systems like Piper and Canary, Korner takes a much more minimalist approach. The entire system is comprised of a set of app-enabled door and window sensors and a network fob, so to get started all you do is stick the tags in the corners of the doors and windows you want to monitor, then plug the fob into your router. Once applied, the tags will detect motion and wirelessly notify the fob, which then sounds a high-pitched alarm (if that’s how you configure it) and forwards an alert to your smartphone, tablet, or laptop.
Jeane – Smart steering-wheel cover with haptic feedback
Part of the reason that traffic gets jammed up is because humans aren’t perfect drivers. Traffic jam waves propogate from our naturally slow reaction times, and our limited ability to judge distances and minute changes in motion with our eyes. Jeane is a clever steering wheel cover that seeks to change this and make everybody’s reaction times quicker. How? By using sensors to measure the motion of other vehicles in relation to your own, and translating that motion into a meaningful vibration for you to react to. It’s a brilliant idea, but unfortunately it relies on a Bluetooth connection to link up to other cars, which means in order to work properly and prevent traffic jams, every car on the road will need to have one installed. Proximity sensors or a camera-based approach would probably be a better way to execute the idea, but it’s a brilliant concept nonetheless, so it’s definitely worth checking out.
Webhook – Super-customizable content management system
Content management systems like Drupal and WordPress are great for certain kinds of sites, but in order to make them your own and really customize your site, you’ve got to navigate through a sea of different plugins and add-ons that make the process confusing, difficult, and time-consuming. Webhook takes the pain out of building content sites that need more functionality than blog software can provide, and allows you to build custom forms (not just posts) for your CMS without having to code or configure any code-like files. Anyone who knows basic HTML and CSS can build and deploy a site on Webhook. Once it’s up and running, anyone with an Internet connection can use the CMS to edit the freshly-made website from their desktop or mobile device.
Baja Board – All-terrain electric longboard
It seems like every week there’s a crazy new motorized transportation gizmo to hit the crowdfunding scene, and this week’s addition is one of the coolest we’ve seen yet. The Baja Board is basically an all-terrain electric skateboard designed by a pair of Australian dudes who loved the feeling of snowboarding, but didn’t have easy access to snowy slopes. It’s built with a special trucks and shock absorbers that make turning the board feel fluid, free, and playful — just like a snowboard or surfboard. The only difference is that it’s designed with giant rubber wheels that allow you to mash through bumpy, uneven terrain, and a powerful electric motor that allows you to zip around in the absence of steep hills. The minimum backer price to get one is fairly steep (about $3,569 USD), but after you watch the video, it doesn’t seem so unreasonable.
Meerkat Mirror – 90-degree iPhone spy cam
This might be the most brilliant idea ever. Meerkat Mirror is basically a cleverly-angled mirror that fits over your iPhone camera and allows you to discreetly take pictures of things happening around you. In other words, it makes it way, way easier to shoot videos and snap pictures of all the crazy people you see on public transportation, without them realizing you’re filming and throwing half-empty cans of Steel Reserve at your head. To use it, just snap the little magnetic ring onto your phone’s camera and wait for something weird to happen. When the obviously-high-on-bath-salts guy sitting two seats away suddenly thinks the floor is made of porcupines, just swivel out the Meerkat Mirror and position it in the direction you want to shoot. Bath salts guy won’t ever know you’re watching him.