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.
Phantom Frames – LED bike frames
Kids and LED lights are a match made in heaven. Take light-up sneakers for example. Not only do kids love ’em and willingly put them on, but they also help alert you to where the squirrelly little rascals are at any given moment, which helps you avoid making them into roadkill with your ’93 Kia Rio. Phantom Frames has a similar concept – it’s a line of LED filled kids bike frames that not only look sweet, but also greatly increase the visibility of the rider. If you want your kids to be extra safe without looking like dweebs, get them these. We’re just bummed they don’t make road-bike frames too.
PowerPot X – 10-Watt thermoelectric charging pot
If you’ve been keeping up with the crowdfunding scene for a long time, you might remember seeing the original PowerPot on Kickstarter about a year and a half ago. If you don’t remember, however, here’s a quick overview: PowerPot is a portable cooking pot that’s outfitted with a thermoelectric generator on it’s base. When placed over a heat source (presumably while you cook something) it will generate enough electricity to power small electronics. The PowerPot X is the new and improved version, and is the first version that can achieve a 10-watt output, meaning it can charge most smartphones just as fast as your wall outlet. If you like take your electronics with you on backcountry excursions, devices like this are a must-have.
Rocki – Multi-user Wi-Fi speaker sync
First and foremost, Rocki is a Wi-Fi receiver for your sound system. Plug it into your speakers, and it receives music you stream to it through your wireless network. Pretty standard stuff, but there’s more to it than just hardware. The second part is a the Rocki app that allows anybody using it to beam music to your speakers. You could ostensibly throw a party and have everybody in the room contribute to the playlist. And because it uses your home Wi-Fi network instead of a Bluetooth connection, it has a much larger range and reliable connection. It doesn’t have a problem traveling through walls. If you back the project now, you can snag one for just $49 bucks.
AirTame – Wireless HDMI streamer
This thing is like Google’s Chromecast, but better. The underlying idea is the exactly same – it’s a simple Wi-Fi connected HDMI dongle that lets you sling video to it from your PC – but it’s not limited to only streaming from a Google Chrome tab. With AirTame you can beam anything that’s on your computer screen to your TV. It can duplicate your screen, act as an extended display, duplicate multiple screens, and even beam displays from PC to PC. The project has already blasted past its initial funding goal on IndieGoGo, and it’s on track to make a stretch goal or two as well.
myPower – Kinetic energy charger
Believe it or not, the power you generate just from moving around can be harnessed to charge your electronics. That’s the idea behind myPower, a device whose core technology is exactly the same as those “shake-to-shine” flashlights. The user’s movement (in this case running or jogging) causes magnets inside the device to move. As they jostle around, these magnets infuse surrounding wire coils with energy, which then travels through a cord to charge your device. In a shaker flashlight the movement of these magnets is limited to just two directions, which limits energy output – but myPower’s clever design allows it to collect energy no matter what direction the magnets travel, thus boosting efficiency. Check out our full article to learn more.