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.
SmartWallit Pro – Bluetooth wallet locator
Losing your keys is one thing, but losing your wallet is entirely another. Rather than whipping out the spares, you’ve got to cancel your credit cards, get a new wallet, and journey into the seventh circle of hell we call the “DMV” to get yourself a new license. Keeping track of your billfold is imperative, so the team behind SmartWallit is back with a newer, slimmer version of the original. In addition to a more wallet-friendly design, SmartWallit Pro features stuff like distance tracking, cloud syncing, extended battery life, and a variety of new colors. At this point the project has achieved more than 60 times its original funding goal, so its pretty much guaranteed that it’ll materialize into a real live product in just a few months time.
Blub – Modern Nixie tube clock
Kickstarter has a fever right now, and the only cure is more Nixie tubes. At this point in time, there are no less than three different projects involving these glowing cold-cathode bulbs, and they’re all on track for success. There’s a steampunk clock, a expandable modular array, and our personal favorite: this stunning modern tube clock called Blub. With a clean, machined aluminum enclosure at the base and four retro-style nixie bulbs on top, the clock is a perfect blend of both modern and oldschool design. And it’s not just a one-trick pony either – in addition to displaying the time, Blub’s display can toggle to show the date and temperature, and can be configured to cycle between these periodically.
Battery packs and mobile charging solutions are a dime a dozen on Kickstarter and IndieGoGo. Heck, we even wrote about one in last week’s awesome tech roundup. They’re everywhere, but Ark stands out from the rest of the pack with a novel feature – the ability to charge your phone wirelessly. You start by outfitting your device with either a special case or patch to make it Qi compatible, and then whenever you place it on top of Ark, it’ll magically start to power up. The project’s creators have made some questionable claims about the device’s charging speeds, but even if it doesn’t charge faster than wired methods, it still seems much more convenient.
Sousimple – Affordable sous vide cooker
Sous vide is awesome, but immersion circulators (the devices needed to keep a temperature-controlled water bath at a constant heat) are expensive. Even if you opt for one of the most affordable models, you’re still looking at shelling out at least $200 bucks on a kitchen gadget. Sousimple is an alternative solution. Rather than buying an immersion circulator, this device works with your existing cooking devices – things like crock pots and rice cookers – to give you more precise controls over the temeperature and allow you to maintain the kind of evenly-heated water bath necessary for sous vide. And the best part? It’s only $65 bucks.
Swatchmate – Color-capturing cube
Ever gone out for a stroll through nature or around your city, and seen a particular color that you really liked? Until recently, capturing that color and transporting it from the physical world into the digital one was a tedious process, but SwatchMate makes it simple. With this little cube, all you’ve got to do to capture a color is hold it up to an object or surface and press a button. SwatchMate records the color, saves it in a digital format, and enables you to use that hue in your own creative projects. The device recently concluded a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign, but has started an additional funding drive on IndieGoGo to extend the deadline and reach more backers. Check it out here.