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.
Avegant Glyph – advanced virtual reality headset
Glyph is sort of like Oculus Rift, but completely different in a number of ways. Rather than relying on a set of high-resolution LCD displays placed close to your eyes, Avegant’s technology cuts out the middleman and instead uses what it calls a “virtual retinal display” to beam images directly onto your retinas. Delivering images directly into your eyeballs like this not only eliminates the dreaded “screen door effect” that happens when you place a screen close to your face, it also dramatically reduces eye strain. In just four hours after launch, the project blasted past its 250K funding goal. You can lock one down right now with a pledge of $499 bucks.
Jump – smartphone charger & battery pack
There’s no shortage of cable organizers and mobile charger packs on the market these days, but Jump is one of the first we’ve seen that seamlessly combines both ideas into one product. In addition to acting as a cable organizer, the square-shaped battery pack also features a smart charging function. When you plug it in to charge your phone, it will charge your phone first, but also sip a little power for itself, and slowly fill up it’s own internal battery. This way, you can whip it out and give yourself a quick recharge (an additional 30 percent boost when fully charged) no matter where you are. And for 40 bucks, it’s pretty reasonably priced as well.
Aurisonics Rocket – ultra-rugged earbuds
Dozens of products out there claim to be super-durable, but in our experience, only a select few can actually live up to their claims. The Rockets headphones from Aurisonics are one of those select few products. These badboys are made with a titanium shell and a Kevlar tri-weave cable, and can take more abuse than a user is likely to exact upon them. To demonstrate just how durable they are, Aurisonics goes full-on Gallagher and smashes them with a 30-pound wooden hammer. Other headphones shatter and fall apart when dealt this kind of punishment, but the Rockets come out completely unscathed. They also come with a five year warranty, so if you’re the type who’s constantly burning through cheapo earbuds, a pair of these suckers might be a smart purchase.
Hidden Radio 2 – compact bluetooth multispeaker
If you’ve been keeping an eye on the crowdfunding scene ever since it really started to take off, you might remember the original Hidden Radio from late 2011. This sleek, compact little Bluetooth speaker took Kickstater by storm and raised over 900 percent of its original funding goal – and the second generation is even better. This iteration features a wider speaker chamber for better bass response, higher-end neodymium drivers, capacitive touch controls, NFC synchronization, an automatic lift function, and can even act as a speakerphone when you get a call. Back the project now and you can lock one down for just $150 bucks. The first units are expected to ship to backers as early as June 2014.
Parce One – energy-tracking smart plug
Parce is a an intelligent, energy-tracking wall outlet similar Insight Switch from Belkin, but with a few distinct differences. It does all the same tricks – tracks your electricity usage of any fixture it’s plugged into, and can turn stuff on/off remotely via a smartphone app – but it also has the ability to learn your habits, much like how Nest’s infamous thermostat learns what temperature you like. Using the company’s slick mobile/web interface, you can choose to manually set the on/off schedule of your connected gadgets, or just leave them be and let them gradually learn your schedule over time. By more effectively monitoring/managing your electicity usage, these things can help you save a boatload on your energy bill.