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, 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 projects out there this week. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.
Sense — Smart sleep-tracking system
There are a handful of different sleep tracking technologies you can buy right now, but pretty much every single one out there only tracks one variable: you. But without any context, it’s nearly impossible to pinpoint why you did or didn’t get a good night’s rest. Sense aims to solve this problem. Unlike other sleep trackers, this device contains sophisticated sensors that are able to detect noise (in your bedroom and beyond), pick up on light (whether continuous or flashing), monitor temperature and humidity conditions, and even identify particulates such as dust and pollen. This means that if you’re roused from your slumber by something – say, a buzzing phone, car headlights shining in from the street, or simply too much moisture or pollen in the air – you’ll actually be able to figure out why just by looking at the data. Armed with this information, you’ll know exactly what changes you need to make to improve your sleep quality.
pd.id — Date-rape drug detector
Pd.id (short for Personal Drink ID) is a tiny, battery-powered device that’s not only super-accurate, but is also completely reusable. The gum-stick-sized gizmo fits easily inside of a pocket or a purse, and when dipped into a drink, can detect the presence of Rohypnol, zolpidem, and other benzodiazepines. Just dunk it into your cup, and within seconds it’ll give you either a green or red light — the latter of which means your drink has likely been spiked. According to founder J. David Wilson, the hardware uses the same technology that the US DEA has employed for years, just shrunk down to a smaller size. Once dunked into your drink, the pd.id collects a small sample, analyzing its density, resistance and temperature to determine if a foreign agent, like rohypnol, has been introduced. And as you’d expect from any modern gadget, the pd.id can also pair and function in tandem with your smart phone, accessing an extensive database of drink profiles and alerting you with a text or call that your drink has been tampered with.
Snaptrax — Bluetooth baseball cap
Ever wished you could get all the functionality of a hands-free Bluetooth headset, but without looking like a tool? Well you’re in luck. An Australian startup by the name of Snaptrax has taken that very same technology and built it directly into a baseball cap. Using radio waves instead of wires or cables, Snaptrax can connect or pair with any smart device in close proximity through Bluetooth and enable access to a majority of your phone’s features. Using a set of hidden microphones, speakers, and a custom control panel, it allows you to make and receive calls, open and reply to texts, email, control and playback music, set reminders or alarms, search the web, navigate via GPS, and much more — all via voice commands. The project still has quite a way to go in order to meet its $158K funding goal, but if you back the project now you can lock down one of these smart hats for just $189, and help make this brilliant idea become a reality.
Emberlight — Smart bulb socket
Having smartphone-based remote control over every bulb in your house is certainly an enticing prospect, but as soon as you lay eyes on the price tag of a single smart bulb, it’s easy to get turned off. Even some of the cheapest ones will set you back $40 or $50 apiece, and if you have lots of light fixtures in your house, the cost of installing them can get out of hand in a hurry. But not to worry, this clever little adapter called Emberlight is here to save your wallet. It’s not quite a full-on smart light — it’s actually only half of one, which is convenient, since you’ve probably already got plenty of bulbs in your house. So, instead of replacing all those dumb bulbs with expensive “smart” ones, Emberlight adapters allow you to retrofit your lights with network-connected brains, giving them all the smart features you’ve ever wanted, but at a fraction of the cost.