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.
Foodini – 3D food printer
Just a few short years ago, 3D-printed food was little more than a lofty dream, but thanks to Barcelona-based startup Natural Machines, it’s not just a concept anymore – it’s something you’ll soon be able to make on your kitchen countertop. After fine-tuning the prototype for the better part of two years, the company has finally brought its Foodini 3D food printer to Kickstarter. It’s pretty much exactly what you’d expect from a 3D printer that prints edible stuff. The machine is basically a MakerBot with a bakers pipette in place of an extruder, and instead of PLA filament, it spits out whatever fresh ingredients you’ve filled it up with. The machine comes with a number of specially-designed food capsules that you’re supposed to fill with printing ingredients. You can lock one down right now for a pledge of $1,000.
BrewNanny – Home-brew monitor
Home-brew tech has come a long way in the past few years, and it’s about to get a whole lot smarter. BrewNanny is a clever fermentation monitor that’s outfitted with an array of different sensors that allow you to track fermentation rate, temperature, and even the light level inside your beer. Using this information, it can serve as a watchdog for conditions that might threaten the quality of your brew. The moment something starts to go wrong, BrewNanny will shoot an alert to your smartphone. You’ll also be able to use the app to check up on your brew at any given moment from anywhere in the world. Readings from each batch are stored in your personal database online, and can be used to create brewing profiles that help you stay consistent from batch to batch, and fine-tune your recipes until they’re perfect. If you’ve got friends that brew, you can even share all your data with your home-brew buddies.
Huiiz – Facial-recognition search engine
Huiiz is a new type of search engine. Instead of using keywords to find webpages, it uses advanced facial recognition algorithms to find pictures and information about people. To use it, you just upload a photo or select one that’s already on the Web, and simply drag and drop it into Huiiz’s search box. If the image is too large, or has multiple faces in it, the program will automatically open said image up in a simple, intuitive editing box so you can crop it down to a more manageable size. All of this happens right inside your browser, too, so there’s no need to download or install anything to use it. And here’s the best part – the algorithm that powers Huiiz is designed to learn, so it’ll become faster and more effective as recognizes more people. in essence, this means that the larger the user base becomes, the better Huiiz will become.
Peek-I – Discreet iPhone spy cam
This might be the most brilliant idea ever. Peek-I is basically a tiny little periscope that fits over you 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 Four Loko 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 unclip Peek-I’s lens, snap it onto the ring, and position it in the direction you want to shoot. The specially-designed lens will bend the light exactly 90 degrees, so bath salts guy wont ever know you’re watching him.
The only way to understand what Vuact is without watching the video is to imagine if a GoPro bumped uglies with a FitBit. Vuact is basically the illegitimate offspring that would most likely spawn from such an unholy union. Leveraging an array of different sensors in addition to a camera, it’s able to record video and sensor data simultaneously. This adds context to video recordings with data from wearable and phone-based sensors, and with the help of the app, lets you visualize your activity metrics this against the video timeline. This way, you can easily find the most ridiculous, action-packed moments from your shoots. Just look on the timeline for when your heart rate was fastest, click on it, and you’ll instantly be taken to the corresponding point in the video.