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.
Lock8 – smart bike lock
This project bills itself as the “first smart bike lock,” but that’s not entirely true. Bitlock sort of beat them to the punch on that one, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an awesome idea. Lock8 is probably the most full-featured bike lock we’ve ever laid eyes on. In addition to smartphone-activated locking and unlocking that triggers automatically when you walk away from it, Lock8 features an alarm system that will sound if a thief tries to cut, melt, freeze, or remove it in any way. It’ll also shoot you a notification on your phone as soon as it detects something happening, so you can dash out and catch the culprit before he pedals away. Check out the full description on Kickstarter – this thing has way too many cool features for us to list here.
Grass Printer – robotic lawn mower
There are already a handful of robotic lawn mowers on the market, but this one takes things to the next level. Rather than cutting your grass in flawless, robotically-precise lines, it can be programmed to mow out predetermined patterns – like text that reads, “KEEP OFF, HOOLIGANS!” or something equally charming. Currently the design is only a concept, but it won a Red Dot Award this year, so there’s a good chance its creators might have a working prototype built in the near future. Practical? Probably not. Awesome? Absolutely.
Sprav – wireless water meter
The easiest way to waste water is undoubtedly under the warm, comfortable stream of a shower. The average shower blasts out around two gallons per minute, and depending on how long you spend washing up, you could be running up your water bill substantially. Sprav hopes to solve this problem. It’s a wireless meter that tracks both your energy consumption and water usage while you shower, and gives you realtime feedback via LED lights to let you know when you’ve been in for too long. And the best part? It doesn’t require any tools to install. It senses temperature through the pipe and uses acoustic feedback to monitor flow, so all you’ve got to do is clip it onto your shower head and go.
Pixelstick – programmable LED stick for light painting
If you’re not familiar with light painting, leave this post immediately and go have yourself a Google Images sesh. It’s amazing. By creatively using lights and long exposure shots, photographers can create abstract 3-dimensional artwork in thin air. People who do it generally use stuff like fire and single LED’s to draw images, but the guys at BitBanger Labs (the creators of the Remee lucid dreaming mask we recently reviewed) have developed a crazy new programmable LED sitck that takes the light painting to the next level. Using Pixelstick, users can draw anything from single-color lines to wild, rainbow-hued murals – it all depends on how you program it. Check out the Kickstarter campaign to check out the awesome 8-bit art and 3D gifs that BitBanger made to show off what Pixelstick can do.
Wristify – personal cooling system
Developed by a team of engineers from MIT, Wristify is an ingenious wearable cooling device that leverages a clever physical phenomenon called the Peltier effect to gradually lower your body temperature. When placed against the skin, the device makes you feel cooler by intermittently drawing down your wrist temperature a few fractions of a degree per second. Over the course of a few minutes, this causes you to percieve a whole-body cooling of a coulpe degrees celsius. If this device were to gain widespread adoption, it could drastically reduce our dependence on air conditioning and heating systems. Check out our full post to find out more.
xNT – NFC implant
Aspiring cyborgs take note – if this IndieGoGo campaign reaches it’s goal, you might soon be able to get that implant you’ve always wanted and wirelessly control all the tech toys in your life. Forget about all this wearable tech nonsense, these guys are ready to develop technology that goes inside your body. That might be off-putting to some, but think about the possibilities – you could log in to your computer, turn on your lights, pay for goods, and a zillion other things just by waving your hand or walking into a room.