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.
DopaMINE – Cryptocurrency mining case
If you’ve ever tried to build a serious cryptocurrency mining rig with a regular PC case, you’ve undoubtedly encountered a few problems. Normal cases are built for normal computers – they’re simply not designed to handle a gazillion GPUs (the component needed the most for mining), the high temperatures that result from running so many GPUs, multiple power supplies, and multiple high-RPM cooling fans. DopaMINE, however, is designed with all these things in mind. It’s six GPU slots – all of which are spaced to promote airflow – dual power supply support, triple 120/140mm fan support, and even a modular, stackable shroud so you can easily scale up your rig as it gets bigger. Back the project now and you can lock one down for around $220.
SunSprite – Wearable sunlight tracker
A prolonged lack of exposure to natural sunlight can have a noticeable effect on your physical and mental wellbeing, but the problem is that it’s nearly impossible to tell if you’re getting enough. Until now, that is. SunSprite is basically like a fitbit for sunshine – instead of tracking how many steps you take in a day, this badboy measures how much light you’re soaking up with an array of embedded solar cells. Once turned on, the device will give you a daily goal, and indicate how far along you are via a low-power LED strip. Better yet, it also syncs with your smartphone via Bluetooth to give you more detailed info, and doesn’t need to be charged. Ever. Thanks to the high-efficiency solar cells on its surface and energy-sipping components, just a few minutes of sunlight can power SunSprite for nearly a week.
AgIC Print – Circuit printer modification kit
Breadboards and cheap microcontrollers like Arduino have given rise to an electronics renaissance, allowing hobbyists and inventors alike to develop prototypes at an astonishing pace. But they’re far from perfect. Despite their usefulness, breadboards can quickly become messy and disorganized, which makes transitioning your design to a printed circuit board (PCB) much more difficult. AgIC Print offers an alternative solution. It’s basically a printer modification kit – you can install it on your busted old inkjet printer, boot up the accompanying software, and start printing working circuits on paper. To make this possible, the kit comes with special metallic ink and thick paper, and once you’ve got the design worked out, you can easily apply the very same design to a PCB.
Ring – Gesture-control ring
Feel like you’ve seen this before? Probably because you have. Smart gesture-control rings definitely aren’t the most original idea at this point, but Ring is definitely one of the most intriguing ones we’ve seen. It works by tracking the movement of your finger – you actually write out words and draw pictures to enter various commands. For example, lets say you want to open up your email client and compose a message without taking your phone out of your pocket. If configured correctly, you could just tap on the side of the ring to activate it, draw an envelope to open the appropriate app, and then just start writing with your finger to compose the text. The project has already blasted past its $250K funding goal, and is currently sitting pretty at well over half a million dollars in pledged funds.
Miracle Machine – Tabletop wine maker
Move over, Jesus – you’re not the only one who can turn water into wine anymore. The aptly-named Miracle Machine is essentially a teched-out tabletop fermentation machine designed to allow average boozers like you and me to make our own high-quality wine from the comfort of our homes. Technically, DIY small-batch fermentation chambers have been around for ages, but what’s noteworthy about this particular one is that it’s app-enabled, and uses some technological wizardry to produce custom-made wines in just a couple days. To use it, you start by adding a bit of water to one of Miracle Machine’s pre-made kits containing grape concentrate and yeast. The you just hit the Start button and let the technology take over. Check out our full article for more details.