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 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.
Bluetooth headphones are great, but wouldn’t it be nice if you could somehow retrofit your comfy old wired headphones and make them work with all this newfangled wireless technology? Well good news: that’s precisely what BlipCast is for. The device lets you use any of your old school wired cans wirelessly by employing something you probably already keep in your pocket — your smartphone.
To use BlipCast, you simply plug it into the device you’re hoping to stream audio from. It can jack into pretty much anything with a 3.5mm audio jack or an optical digital connection. Once that’s done, fire up the accompanying smartphone app and hit play. That’s it. BlipCast’s connectivity options essentially mean that it can stream audio from a variety of different sources, but the device’s creators suggests it’s best used with your TV. Connecting it to your television allows you to watch your favorite shows, but without blasting the audio out and disturbing other people in the house — a feature that’s particularly useful if you live with roommates.
People have had a hard time getting out of bed ever since … well, probably since beds became comfortable. Or maybe it was the invention of the snooze button that caused sleep-loving procrastinators around the globe to struggle to wake up on time. But the folks behind Ruggie think they’ve found a solution.
As you’re no doubt aware, part of the reason the snooze button is so easy to abuse is that, oftentimes, you don’t have to do much more than roll over and flop your arm onto your clock to make it shut off. Designers of the Ruggie alarm have devised a clever way to circumvent this problem by creating an alarm that hides inside a rug. Intended to be placed at your bedside, the clock won’t shut off until it feels your full standing weight on top of it, so you’ve got to haul yourself out of bed in order to silence the alarm. It even runs on a rechargeable battery, so you can’t cheat the system by unplugging it.
Forget wristbands and watches – wearable tech is about to get absolutely ridiculous in 2016, and Hexoskin is leading the charge. The company’s new smart shirt isn’t just a wristband; it’s a full body suit that’s equipped with tons of little sensors. As you move and exert your muscles, electrical activity is generated and can be measured on your skin — offering detailed insight into how hard you’re working. Traditionally, measuring this data requires small adhesive patches to be stuck onto your body, but Hexoskin’s revolutionary fabric-embedded sensors require no adhesive whatsoever, making it much more comfortable to wear.
With its cardiac, breathing, and movement sensors, there’s very little about your activity and health that you won’t be able to track with the Hexoskin Smart. You’ll be able to determine your heart and breathing rate, your tidal volume, and minute ventilation. And of course, you’ll also stay up to date on your activity level, the number of steps you’ve taken, and your energy expenditures. However, unlike the rest of your wardrobe, you’ll need to charge the shirt when the batter gets low, but with 14 hours of battery life in recording mode and 400 hours in sleep mode, you won’t have to charge it all that often.
We love the idea behind every day carry (EDC) kits, but finding the right balance between compact and useful is often easier said than done. Most people turn to multitools, but if you’ve ever carried one of those things, you’ve probably found that they’re filled with unnecessary tools that never get used.
That’s where the KeyPort comes in. It’s essentially an EDC multitool that features a modular design, so you can customize it and add/remove components as you see fit. As the name suggests, it’s primarily designed to carry your keys — but the main body is also built to accomodate a range of different add-ons that boost the device’s functionality. In addition to your keys, Keyport can be expanded to include a small LED flashlight, a slim pocket knife, a USB stick, and even a Bluetooth module that connects to your phone and will help you find your keys should they be left behind.
It only takes a glance at distracted driving statistics to drive home the fact that smartphones were not designed for the car. The apps that run on these devices tempt drivers to take their eyes off the road, which is dangerous, even if it’s just a glance. So how do you help drivers stay focused on the road, but still give them access to essential navigation and communication apps? Chicago startup Cognitive AI Technologies thinks it has the answer.
The company’s product, the Carloudy, is basically a voice-controlled HUD for your windshield. It features a 6-inch, high-definition semi-transparent display that uses an ambient light sensor to automatically adjust brightness, and the image it projects is then reflected on the windshield. It works with a Bluetooth-paired smartphone running a companion app, which is aimed at providing turn-by-turn navigation via Google Maps, parking and traffic availability in real-time, a speed limit display, and helps find useful services such as food and drink, car washes, hotels, and more. The designers also point out that distracting features like text alerts, email notifications, and social media updates were purposefully left out.