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.
Wearables are more than gadgets you slap on your wrist — we’ve seen the tech move to the ear, our shoes, and even our clothing. The only downside is that most of these gizmos merely to track your biometric fitness data, which can only tell you so much. But Enflux’s Smart Clothing is different. This gear also tracks the position of your body, allowing you to see where you need improvement to fix your form.
Like most fitness wear, Enflux’s product is skin-tight and made of a flexible polyester/Spandex blend. Tucked inside that fabric, it has 10 embedded motion sensors that track your movement in three dimensional space, and beam that data via Bluetooth to your smartphone. Enflux’s accompanying smartphone app then compiles this data to create a 3D avatar that helps you see your form in real time — thereby allowing you to make adjustments and improvements. Users can also enable an audio assistant to provide real-time feedback during a workout.
If you’re a busy person, cooking healthy meals for yourself isn’t always high on your list of priorities, so when you’re running short on time, convenience usually trumps health. But not to worry, there’s a new bit of kitchen tech on Kickstarter that aims to fix that. Tovala, as it’s called, hopes to change your poor eating habits by offering the best of both worlds: a subscription meal plan that delivers fresh, healthy food to your door, and a special high-end oven that’s tailor-made to cook those exact meals to perfection.
Here’s how it works: the 26 lb smart, counter-top conventional oven can thoroughly cook balanced meals in just under 30 minutes by broiling, steaming, baking, and heating Tovala brand meals — all of which are cooked by five star chefs and delivered to your door. These meals come in a tray that has a scannable bar code. The oven will scan the code and then know precisely how to cook the meal to perfection.
“It communicates to the cloud, authenticates the recipe, and it tells the appliance how to cook the meal,” David Rabie, co-founder of Tovala, explained to Digital Trends. “Every meal has s own unique recipe profile, with temperatures, timings, and different cooking techniques. As the user, scan the barcode, put the food in, hit the button and you’re done.”
Standalone webcams are a relic of the recent past, but a couple enterprising inventors from Slovenia think they’ve found a way to breathe life back into them. How? With stereoscopic vision, a wider field of view, and virtual reality, of course! The team has created a device called WebEye VR that allows you to live stream video directly to anyone with a VR headset.
“Featuring full stereoscopy with 160° viewing in Full HD at 30 fps, WebEye VR allows you to look up, down, left, or right and view everything in 3D with full depth perception by pulling people and objects into your metaverse so you can interact with them,” the team’s Kickstarter page reads. “WebEye VR was designed with the average consumer in mind. We want to bring this technology to anyone who wishes to use it and plan to offer our Consumer Version of the camera at $300.”
Like the convenience of sprayable butter, but hate all the fake compounds and chemical propellants found in sprayable products? If so, we’ve got good news for you. There’s a new kitchen gadget in the works that gives you the best of both worlds, allowing you to enjoy the convenience of butter mist without compromising on taste.
Biem, as it’s called, is the first-ever butter sprayer that transforms a real stick of butter into liquid spray in just a matter of seconds. To use the sprayer, you simply insert a stick of real butter in the top of the device. While holding the sprayer by its silicon handle, aim onto the food of choice, and in just seconds, butter transforms into spray thanks to heat and air. The biēm melts the butter at just 95 degrees without overheating, and even boasts a special patent-pending nozzle that prevents clogging. This allows for proper portion control, and helps reduce the number of calories you consume.
Do you have a lot of old DVDs hanging around somewhere? If that’s the case, then we’re willing to bet you’re not really watching them anymore, but also don’t know what to do with them. But not to worry — there’s a brilliant new startup on Kickstarter that’s happy to take them off your hands — and what it plans to do with your old discs is ingenious. MovieSwap, as it’s called, wants to crowdsource old DVDs and create a sort of digital lending library, but in practice, it’s basically looking to create a movie streaming service that will be free for its backers.
“To make such a dream come true, we worked on a collaborative and crowdsourced approach,” the project’s Kickstarter campaign page reads. “Why? Because during the last 15 years, over 25 billion DVDs were sold worldwide. Those movies are now waiting for a second life and MovieSwap is the solution.” The service (if it every gets off the ground) probably isn’t going to oust Netflix to become the king of streaming, but it’s definitely a sweet idea. And for five bucks, how can you say no?