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.
You might not realize it, but the light that enters your eyeballs has a pretty profound affect on your body and mind. When blue light (wavelength of about 470nm) enters your eyes, for example, it sends a signal to your pineal gland that tells your brain to stop producing melatonin — a hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycles, and makes you feel sleepy. Your body needs blue light to wake up in the morning, but too much exposure to blue light in the evening (usually from artificial sources like computer screens and smartphones) has been shown to have disruptive effects on your natural circadian rhythm.
After seeing the countless studies showing the harmful effects of artificial evening light exposure , the founders of eyewear startup Carbonshade started looking for a pair of glasses that could fully block out blue light. What they found is that there are zillions of orange- and yellow-tinted shades on the market right now — but very few red ones that completely block out the blue. Furthermore, most available red shades aren’t particularly stylish, so people typically just don’t wear them. So to remedy the problem, the company has built its own shades that offer the best of both worlds.
Do you burn through notebooks and find yourself constantly having to buy new ones? Rocketbook might be just what you need. The notebook is designed to be completely reusable — paper and all. Once you fill up all the pages, the Rocketbook is able to digitize all your notes and store them in the cloud, and then clear all the pages so you can write on them again. The pages of the notebook (which are just regular-ol’ paper, by the way) feature a set of seven different symbols, which can be mapped to different cloud storage services. Mark one of the symbols on the page, and when you scan it with Rocketbook’s accompanying smartphone app, a digitized copy of the page will instantly be sent to the cloud storage platform of your choice.
After you’ve you’ve filled up the notebook and digitized all your notes, you can just pop Rocketbook in the microwave for 30 seconds and it’ll erase all your work — so long as you use a Pilot FriXion pen (they use ink that turns clear when you heat it above a certain temperature). The Rocketbook actually popped up on Indiegogo about a year ago, and now the creators have taken to Kickstarter to gather up funds for a bigger production run.
If you’re a right-footed soccer player with two left feet, don’t give up just yet. A new sensor-laden ball is about to bounce onto the scene that could be your best chance to improve your skills, making you the quick-footed, sharp-shooting, perfect-passing player you always wanted to be. The InsideCoach, as it’s called, is essentially a soccer ball with a robotic coach inside. Besides offering real-time coaching cues, its myriad of talents include the ability to detect the ball’s spin and position, the power of a shot or pass, and the trajectory of the ball as it flies through the air. All this data is sent via Wi-Fi to the accompanying mobile app, where you can get check your stats and track your progress.
Besides all the stats, the app also offers soccer challenges according to skill levels, step-by-step training videos, and social features that let you compete with friends or other users around the world. The platform is open source, too, so the startup behind the smart ball is hoping other developers will jump on board over time to create their own apps for InsideCoach.
Want to get your caffeine fix without gulping down a bunch of coffee or sugary energy drinks? Check out Joule — a wearable transdermal caffeine patch designed to supply you with a steady flow of caffeine throughout the day. Not only is this a drastic departure from the way we traditionally consume caffeine — it’s also a completely new approach to transdermal patches.
Currently, transdermal patches containing infused substances like nicotine and caffeine, are kept hidden underneath your clothes, and aren’t something that people generally show off. These patches are typically placed near areas with high blood flow, so that the chemicals can enter and move through your body faster. But patch placement can lead to skin irritation, and general discomfort in wearing a sticky adhesive all day. Joule addresses these issues, and is designed to take away that discomfort, while also placing the patch in an area without much fat resistance, allowing the substance to flow faster into your body. The FDA-approved patch dispenses caffeine immediately (apparently faster than drinking coffee) and contains about 65 milligrams — roughly the same amount as a medium sized cup of java.
If you’re the kind of person who can’t paint a wall without leaving roller marks — never mind trying to attempt a mural — the SprayPrinter might be for you. The device allows users of any skill level to make professional-looking artwork on their walls with just a few cans of spray paint.
You start by selecting an image that you want to paint in the SprayPrinter app, then position your phone on a tripod so that the image appears (virtually) on your wall. After you’ve got everything sized and scaled to your liking, the next step is to snap the SprayPrinter nozzle onto your paint can, and start waving it over the wall. The app uses your phone’s camera to analyze the wall and tell the nozzle where to spray paint, and the valves and electronics are so fast that they can lay down color with pinpoint accuracy. SprayPrinter allows you to print 200 pixels of an image every second, just by waving your hand back and forth over the wall. To switch colors, you simply swap paint cans and keep going — the app will let you know when you’re done, and even tell you if you’ve missed a spot.