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.
If you’re an avid online seller on sites like eBay and Craigslist, you know how important it is to have high-quality product shots. A good image can spell the difference between making a sale and not making one — especially if there are other sellers hawking the wares elsewhere online. But not everybody has a budget to hire a professional to take magazine-quality photos — until now.
Foldio360 is a compact, easy-to-use turntable that helps you capture stunning 360-degree images of anything you want to display online. It can be used anywhere, but judging from the video, it seems to be built specifically for use with low-cost pop-up studios like Lightcase and PhotoCube, which have become immensely popular with budget-minded photographers in the past few years. To use it, you simply place an object on the turntable and use the accompanying app to start the rotation. You can customize speed settings right within the app, and synchronize it with your shutter speed for seamless 360-degree captures.
Remember back when the Nintendo released the Rumble Pak for its N64 controllers? These little packs could be clipped into your controller, and would vibrate and rumble whenever something violent or abrupt happened in the game. It was a small addition, but this added tactile element made games a lot more immersive and fun.
Immersit is exactly the same idea — just on a much larger scale. It’s like a Rumble Pak designed for your living room sofa. By adding small feet to the bottom of your chair or couch, the device can physically move your entire seated body to better reflect the action playing out on screen. During a demo we partook in at CES, the company used a chair and a VR race track demo to show off its technology. The chair bucked and tilted to simulate the track and the effects of G-forces as the car sped around the raceway.
Driving while you’re hammered is never a good idea, but stopping yourself is tricky. There’s a fine line between legally buzzed and too drunk to get behind the wheel, and after you’ve knocked back a couple Irish Car Bombs, you’re not very fit to judge that line. That’s where Alcohoot’s new Edge breathalyzer comes in.
It’s certainly not the first mobile breathalyzer we’ve ever encountered — but it’s easily one of the most advanced. The compact, palm-sized device uses police-grade sensor technology to analyze your breath and measure your your blood alcohol content. And of course, it also connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth to give you readings, show your test history, and even find you a ride if you’re no longer fit to drive. We got our first look at the device back in January during CES 2016, and now Alcohoot has taken to Indiegogo to gather up funding for a full production run.
We’ve seen some pretty sophisticated and elaborate foam dart guns here at DT, but despite the fact that we probably have every Nerf gun ever made in our office, the FLD-1 puts them all to shame. Developed by Jesse Kovarovics, a software programmer from Atlanta, Georgia, this gun can fire darts faster and farther than any Nerf gun on the market — and nearly every part of it can be made with a 3D printer.
“The FDL-1 is the culmination of years of taking things apart and putting them back together. A perfect storm of hobby technology and geek creativity, the FDL-1 is a project for makers and tinkerers,” Kovarovics said in an interview with 3ders.org. “The speed of the flywheel motors can be adjusted on the fly, meaning you can launch darts at a gentle, office safe speed, at near paintball level velocities or anywhere in between,” he explains. “It is fully automatic and capable of launching an entire clip’s worth of darts in a matter of seconds with a single pull of the trigger.”
The 3D-printing revolution was supposed to fling open the doors of creativity and allow anyone to make any object they imagined. If you know your way around 3D-modeling software, this is almost true: You can build and print practically anything you desire. But 3D-modeling software is often complex and confusing — especially to the uninitiated. If the average Joe wanted to, say, print himself a new doorknob, he’d either have to create his own 3D model from scratch, or hope to find a publicly available design on the Web.
In other words, there are still some significant barriers to creativity when it comes to 3D printing — but CowTech hopes to break those barriers down. The company’s first product, the CowTech Ciclop, is a low-cost 3D scanner that is made almost entirely from 3D printed parts. It’s based the popular open-source BQ Ciclop scanner, but has been refined to be simpler to print, and achieve the same results with cheaper electronic components. So long as you’ve got a 3D printer, you can make this thing for less than $100.