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, 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.
Moment Case — Mobile photography case
We first encountered Moment about a year ago, back when they were launching their first smartphone camera lens. Now they’re back with with a new product — a smartphone case that supercharges your smartphone’s photographic capabilities. Each case sports one of Moment’s amazing lenses (which are nearly perfect, and won’t leave you with any image distortion, chromatic aberration, or blurring around the edges of your photo) as well as a few other features that make it easier to use.
The Moment team added a new quick-attach lens system, improved software, and a special shutter button that supports both half and full presses. The latter addition is particularly awesome, since it allows you to lock focus and exposure as you shoot — just like a DSLR. The project has already crushed its $100,000 goal, and expects to ship the first units to backers as early as June.
Glow — Laser-illuminated earbuds
At first glance, a pair of Glow headphones might seem like gimmicky glow-in-the-dark earbuds that are designed to get your attention and not much else. But look a little closer and you’ll find something a whole lot more interesting: Glow purports to be the “world’s first” pair of smart headphones embedded with laser light.
Yep, that Tron-like glow from the cable emanates from something called Fibrance, a special light-diffusing fiber from the folks over at Corning — the same company that makes Gorilla Glass. As for what makes it so smart? Well, the colored light of the cable isn’t static — it actually pulsates to the beat of the music. The project has blasted past its initial 100K funding goal, and if it can make it to the million dollar mark in the next 42 days, the creators will incorporate heart rate sensors into the earbuds, so your music can pulse along with your blood.
Qmote — Minimalist smart remote
The Qmote is, at its heart, a Bluetooth remote control for your Android or iOS smartphone. The body is a big button, which can have up to 11 different functions programmed into it, ready to activate various features on your phone. For example, it can control music playback, act as the camera’s shutter release, activate apps, or turn on a find-my-phone alarm system. Each function can have its own combination of button presses and holds specified, all of which are configured through an app.
Additionally, the Qmote works with IFTTT, so recipes can be cooked up to control aspects of your smart home, or more complex functions on your phone. Made from brushed aluminum, the Qmote is water resistant and has a coin-cell battery inside which should be good for a year’s worth of use. No, the notification feature isn’t included anymore, but the company is promising firmware updates to add new features over the year.
Coolbox — The ultimate toolbox
Remember the Coolest Cooler? The tricked-out ice chest outfitted with speakers, charging ports, and an integrated blender for making margaritas? Well, good news: Somebody took the same concept an applied it to a toolbox … sort of. You wont find a margarita station built into the Coolbox, but it does boast a lot of the same features as Coolest Cooler — a rechargeable battery, a pair of Bluetooth speakers, and a slew of different outlets and ports so you can charge your gadgets and tools — as well as few other additions that make it unique and different.
Under the hood you’ll also find a set of LED floodlights; a retractable, 10-foot power cord; a pair of rollers for easy transport; a tablet stand; a whiteboard; and even an integrated bottle opener — basically everything you’d ever need at the job site. Oh, and it holds all your tools, too. I think we forgot to mention that. The box sports nearly 1800 cubic inches of space and can hold up to 65 pounds of gear.
Luna — Smart mattress cover
The Luna smart mattress cover helps you keep a close eye on your shut-eye. Hundreds of sensors woven into the machine-washable fabric gauge your body’s movements, temperature, heart rate, and the ambient noise. By measuring your pulse and respiration, Luna knows when you’re sleeping and when you’re awake; a microphone even detects when you’re snoring. The wireless controller transmits all this data to an iOS or Android app to gives you an overall sleep quality score.
Luna can also make your bed toasty warm on those cold winter nights, and lets you set up separate temperature zones for each side of the bed. Eventually, Luna’s creators say it will learn the temperature your body finds most conducive to slumber and automatically adjust to it. Oh, and it integrates with other smart home gear as well, so when you climb into bed, your house can automatically crank down the heat, dim the lights, and lock the front door.