At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns 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. In this column, we cut through all the worthless wearables and Oculus Rift ripoffs to round up the week’s most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects. But don’t grab your wallet just yet. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project can fail — even the most well-intentioned. Do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.
Action cameras like GoPro and others have made it easier than ever to capture footage of your adventures — but they don’t offer much help when it comes time to edit all that video. When you’re back home, you still have to sift through hours of footage and manually cut out all the scenes where you’re riding the ski lift, carrying your bike up a hill, or paddling out to catch a wave. There’s not really an easy way to cut straight to the good stuff.
That’s where Frodo comes in. It’s a clever smartwatch-inspired action cam that uses machine-learning algorithms to edit and shorten long video sequences. It has a number of different modes, but arguably the most useful is Action mode — in which the cameras software will analyze the video, search for scenes with lots of movement and action, and then automatically edit the footage into a highlight reel of your biggest jumps, tricks, and moves.
A self-replicating machine that makes other self-replicating machines sounds like the premise of a post-apocalyptic sci-fi thriller flick — but it’s also the concept behind a nifty new Kickstarter campaign. Dollo3D is a project aimed at producing an affordable, modular 3D printer which uses fewer off-the-shelf components (and a higher percentage of 3D-printed components) than most other DIY printer projects, such as those under the RepRap umbrella.
Unlike most DIY self-replicating printers, Dollo is designed to be almost entirely 3D printable, and is built in such a way that it doesn’t require a lot of rods, screws, and other hardware. The frame is designed to snap together with all the ease of a LEGO model, requiring just 15 3D printed parts and 24 screws — with an approximate “build time” of just one hour.
If you think that standing upright on a “hoverboard” requires too much effort, then this newly-launched Kickstarter project will be right up your alley. Taking the laziness level up a notch, a brilliant company called BoatsToGo has developed a new ‘hoverboard’ attachment that allows you to operate your self-balancing scooter while lounging in a lawn chair. Seriously.
The HoverChair, as its called, is basically a lawn chair bolted to an aluminum frame that has two wheels on the back. When affixed to your hoverboard, the contraption effectively transforms your scooter into a roving, foot-steered go-kart. Pretty brilliant, right?! The best part is that if you act quickly, you can get yourself one of these suckers for the bargain price of just $79 on Kickstarter. Thus far, the campaign has raised over $2,500 from 20 backers, and still has 25 days left to meet its funding goal of $90,000.
Portable Bluetooth speakers are a dime a dozen these days, but rugged ones – ones that can withstand things like being kicked into a pool, dragged through a mud pit, or dropped down a flight of stairs – aren’t quite as common just yet. The category is growing fast though, and the latest addition to the pack is the Turtle Shell 3 from LA-based manufacturer Outdoor Tech. If it looks familiar, that’s probably because you remember seeing (or hearing) a few of its predecessors — like the original Turtle Shell, which hit Kickstarter back in 2012 and raised a boatload of money.
The third generation boasts a number of cool improvements, including considerably longer battery life and drastically improved range. The coolest feature, however, is its ability to wirelessly sync with other Turtle Shell speakers. If you own a few of them, you can daisy chain them together and use them like a surround sound system.
Don’t have time in this busy, busy world to spend four minutes per day on dental hygiene? Not a problem, says dentist and inventor Aldo Dominici. Together with friend and entrepreneur Niccolò Cerizza, Dominici has created GlareSmile: a slightly ominous-sounding smart toothbrush that can supposedly clean your teeth in just ten seconds.
Unlike your regular boring toothbrush, GlareSmile features three rotating brushes that (allegedly) allow it to clean every dental surface at the same time; brushing teeth simultaneously with oscillation and rotation motions. The two outer brushes respectively brush the vestibular and lingual/palatal surfaces of each tooth, while the central brush cleans the occlusal surfaces. The easily-guided rotation movement from bottom to top reportedly removes plaque in the same way a manual or standard electric toothbrush would — but in a toothpaste-spitting 2.5 seconds per quadrant of your mouth.