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.
So about a year ago, a startup by the name of Power Practical launched a ridiculously successful Kickstarter campaign for a versatile string of LED lights called the Luminoodle. Now, they’re back with two new and improved versions — and these ones are brighter, stronger, and more colorful than ever before.
The 5-foot long Luminoodle Color delivers up to 450 lumens of light, whereas the 20-foot long Basecamp up to a whopping 3,000 lumens of light for your campsite or backyard. Each string light shines in 14 different color options including three different shades of white and a red night-vision mode. Both the new Luminoodle Color and Basecamp come with built-in controls as well as a wireless remote to toggle between all the different settings. A dimmer allows you to pick just the right level of light for every situation, and if you want to create a more festive atmosphere, the new Luminoodles also offer three dynamic modes: one color strobe, multi-color strobe, and multi-color fade. The strips are also equipped with magnet sliders for securing the Luminoodle to metal surfaces, as well as Velcro quick straps connected to steel plates to create magnetic surfaces where they don’t exist.
As far as hobbies go, brewing your own beer is one that requires a large amount of time and space. As such, beer-loving inventors have mounted numerous attempts to wrap the multi-step process up in a neat little package — and ArtBrew is the latest such contraption. The machine is essentially an attempt to simplify, streamline, and speed up at-home beer making. With MiniBrew’s semi-automated process, it reportedly takes just a few button presses to make your own craft beer. We’re not sure you can still call it “craft” when brewing only requires a single button press, but honestly, we’re not complaining. What’s not to love about a machine that makes beer for you?
In order to brew a beer, all you need to do is select the recipe, add the ingredients, start the “mashing” process, and let the machine do its thing. The machine boils, cools, does yeast pitching, and handles primary and secondary fermentation. It’s pretty automated, but after the brewing process, you may have to add yeast and extra hops before fermentation. All of that will take some time, with the machine’s sensors and software guiding the majority of these actions. You could be drinking your lager in as little as a week, according to the machine’s creators — though other types of beer will take longer.
Opening and closing blinds isn’t exactly a difficult task, but if you’re lucky enough to live in a giant house with tons of windows, it can actually be time consuming (#FirstWorldProblems). That’s where FlipFlic comes in. Unlike most automated blinds (which cost a fortune and often require a specialist to install) this gizmo can be installed in just a few minutes, and allows you to adjust your blinds on both a schedule, or based on environmental cues. The device has light and temperature sensors that can indicate whether blinds should be open or closed, and can adjust them accordingly.
“It just hit me; there’s got to be a way to automatically control indoor light and temperature without breaking your wallet on expensive and low-tech motorized blinds,” said FlipFlic CEO Ksenia Vinogradova in a press release. “Window blinds are there to regulate incoming heat and light, but it is nobody’s job to open and close them several times a day. Such a simple, but annoying task has got to be automated, just like many other things at home.”
Drones are so advanced these days that upping the ante and bringing something new to the table is a tall order — but somehow, FreeBird has managed it anyway with the FreeBird one. This thing is literally packed to the gills with advanced features and functionality.
First and foremost, it’s totally weatherproof. The One is outfitted with structurally closed rotors, which allow pilots to operate the drone in rainy or snowy conditions without a decrease in function. It’s also equipped with a proprietary 3D-printed airframe and body built to enclose the craft’s rotors, dramatically improve its impact resistance, and make it infinitely customizable. Furthermore, for users who yearn for a bird’s-eye view of what their aircraft sees, the FreeBird One also enables you to view a live 3D video feed via a connected VR headset — which means you can see exactly what the drone sees in real time.
Don’t have enough space in your house for a full-fledged office desk, but still need a comfortable workstation? Check out the Edge Desk — it might be exactly what you need. Aimed primarily at students, artists, freelancers, and anyone who uses a desk but is tight on space, the Edge Desk features a portable, adjustable, and totally foldable design. When you’re not using it, you can just collapse it down and store it in a closet or under your bed.
The 20-pound desk features an aluminum frame and a padded, adjustable seat that resembles one of those kneeling-chairs that were all the rage a few years back. The angle of the worktop is also adjustable, and while the space isn’t huge, it can comfortably accommodate a laptop and a few notebooks. Of course, the relatively small surface means you wouldn’t want to risk your spilling coffee by placing it on the top. But that’s not a problem for this particular desk. It comes with a grooved edge that lets you snap in a variety of attachments, which, at a later date, will include a cup holder (yay!), a speaker, and an LED light, to name a few.