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.
Naked Filter — Nanotech water filter
When you’re out in the wilderness, pretty much all of your options for water purification are horrible. Iodine tablets taste like ass, boiling your water takes forever, and reverse osmosis filters are a pain to suck water through. If none of those tickle your fancy, you could always go the SteriPen route, but UV light doesn’t filter out particulate matter. I don’t know about you, but drinking flecks of fish poop and pond scum isn’t my thing.
But not to worry — the good folks at Liquidity Nanotech have developed a much better solution. Using a specially-engineered nano-fiber membrane, the bottle is able to trap 99.999 percent of all bacteria, protozoan cysts, and any other particles bigger than 0.2 microns. Now to be fair, this definitely isn’t the first filter-in-bottle purification system — but thanks to the composition of the nanofiber membrane, water is able to pass through freely, almost like a normal, filterless water bottle.
Ares — Uber-simplified videography drones
Drones have revolutionized the way we shoot aerial video. Shots that used to require a helicopter pilot and steadycam operator can now be performed by anybody with a quadcopter. The only problem is that getting pro-level shots is still somewhat difficult. Even if you’re a seasoned drone pilot, maneuvering the drone and pointing the camera in the proper direction can be a tricky endeavor. That’s where Ares comes in. These guys have created an innovative new drone control system that makes aerial videography as easy as fingerpainting.
The Ares app allows users to draw out their flight path, adjust altitude, and choose a fixed point for the camera to focus on. Once all that’s done, you just hit “go” and let the software do its thing. It’s basically like waypoint flying on steroids. Instead of choosing a set of points for the drone to visit, the Ares software makes it possible to literally draw out where you want the drone to go, allowing for a much higher degree of customization.
The Origin — 4-axis gimbal stabilizer
In the past few years, stabilization technology has progressed in leaps and bounds. Gimbals are everywhere these days, allowing practically anyone with a camera to shoot super-stable, professional-looking video. But they’re not perfect. Gimbals can typically stabilize videos on three axes, but are still prone to a little bit of shakiness if the whole rig is subjected to abrupt up or down forces.
The Origin addresses this issue. To make your shots even more stable than before, it’s equipped with a dampener system that protects the rig from jerky up and down movement. Basically, this means you don’t have to worry about holding the gimbal steady or moving smoothly while you shoot — you can run, jump, and be relatively jerky in your movements without compromising the stability of the shot. And the best part? The device is currently going for about $2,400 — a fraction of what the average 3-axis gimbal setup costs.
XM42 — Handheld flamethrower
Believe it or not, there are practically no restrictions on flamethrower ownership in the United States. Unless you live in California, it’s perfectly legal to purchase, own, and use a device that spits out fire. Thing is, most flamethrowers you can easily get your hands on aren’t all that powerful. Most can only shoot flames just a few feet, and are intended for practical things like torching weeds in the cracks of your driveway. The XM42, on the other hand, is a bit more robust. This beast is capable of spitting out a 25-foot stream of fire, and because it’s handheld, it doesn’t require you to wear a backpack full of fuel. To use it, you simply load up the refillable tank with regular ol’ gasoline, flip on the pilot light, and start torching. No need to worry about pressurization or mixing any special blend — 87 octane gasoline straight from the gas station is what it’s designed for.
Aivvy Q — Headphones that learn
Ever get sick of updating the tracks stored on your devices, updating playlists, and spending a bunch of time managing your music? Check out Aivvy Q (pronounced like “ivy”) — an upcoming pair of smart headphones. These badboys draw music from a database of over 40 million tracks, and store a cache of music locally, right inside the headphones, for offline listening.
To figure out what you like, Aivvy uses contextual awareness and machine-learning algorithms. If you dig a song, you just tap on the side of the headphones. Aivvy will automatically log the date, time, location, and song name, and then use that information to create an auto-curated playlist. Over time, it starts to nail down what you like to listen to in all the different locations you visit, so it can autonomously generate and manage playlists for places like work, the gym, or your living room. On top of all that, it’s also equipped with a battery that will (allegedly) give you 40 hours of playback time.