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, ambitious, and downright stupid projects out there – far too many for any reasonable person to keep up with.
But here at DT we are not reasonable people. We spend an inordinate amount of time poring through crowdfunding sites and product blogs in search of the next Oculus Rift or Pebble Watch, so we’re here to bring you a quick roundup of the best projects that are currently up and running.
Chipolo – Bluetooth item finder
Are you constantly losing track of stuff like your keys, wallet, cellphone, or heck – even your shoes, pets, or children? Well with the help of Chipolo, a tiny Bluetooth-enabled item finder, you needn’t worry about misplacing your things ever again. Essentially, these things are little radio tags that communicate with your smartphone to help you keep track of stuff you care about. The project launched on Kickstarter on Monday this week, and it’s already blasted past it’s funding goal. Since they’re relatively cheap and simple to manufacture, Chipolo plans to ship them to backers as early as December of this year.
So just last week we ran a hands-on piece for a lucid dreaming mask called Remee. It uses a small array of LEDs to beam patterns through your eyelids while you’re fast asleep, the idea being that you’ll recognize these patterns while you’re in a dream and become lucid. That is, aware that you’re dreaming while you’re still asleep. It was a cool idea, but it had plenty of flaws – the main one being that it couldn’t actually detect when you were in a deep sleep state.
Luci, a new project on Kickstarter, is pretty much the same idea, but executed in a better way. Rather than using lights to alert you that you’re in a dream, it uses sound; and rather than relying on guesswork to determine when you’re in a deep sleep state, the headband incorporates an EEG electrode that can read your brainwaves. Brilliant.
Retrievor – Solar-powered GPS tracker
Hollywood makes it seem like getting your hands on a GPS transponder is the easiest thing in the world, but in reality, tiny little ones that you can easily stick on the undercarriage of someone’s car or slip into a pocket are hard to come by. But that’s about to change if this new project on IndieGoGo meets its goal. Retreivor is a tiny GPS transponder module that’s completely self-charging thanks to a small solar cell array on it’s top side. Just place it on whatever you want to track, and all the location data will be magically beamed to the cloud, where you can check up on it via Retrievor’s website. Let’s just hope the designers put more thought into the device than they did into the atrocious slideshow video.
Cricket – Bluetooth bike alarm system
Having your bike stolen sucks, and unless you had the foresight to install some kind of retrieval system on it, the only recourse you have in the situation is typically just to keep a close eye on Craigslist in hopes the culprit will be stupid enough to post it. Cricket hopes to solve this problem by offering you a last line of defense against theives. It’s not GPS location tracker, but rather a silent alarm system that sends an alert to your smartphone when your bike goes outside of range. This means it’ll only work if you’re relatively close to your bike, but it’s definitely better than constantly looking over your shoulder.
Mab Sphere – Robotic house cleaning swarm
This crazy futuristic design concept has been all over the web for the past couple months, but it wasn’t until recently that it was named the winner of the Electrolux Design Lab competition, which means it’ll soon move past the conceptual phase and eventually become a real, live product. The system, designed by 23-year-old Adrian Perez Zapata, starts out with a sphere device that rolls into the room when it is programmed for a cleaning session. It will scan the room to recognize the space, and determine which mode it needs to clean in: fast, normal, or exhaustive. When it’s ready, 908 tiny robots will fly out of the sphere core, picking up the water and cleaning solution mixture you’ll have preloaded inside the machine out to various parts of the room.