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.
With smartwatches going mainstream this year with the arrival of the Apple Watch, it was only a matter of time before someone streamlined the experience even more with another popular technology: gesture controls. Enter the Deus Ex Aria SmartStrap, a connectable add-on device compatible with Pebble Time and Android Wear smartwatches. It reads gestures made with the hand your watch is on to control it with no contact necessary. Tap with your index finger to the thumb, for instance, and the Aria interprets it as an “enter” command. A ring-finger tap goes back, and flicking up, down, left and right all scroll the respective directions. To make the Aria even more attractive, the developers equipped the device with several advanced features, including connectivity with Android-powered devices and GoPro cameras. Pebble Watch users can even control a connected Android or iPhone smartphone with all of the same gesture controls.
The Bartesian cocktail machine is essentially a Keurig for those who prefer their drinks a bit stiffer after 5 p.m. No more fumbling around with simple syrup or groaning because you’ve added too much grenadine, Bartesian takes the guess work out of making expertly crafted cocktails. By simply inserting one of Bartesian’s pre-made capsules — as well as a spirit like vodka, tequila, or rum — users have the ability to quickly make perfectly blended drinks. The makers of the device plan to launch with six different cocktail varieties, three of which are classic mixes (Margarita, Sex on the Beach, and Cosmopolitan), while the three others serve as Bartesian’s own signature concoctions (Bartesian Breeze, Uptown Rocks, and Zest Martini). Each specific flavor is comprised of real, liquid ingredients, meaning you won’t find any traces of artificial powder or corn syrup in the finished product.
Wearable tech suffers no lack of hype, but the gadgets’ stunted growth in the wild largely comes down to their exorbitant prices. Understanding this limitation, tech enthusiast Goro Kosaka took to developing the cost-effective, easy-to-operate Vufine heads up display. By simply attaching the device to a magnetic docking station on a pair of sunglasses, users instantly have the ability to interact with an array of HDMI-capable devices like smartphones, GoPros, digital cameras, etc. Vufine’s Kickstarter page even offers up suggested uses like watching Netflix while out and about, using it as a rearview camera, or viewing GPS directions hands-free. Unlike Google Glass — which runs on an Android-based system — the Vufine doesn’t use any form of operating system, meaning users won’t have to fumble around with an unfamiliar interface. The Vufine’s greatest feature is the fact Kosaka plans to sell this wearable for just $149 dollars when it launches in November, a far cry from Google Glass’ $1,500 asking price.
London-based company Team Turquoise wants you to calm down. Or perk up, whatever. Doppel is a wearable intended to change the pace of your life by tapping your wrist. Set it to tap faster for an energy boost, or slower to calm down; it continues to operate at this level until told otherwise. During setup, users simply record their resting heartrate into doppel’s companion smartphone application, then speed it up or slow it down on the watch itself. Company co-founder Jack Hooper says the device is perfect for helping people power through long meetings, or to help wind down after a particularly stressful day of work. Either way, it seems an interesting idea in the world of wearables, and one which certainly doesn’t lack any unique flavor.
Who hasn’t been traveling and thought to themselves, “I wish I had a portable keg of beer with me right now” at least once or twice? Luckily, a company called Hank the Beer Tank developed a fully portable kegerator capable of allowing people to pour ice cold draft beer just by plugging it into any 12 volt outlet. Hank the Beer Tank – the product boasts the same name as its company – uses a power draw of just 5 amps, meaning this handy device has the ability to run for a handful of hours before even coming close to draining a car battery. The setup even houses air circulation blowers and a precision thermostat which help any at-home brewer achieve desired temperatures during a brew cycle’s fermentation process. Its compact body style allows users to fit a 1/6 barrel keg (5 gallons) inside, and its sturdy construction appears capable of withstanding a beating – because if the event you take this to requires a keg, how low key could it actually be?