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.
Ever wished you could just pack up your desktop monitor and take it with you wherever you go? Tired of your mobile workstation being confined to a tiny laptop or tablet screen? Check out SPUD — the Spontaneous Pop Up Display. It’s basically the world’s first collapsible high-resolution monitor. When collapsed, it’s roughly the size of a fat Harry Potter book (like, Goblet of Fire, not Chamber of Secrets) — but when expanded, it’s a full 24-inch diagonal screen with a 1280×720 resolution. Pretty crazy, right?
This nifty transformation is made possible with the help of a super clever design. Spud’s screen is made of a special fabric, which is held in place via set of umbrella-like collapsible arms. Once the screen is erect, a short-throw DLP projector beams the picture onto it. “When expanded, SPUD uses custom optics combined with the latest DLP technology to produce the sharp, bright image that you need,” the Kickstarter campaign says. “Either with an HDMI cable or wireless adapter, SPUD can be connected to a smartphone, tablet, or laptop — no matter where you are.”
Hate going to the gym and cycling through a bunch of boring, repetetive exercises just to get fit? We’ve got good news for you. There’s a new gizmo called Stealth that might just be able to help. Touted as “the world’s first interactive core trainer,” Stealth is a home gym device that promises to sculpt you some killer abs by letting you play games on your smartphone.
Here’s how it works. The device itself is basically a specially designed balance board, which you place your smartphone into. Then, just fire up the accompanying Stealth gaming app and — using the phone’s in-built accelerometer and your own core as a makeshift joystick — complete various game challenges by tilting your body. To make your workout even more engaging, you can also sync the app up to a friend’s phone and play a range of competetive two-player games.
Normally we aren’t big fans of single-purpose products here at DT — but when a product’s single purpose is baking perfect cookies on demand, we can’t really say no. Chip, as it’s called, is just that — a sensor-studded countertop cooking device designed for the sole purpose of making awesome cookies. Thanks to a range of built-in sensors, Chip is able to monitor the status of your cookies while they bake, so when they come out of the oven, they’re flawless.
“Different flavors go through different chemical reactions as they bake,” Chip’s creators explain on Kickstarter, “so we’ve programmed [CHiP] to sense the cookie temperature throughout the baking process, ensuring each cookie is perfectly baked.” And that’s not all — as you’d expect from any product bearing the “smart” label, Chip is also equpped with WiFi and works with an accompanying smartphone app. This allows you to get alerts when your cookies are done, or even delay the baking time so that they’re fresh and ready right when you want them.
Do you need new measuring spoons? Probably not, but you’ll probably want some after you see Polygons in action. It’s basically an all-in-one measuring spoon that, thanks to a ridiculously clever design, is totally flat when not in use, but folds up origami style to become a spoon when you need it. Check out the video — it makes your busted old set of teaspoons on a keyring look downright primitive.
While its completely flat in its native state, Polygons features several pre-marked areas across its surface that allow the user to easily fold it into any tablespoon or teaspoon size they may need. Simply picking up Polygons along any of its labeled score lines will quickly transform it into the desired measuring spoon. Plus, because of its naturally flat design, cleaning this cleverly designed tool requires nothing more than some hot water and a soapy sponge.
Back when 3D printing was just kicking off, there was much talk of a future where people could download new furniture designs, print them, and furnish their living rooms with new pieces whenever they pleased. Yet, despite the fact that 3D printing your own custom-designed furniture is totally possible now, it hasn’t really caught on. This is mostly due to the fact that 3D printers aren’t a common household appliance yet, but even if they were, making a full-sized piece of furniture typically requires you to print a boatload of small pieces and snap them together to create something bigger, which isn’t very convenient.
But who says you have to print the entire piece of furniture? Standard Products is a series cleverly-designed connectors that allow you to join pieces of wood together with simple 3D-printed fasteners to create a full suite of different home furnishings. This way, instead of burning through a bunch of PLA filament to make a zillion different sections that snap together, you just print the connectors, and then get the remaining materials from your local hardware store. Pretty brilliant, right?