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.
If you’re a frequent kayaker, stand-up paddler, or even a hiker who spends a lot of time in wet environments, you’ve probably dreamed of finding a backpack that’s completely waterproof. Sure, there are a few packs available that offer excellent protection from the elements, but very few of them are completely waterproof to the point that they are fully submersible. That isn’t the case with the Helixot XO 6.2 backpack — which is allegedly so airtight that it can keep your gear safe underwater.
Made from lightweight yet highly durable waterproof fabrics, the XO 6.2 is designed to safely carry a variety of small items on aquatic adventures. The pack offers 6.2 liters of storage capacity in its main compartment, which isn’t particularly large but is roomy enough to haul a small camera, smartphone, car keys, wallet, passport, and other items of similar size.
Tripods are a must if you want to snap stable, professional-looking photos, but unfortunately, the vast majority of them aren’t particularly convenient to use. Once you’ve found your shot, you generally have to clamp, twist, and lock the camera in place in order to prevent gravity from screwing things up — which, of course, often causes the camera to shift a bit. Not exactly the most user-friendly setup, right?
Hitch Hiker aims to change that. The tripod’s clever head design balances the weight of your camera, allowing the camera to shift in place and then stay there without locks, clamps or other securing systems (though locks are still included for preventing an accidental bump from moving the camera.) The tripod’s balanced motion design allows users to pan on two different axes at once — for example, it can pan left and down at the same time. That versatility allows the tripod head to follow diagonal movements as well as the standard horizontal and vertical movements, opening up possibilities for panning techniques on more subjects.
Ever wanted to sample sounds from the world around you and use them to put together a song? If so, then the KOMA Field Kit is definitely worth checking out. It’s a tool for anyone who’d like to experiment with electroacoustic sound. The kit allows you to use everyday objects, amplify them, and use them to make sound — so it’s much more than just a microphone plugged into a mixing board.
The Field Kit is optimized to process signals from microphones, contact microphones, electromagnetic pickups, and able to run DC motors and solenoids. On top of that, it can receive radio signals and convert signals from switches and sensors into control voltage. So in other words, after you’ve sampled a sound, you can easily tweak it and adjust it until you find a noise that pleases your ears.
If you fancy the idea of the lamps in your home being a conversation starter in addition to a light source, you may want to check out the Kickstarter project for the Heng Balance Lamp. This nifty little light fixture boasts an innovative switch mechanism that relies on two balls with embedded magnets. By moving the balls together, the magnets attract one another and, when close enough, trigger the switch that turns on the lamp. Conversely, when the balls lose connection, the bottom one falls away with gravity and the circuit is broken.
“‘Heng’ is Chinese for ‘balance,’” project manager Lisze Siaw told Digital Trends. “The way of pulling the switch is inspired by the old ‘pulling switches’ of our childhood memories. The product appearance and design is based on the traditional Chinese round fans and window frames. The lights are placed inside the ring-shaped frame, and when you turn [them on] ,the frame will light up, creating an ethereal Zen feeling.”
If the PowerSiesta looks like a piece of cardboard with some carefully placed fold lines across it, that’s because it is. But it’s more than just a hunk of corrugated cardboard. Designed by “an actual rocket scientist,” the PowerSiesta takes seconds to set up, forming into a shape that “works with the natural form of your body to alleviate muscle tension, so you can rest more deeply” while sleeping on a plane.
In other words, PowerSiesta is a collapsible, travel-friendly cardboard platform designed to make sleeping on a plane more comfortable. The idea is that, instead of putting a little horseshoe-shaped pillow around your neck and leaning back, you place this little stand on your tray table and use it as a pedestal for your head. Apparently, leaning forward is a more natural sleeping position, so it helps you fall asleep faster and rest without shifting around as much. And the best part? it’s just 17 bucks right now on Kickstarter.