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 we at DT 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. The result: A quick roundup of the best projects that are currently up and running.
Vigo – wearable alertness meter
There are dozens of wearable fitness trackers on the market these days that can log data on everything under the sun – steps taken, calories burned, distance traveled, and countless other stats. But as far as we know, there isn’t a single device out there (aside from a few yet-to-be-released EEG headsets) that can tell you how alert you are at any given moment. That’s exactly what Vigo does. The device attaches to your ear and uses a small camera to track your blinking patterns, which are apparently quite telling when it comes to how drowsy you’re feeling. This data can be used to track your alertness over time, and if it detects you’re getting sleepy at any point, the device will give you an audible nudge to wake you back up.
Skulpt Aim – muscle quality reader
Much like Vigo, Skulpt Aim fills one of the many gaps in the wearable fitness tech market. Rather than focusing on your heart rate or how many calories you’ve burned, Aim measures the quality of the muscle you build. It measures the fat percentage of not just your body as a whole, but for individual muscle groups. To take these readings, Aim uses a technique called Electrical Impedance Myography, which is essentially a way of quantifying muscle quality by analyzing how a tiny electrical current flows through tissue. Just hold it up to the muscle you want to measure, and within seconds Aim will give you a reading. We’ll be catching up with Skulpt at CES, so be sure to circle back in January for more deatils. Until then, head over to the company’s IndieGoGo campaign for additional information.
Flower Shells – seed-loaded shotgun shells
Finally, something both hippies and gun rights activists can get behind! Flowershells are exactly what they sound like: 12-gauge shotgun shells that have been loaded with gunpowder and various varieties of flower seeds. Now, you can toss that trowel aside and garden like a gangster by blasting the soil into submission. The ground will be too scared not to grow. Shells are available in packs of four, and are currently selling for $50 bucks a pop. You can get them loaded with peony, poppy, and cornflower, but the manufacturer’s webpage suggests twelve (or more) different seed types will be available in the future.
The Eye Tribe Tracker – eye tracking peripheral
Tobii Gaze isn’t the only eye-tracking device in the game anymore – it’s been a couple years since the technology hit the scene, and now there are a handful of other companies vying for a piece of the eye-tracking pie. The Eye Tribe is one such company, and they’re hoping to get a foothold in the market by offering an eye-tracking peripheral that costs only $99 bucks. We have no idea if it’s as capable and accurate as the Tobii systems we’ve demoed, but we do know that it can be attached to any tablet or computer with a USB port, which makes it extremely versatile. We’ll know more about it after CES in January. But until then, you can find out more at TheEyeTribe.com
Kammok Thylacine – modular sleeping bag system
Kammok first popped up on the crowdfunding scene about a year ago with the launch of its Roo backcountry hammock. Now, it’s back with Thylacine, a modular sleeping bag system that allows you to add or remove insulation depending on the level of warmth you need. It starts with a shell designed using Kammok’s patent-pending “variable warmth technology,” which is basically a system pockets designed to accommodate interchangeable baffles. By stuffing Thylacine with different types of insulation (baffles can be filled with down, synthetic down, or a hybrid mix) at different fill levels, you can optimize the bag’s warmth and weight to best suit your needs. You can lock one down for anywhere from $200 to $650 bucks, if you back the project now.