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.
Snipe — Digital shooting range
There’s definitely no shortage of digital shooting ranges in the world, what with all the first-person-shooter video games that have been released in the past decade. But despite all the crazy next-gen graphics that games have these days, shooting a target virtually still just isn’t quite as fun as shooting one physically. Snipe aims to alleviate this problem. How? By merging the convenience of the digital shooting range with the satisfaction of firing physical projectiles. Using an array of special capacitive darts (which can be fired from Snipe’s special blasters, or practically any Nerf gun) and an accompanying tablet app, Snipe allows you to set up targets on your screen and shoot them down with physical ammo. It’s a strange idea, for sure, but it definitely looks like a fair bit of fun.
kGoal — Smart kegel trainer
You know those grip strength trainers that help you beef up your hand muscles by squeezing a spring or resistance ball of some sort? kGoal is basically the same idea, but for the muscles in your pelvic floor. In case you failed anatomy class, that’s basically just a diplomatic way of saying vagina, for ladies. The device itself is a squishy, squeezable pillow that is inserted into your lady business. Once in place, it can measure the force you exert by squeezing your pelvic floor muscles, and give you real-time performnace feedback and training information via an accompanying smartphone app. Now, aside from the obvious sexual benefits, apparently having strong pelvic floor muscles can also help with things like pregnancy, bladder control, and musculoskeletal stability. Who knew?
Moment — Wrap-around smartwatch
All the smartwatches unveiled at Google’s I/O developer conference last week may have stolen the headlines, but Kickstarter had a few of it’s own to unveil that you should definitely take a look at. Arguably the most noteworthy of the bunch is the Moment, which, in all honesty, is more of a bangle or cuff than it is a traditional watch. It’s designed with a thin, flexible display on it’s face, so the screen wraps around your entire wrist instead of staying confined to a small square, which ostensibly makes it easier and more convenient to use. With more screen real estate to work with, it has a bigger keyboard, and can also display notifications on the inside of your wrist instead of the outside, which makes it easier to read. The project has already met its funding goal, so if you back the project now it’s a pretty safe bet you’ll get one when they ship next year.
MindRider — Brain-sensing bike helmet
Originally developed at MIT a couple years ago, MindRider is a special helmet that shows, in real time, how your rides, movement, and location engage your mind. Using an array of EEG sensors to keep tabs on your mental state and a radio that relays that information to your smartphone, MindRider maps and tracks your engagement, and allows you to share your maps with others. These maps provide quantified insight into how stressed, focused, or relaxed you are during your ride, and thereby empowers you to maximize your riding experience. The big idea here is that, once enough brain activity data has been collected from MindRiders, we can begin to pinpoint routes where riders experience more stress and fear, and map out areas that need better bike lanes.
Go Kin Packs — Generate electricity from walking
Take a stroll through the aisles of any given outdoor retailer and you’re pretty much guaranteed to come across a dozen different gizmos that get their power from the sun. Solar powered gear has exploded in the past couple years, and is now a hugely popular way to juice up your electronics in the backcountry. But what happens when the clouds roll in? If you’re looking for something that powers your gadgets in rain or shine, sunlight or darkeness, check out Go Kin Packs. To generate juice, the packs use a pair of cords that clip onto your shoes. With each step, your legs pull and release the cords, which presumably spin a dynamo of some sort and create electricity as you walk. It’s definitely a bit goofier than rocking a solar panel on your pack, but it’s also a bit more reliable and immune to changes in the weather.
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