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.
Woojer – Haptic audio feedback device
Headphones are great, but no matter how high you crank the volume, they never seem to make you feel the sound in the same way a gigantic set of speakers and subs can. So, to make your headphone listening experiences more engaging, immersive, and similar to what you’d experience at a live concert, a team of engineers from Manhattan invented Woojer: a matchbox-sized tactile feedback device. Think of it as a miniature silent subwoofer you can wear. Just plug it into your headphones and you’ll be able to feel the vibes of your music without turning your cans up to max volume.
BublCam – 360-degree camera
You know those giant spherical cameras that Google straps on top of self-driving Priuses in order to take its street view pictures? BublCam is the same idea, just packed into a much smaller, much simpler form factor. The baseball-sized device uses four lenses arranged in a tetrahedron to capture panorama pics and videos all around you at the touch of a button. The camera shoots 14-megapixel photos (3,840 x 3,840 resolution), 1080p videos at 15 frames per second, and 720p videos at 30 fps. It also supports WiFi, so you can stream live 360-degree video over the web. Check out our full article to learn more.
Dark Mail – Encrypted email client
In case you didn’t follow the plight of LavaBit, here’s a quick overview to get you up to speed: Shortly after Edward Snowden leaked documents revealing the NSA’s widespread domestic spying program and subsequently fled the country, the US government noticed that he was using the encrypted email service LavaBit to communicate with human-rights lawyers and activists. They didn’t like that they couldn’t see what Snowden was sending, so they quickly had the court issue a warrant ordering LavaBit’s owner Ladar Levison to turn over the private SSL keys that affected all users on the service – essentially forcing him to shut down the business he worked for more than a decade to build.
Dark Mail is Levison’s new project that aims to fill the void left by LavaBit. It’s a new secure messaging protocol designed to provide end-to-end encryption of both the message itself and the email in transit. The goal is to perfect and release its source code as a free and open-source software project.
Silver Air – Stink-proof gear
Silver is an amazing element. Not only is it great for stuff like slaying werewolves and making expensive forks, it also naturally kills bacteria. For this reason, it’s also extremely effective at resisting odors. Keeping this in mind, Y Athletics developed SilverAir – a line of high-performance sportswear with silver woven into the fabric to make it completely stink-proof. You’d think that a t-shirt with silver in it would cost you an arm and a leg, but if you back the project early you can pick one up for just $34 bucks.
Titan Arm – Upper body exoskeleton
Remember that scene in Elysium where Matt Damon goes postal on a robot and tears him to pieces with that ridiculous hydraulic exoskeleton? Well that’s pretty much what the Titan Arm is – except this one doesn’t have to be drilled into your skeletal system to work. Developed by a team of mechanical engineering students at University of Pennsylvania, the device uses mechanized joints to to supplement the strength of the wearer by up to 40 pounds. It’s still just a prototype at this point, but the design was recently named the winner of the prestigious James Dyson Award, for which the team received $45,000 in prize money to continue development. Find out more here.