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, useless, and downright stupid projects out there – alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the Pebble clones and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects out there this week. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.
Orfos Flare — Ultrabright bike light
Cycling at night is dangerous. Not only is it harder to see where you’re going, but you’re also less likely to be seen by passing motorists. While it’s important to wear the right protective and reflective gear, another way to help make yourself seen at night is with the Orfos Flare. Freshly launched on Kickstarter, this portable magnetic light is brighter than a chemical flare, waterproof, rechargeable, and lasts nearly 24 hours on a single charge. According to its designer Pete Clyde, the Orfos Flare gives cyclists, scuba divers, and other individuals increased visibility at night, underwater, or in just about any other harsh environment you can think of. Just like the chemical flares you see first responders drop around the scene of a traffic accident, the Orfos Flare is extremely bright — 500 lumens and 300 lumens for the white and red versions respectively. However, the light is diffused outward, not focused like a flashlight, so it illuminates you instead of blinding those around you.
Hendo Hover — Electromagnetic hoverboard
Yup — somebody finally invented a hoverboard. How is such a thing possible, you ask? Well, the magic behind the Hendo Hoverboard lies in its four disc-shaped hover engines. These are essentially giant downward-facing electromagnets that work together to create a powerful magnetic field which literally pushes against itself, thereby generating the lift which levitates the board above the ground. The only catch is that, unlike Marty McFly’s hoverboard, Hendo’s levitation trick only works when the board is sitting atop a non-ferromagnetic conductor — in other words, a solid sheet of metal that doesn’t contain iron or steel. For this reason, you unfortunately won’t be able to ride it around town. Practically, a board like this would be about as useful as a pair of ice skates as a means of transportation, but in a special metal-floored rink (like the one Hendo shows in the video), this thing could definitely be a good bit of fun.
F-BOM — Active anti-fog ski goggles
Goggle fog is the bane of every skier or snowboarder’s existence, so naturally, goggle manufacturers all over the globe have been trying for decades to create a pair that can resist it. They’ve tried everything — bigger air vents to promote airflow, hydrophobic anti-fog coatings on the lens, and even little electric fans inside the frame. Abominable Labs takes a different approach with the F-BOM goggle. Instead of special vents or coatings, these badboys are outfitted with a special heated lens that prevents moisture from condensing on them. Think of it like the defroster on the rear window of your car, but on a much smaller scale. The lens of the googles is bonded to thin-film transparent heating element that’s hooked up to a rechargeable power source. When activated, the heating element keeps the surface of the lens to a temperature just slightly warmer than the dew point, effectively keeping it from condensing and obscuring your vision.
BlueSmart — Bluetooth-enabled smart luggage
Although it looks like a regular piece of cabin-sized baggage — albeit a flashy one thanks to the blue accents — BlueSmart is way more clever than the old, battered suitcase you’ve been carrying around. It’s built using three layers of polycarbonate, has an anodized aluminum handle, and sports four wheels. A pocket on the side offers easy access for any electronics that need to be displayed during security checks. The really cool features come when you link the Bluesmart up with your phone. The handle acts as a digital scale, so you always know how much the bag weighs, which comes in handy when you’re approaching your weight limit and removes any concern over buying those last minute duty-free gifts. The case is secured using a digital lock, which will activate should it move too far away from the phone. It can also alert you if someone tries to tamper with your bag while you’re buying coffee. There’s even location and proximity alerts, so no matter how far away the case is, you’ve got a chance of recovering it.
uKeg — Pressurized growler
uKeg is a pressurized stainless steel growler that can hold 64 (or 128) ounces of beer, and keep it fresh for considerably longer than its average glass counterpart. How, you ask? The secret lies in the uKeg’s unique pressurization cap. Hidden inside the cap there’s a little slot designed to hold a CO2 cartridge, as well as a selector dial on the cap that allows you to regulate the amount of gas it releases. To help you get a sense of how pressurized the growler’s interior chamber is, the tap is outfitted with a brass pressure gauge. Truth be told, this isn’t the first contraption in the world that helps you keep your beer from going flat. There are cheaper options available out there, but uKeg seems to have two things going for it that other products do not: durability and plain-old aesthetic appeal. The double-wall stainless steel enclosure is far more durable than glass, and all the accompanying brass fittings give it a sort of steampunkish look that’s sure to turn a few heads at your local brewpub.