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 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 new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.
Kappa — folding 3D printer
3D printers have come a long way in the past few years. Today, they come in an absolutely massive variety of different shapes, sizes, and configurations. And though it might seem like innovation in this category has slowed down, clever new 3D printing ideas abound on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. Case in point? This new printer from Singaporean startup Ionic3DP. Rather than sticking with the standard cartesian or delta configurations, these guys developed a printer that uses a completely different style of motion.
The Kappa, as it’s called, is a 3D printer that uses something called the Scott Russell Straight Line Mechanism. This mechanism (which is widely used in the automobile industry and pick-and-place robots in manufacturing industries) boasts high precision and reliability.
Due to the machine’s unique design, it’s not only capable of printing very tall/long objects, but also folding up for easy transport. Not to mention, since it’s relatively simple in terms of operation and construction, the Kappa is also highly affordable. You can get your hands on one for just $359 on Kickstarter right now.
Adventure Tape — multipurpose, reusable tape
Duct tape has enjoyed a cult following pretty much since it was first invented — and for good reason. As you’re no doubt aware, the cloth-backed polyethylene adhesive can be used for just about anything imaginable: patching a leaky raft, making a tuxedo for junior prom, or even saving the Apollo 13 mission from disaster. But the thing is, duct tape was invented during World War II — so by all rights, the world is long overdue for a newer and more capable adhesive. Well, if you’ve been waiting for the next revolution in multipurpose tape to arrive, we have good news for you: duct tape 2.0 is here, and it goes by the name Adventure Tape.
“Adventure Tape can be used for many things, but currently we are targeting outdoor and travel enthusiasts and survival or extreme sports lovers,” Anthony Cooper, co-founder of Adventure Tape, told Digital Trends in an interview. “The biggest advantage it has over duct tape is that it won’t leave any sticky residue, so it can be removed from your kit without any damage. That’s especially handy for not ripping up your bubble wrap. The advantage it has over string and rope is that it’s very strong and stretchy, so it won’t tear — and because it’s self-tacky, it can easily be fastened with a simple tuck, meaning no complicated knots.”
“It can [also] replace existing items: our favorite has to be the snowboard binding fix,” Cooper continued. “There’s nothing more annoying than being stuck at the top of the mountain, and no way to get down. It won’t damage your boots or boarding pants, and most importantly, because of its stretchy properties, it will still have a little give in it, and thus allow for a wider range of movement.”
Sonic Soak — ultrasonic washing machine
If you’ve ever done any long term traveling (be it for business or for pleasure), you know firsthand just how annoying and inconvenient it can be to wash your clothes in a foreign place. If you can’t find a laundromat nearby, your only option is to wash your garments by hand in a sink or bathtub, which is both time consuming and laborious. But not to worry — there might be a solution to this problem. The Sonic Soak, as it’s called, is a portable ultrasonic washing machine that promises to supercharge your sink-bound laundry sessions.
So how does it work? First, fill your sink with water, detergent, and your soiled clothes — then just drop in the Sonic Soak. The device’s transducer sends out ultrasonic vibrations, creating powerful water micro-jets as the resultant bubbles implode. Essentially, these jets do all the cleaning, so you don’t have to. This exact same technology is used at a larger scale in chemistry laboratories, where it’s known as sonication.
The device actually plugs into the wall, but uses 80 percent less energy than its appliance counterparts, according to the Telegraph. The transducer requires a high voltage to operate, which is likely why it isn’t battery-powered. Still, the entire thing is easily transportable, though it doesn’t solve the problem of drying the clothes afterwards.
GoSun Go — ultraportable solar stove
Harnessing the power of the sun and concentrating its energy to generate heat is something that humans have been doing for millennia. Back in the second century AD, it’s said that Archimedes used a giant parabolic mirror array to set approaching warships on fire. People were likely experimenting with solar energy long before that, as well. And here we are 2,000 years down the road, still doing it the same way. Our equipment, however, has gotten considerably more advanced.
Take GoSun’s new solar cooker, the Go, for example. This gizmo is basically a miniaturized version of the same parabolic mirror array, but designed for the sole purpose of cooking food and boiling water. Rather than being forced to fiddle with charcoal briquettes or build a roaring fire to prepare your food/water in the backcountry, the GoSun Go allows you to cook quickly and completely with nothing but a few rays of sunshine. Best of all, it’s smaller and more portable than GoSun’s previous products, which means you can easily pack it along on camping trips, backpacking trips, and even the occasional picnic.
Eta Clock — analog location display
Remember that clock that the Weasley family had in the Harry Potter movies? You know — the one that magically kept track of the whereabouts of each family member via multi-handed display? If you’ve been waiting for that clock to enter the world of muggles, then we’ve got good news for you: it’s finally here. The Eta Clock is a clever location tracking device that syncs with an app on your smartphone and displays the whereabouts of your friends/family via a multi-handed analog display.
“The idea for the Eta Clock started two years ago when we wanted a way for our parents to feel connected to our lives without sacrificing our privacy,” co-founder Kristie D’Ambrosio-Correll, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology alumna, told Digital Trends. “For my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary, we decided the perfect gift would be a device that gives them peace-of-mind; something that keeps them connected to their adult children without requiring invasive tracking. The Eta Clock concept was born! As we spent the next year building the clock and honing our design, we realized that there were many people who wanted a similar device, sparking us to launch our first Kickstarter campaign.”
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