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.
3Doodler 2.0 — 3D-drawing pen
3Doodler 2.0 is the new and improved version of the original 3Doodler, which allows you to “draw” physical objects in midair. Yes, really. Basically, the pen works by extruding a special thermoplastic that solidifies into a stable form within seconds of exiting the nozzle thanks to a built-in fan. It’s almost like a hot glue gun, but with fine lines of plastic instead of glue, allowing you to craft three-dimensional objects in space without the need for blueprints, or the exorbitant cost of a 3D printer. The 3Doodler 2.0 also touts dual speeds and a slimmer, lighter profile than its predecessor. At 50 grams, it weighs less than half the weight of your average apple.
Prynt — Smartphone printer
Put bluntly, the Prynt Case is essentially a slim dock that clips onto your phone and prints the pictures you take directly after you snap them. Now, despite what its name would lead you to believe, the case doesn’t require ink to function. Instead it takes a page from the Polaroid playbook and uses special paper to create the image, so you’ll never have to worry about buying cartridges. Early versions of the device took about 50 seconds to print an image, but the more polished version we demoed at CES only needed about 30 to spit out the selfie we snapped at the booth. Prynt plans to launch a Kickstarter campaign later on in January to get the printer off the ground, so stay tuned for more information on features and pricing.
Lyteshot — Live, action-augmented reality game
In a nutshell, LyteShot is a new kind of mobile, live-action gaming system. Using sensor-based peripherals that work with your mobile phone, the system allows you to take gaming out of the living room and bring it into the real world. It’s sort of like laser tag, but smarter, more dynamic, more connected, and built in a way that enables a broader range of gametypes. Right now the platform only supports one gametype (assassin) but others are currently in development. We got a chance to fiddle with some of the peripherals they’re building, and they’re already pretty far along. The augmented-reality glasses were pretty mind blowing.
XON Snow-1 — Performance tracking snowboard bindings
Smart snowboard bindings are here! Check it out — each Snow-1 binding boasts four on-board load sensors at the bottom of each foot, as well as two flex sensors that rest on the head and tail of your board. Together, the two sensors work to track your every movement and shift of weight distribution, which is then synced with an accompanying app via Bluetooth. It they also track things like speed, acceleration, and GPS location, giving you an extremely detailed view of your performance stats. And best of all, it’s not some extraneous sensor pod you’ve got to mount on your board — all the tech is seamlessly integrated into the floor of the binding.
AmpStrip — Wearable heartrate monitor
Forget strapping a fitness tracker onto your wrist – health tech firm FitLinxx is on the verge of launching a neat little wearable that you simply stick on your body, just like a Band-Aid. Although it’s geared primarily toward the accurate tracking of your heart rate – including recovery and resting rates – the tiny tracker also gathers a stack of other data, including steps taken, calories burned, and skin temperature. Designed to be worn around the clock, the waterproof AmpStrip tracker can go for up to a week on a single charge, with gathered data transmitted via Bluetooth 4.0 to its dedicated iOS/Android AmpInsights app.