At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns 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. In this column, we cut through all the worthless wearables and Oculus Rift ripoffs to round up the week’s most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects. But don’t grab your wallet just yet. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project can fail — even the most well-intentioned. Do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.
Waking up in the middle of night to pee is never a fun activity. When nature calls, you’ve got to choose between flipping on the lights and momentarily blinding yourself, or skipping the switch and using the john in complete darkness … or, you know, you could buy some nightlights. But if none of those options sound appealing to you, don’t worry — there’s an awesome alternative up on Kickstarter right now. It’s called the Illumibowl 2.0 — the new and improved version of the nightlight for your crapper.
Instead of putting lights in your walls, IlumiBowl puts a light where you need it most: the toilet bowl. Using a set of motion-activated LEDs mounted just above the bowl, the contraption illuminates the toilet without actually being inside of it. This way, the gentlemen of the house have enough light to adjust their aim, and the ladies needn’t worry about falling in because the seat isn’t down. Necessary? Probably not — but it’s certainly an interesting idea.
Outdoor showers certainly aren’t a new thing at this point. Take a stroll through REI or Kickstarter, and you’ll find no shortage of products designed to help you rinse off after a hot day of hiking, biking, or even surfing. There’s the gravity-fed variety, the pump-style variety, and even a few that rely on pressurized tanks. But no matter what style you go for, the vast majority of portable outdoor showers only last as long as their water reservoirs stay full — which typically isn’t all that long. Once that water runs out, you’re screwed.
But Evershower is different. In addition to packing down to the size of a small suitcase, it also features a pop-up privacy enclosure, a water pump, and a grey water recycling system that allows you to reuse water that goes down the drain. With this setup, if you’re showering near a water source, you can just drop the pump in the water and shower for as long as you want. For those times that you’re not near a water source, you can flip on EverShower’s recycling system and make the most of a limited H2O supply.
Most of us aren’t very demanding when it comes to water containers. Our list of requirements typically begins with “must hold my water” and ends with “must allow me to drink my water.” But Rohan Burdett, founder of Crio, thinks we should expect more from our water bottles. Specifically, he believes that they should do a better job of keeping our liquids at their starting temperature, more like a Thermos does, but without all that extra bulk. So with that in mind, he set out to make a water bottle that satisfied his needs.
Crio is the result of Burdett’s efforts. At first glance, it doesn’t really look much different than the hundreds of other water bottles currently on the market — but don’t let its unassuming exterior fool you. Crio has some pretty advanced tech under the hood Between the inner and outer layers of plastic lies a thin layer of cryogel — a specific formulation of aerogel that has particularly impressive insulative qualities, despite being extremely thin and lightweight. This incredible material provides the bottle with Thermos-like temperature retention abilities, but with a far slimmer and lighter design.
Lighters come in handy for everyone from smokers to concertgoers, but the ubiquitous disposable flick-on versions aren’t designed to last forever. At some point, they’re going to run out of fuel, and when they do, you’ll have no other choice but to buy another one. Sure, buying replacements isn’t a huge financial burden by any means, but wouldn’t it be nice if you never had to worry about fuel refills or replacement lighters ever again? That’s where the Sparkr and Sparkr Mini come in. These badboys are designed to ignite things with an electric arc instead of a flame, so they dont require liquid fuel. To keep these gizmos running, you just need to recharge the batteries.
But lighting stuff on fire isn’t all that Sparkr and Sparkr Mini can do. Both devices boast a built-in 3350 mAh rechargeable battery that powers not only the plasma lighter itself, but also a 150-lumen flashlight located on the opposite end of the device. These batteries are capable of keeping the LED lamp illuminated for up to four hours on its brightest setting, with its burn time extending up to 16 hours when the brightness is reduced to its lowest level. Sounds like it’d be pretty damn handy in the backcountry, no?
Flat bike tires are a problem that has plagued the cycling community ever since we ditched metal wheels for rubber ones, but despite the fact we’ve been dealing with flats for nearly a century now, nobody’s really developed a great solution to the problem yet. To this day, in the event that you find yourself deflated and immobilized, you’ve typically got two options: Either take the tire off and replace the inner tube, or fill it with some kind of slime or ooze that will (hopefully) seal up the hole. Neither method is particularly convenient, so wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to worry about flats in the first place?
Nexo Tires are built around that very concept. Instead of air-filled innertubes that are susceptible to punctures, Nexo tires are completely airless — thereby rendering them impervious to going flat. The modified solid tire design is comprised of a polymer blend with a series of holes that have been engineered to offer exceptional control and outstanding durability. Each Nexo tire is expected to last for up to 5,000 miles as compared to approximately 3,000 miles for a standard high-end rubber bicycle tire.