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 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.
Sensory Percussion — programmable drum sensors
Sensory Percussion is a modern take on electronic drums that captures the true expressive nature of drumming. While standard trigger systems turn your drum into little more than an on/off button, Sensory Percussion listens and reacts, responding to the essence of your performance in real time. Unlike your typical programmable drum pad, which doesn’t have the same articulation and sonic freedom that a regular drum has, the Sensory Percussion system is designed as an overlay for your existing acoustic drums.
It’s a hardware sensor that clamps to the side of a drum (snare, tom, or kick) and connects to our Mac/PC software via a standard audio interface. Thanks to its finely-tuned sensors, the system understands where and how you hit the drum. It not only lets you map different parts of the drum to any sound desired (from samples and synthesizers to digital audio effects), but it also lets you control those sounds in an intuitive, expressive way. Sounds follow your playing in real-time, so rather than twiddle knobs and push buttons, you can control the experience simply by playing the drums.
Scribbler Duo — dual extruder 3D printing pen
Remember 3Doodler, the world’s first 3D-printing pen that took Kickstarter by storm back in 2013? By using a special thermoplastic filament, it allowed users to draw free-form three-dimensional objects by hand, instead of drawing out designs on a computer and using a 3D printer to bring them to life. The product has since been manufactured and delivered, and it’s fantastic little gizmo. The only problem is that if you want to draw with multiple colors, you have to switch off the device and insert a different color — a process that acts as a sort of creative speed bump, so to speak.
To remedy this problem, a team of designers decided to make Scribbler Duo: a dual-color version of the same concept. Just like it’s predecessor, Scribbler Duo is essentially a handheld extruder that you load with a special ABS or PLA filament, and has buttons that allow you to control the rate at which the material comes out. This gives users the ability to draw at different speeds, create lines of varying thickness, and now, create three-dimensional artworks with two different colors simultaneously. No more swapping back and forth!
SmartDuvet Breeze — self-making bed with temperature control
Hate making your bed? SmartDuvet is exactly what you’ve been waiting for. It’s an app-controlled inflatable insert that makes your bed at the touch of a button — so no more toiling with your comforter before you leave for work in the morning. With this gizmo, you can walk out the door, tap your phone a few times, and then come back to a perfectly-made bed. It’s a lazy person’s dream come true.
Here’s how it works: SmartDuvet is essentially a grid-shaped network of inflatable tubes that you slip inside your duvet cover. When deflated, you can hardly notice that it’s there, but when inflated, the inflated tubes will become rigid, thereby forcing your comforter to unfurl and return to its original position. After that’s done, the tubes deflate again, and your comforter goes back to looking normal. The original version launched about a year ago, but now the company is back with a new-and-improved version that allows you to control the temperature of your comforter — with two separate zones, no less!
The Public Radio — single-station mason jar radio
Let’s be honest here — in the era of smartphones, ubiquitous internet access, and music streaming services that allow you to play virtually any song in the world without interruption; how many FM radio stations do you actually listen to anymore? If you listen to traditional radio at all these days, we’re willing to bet you probably just stick with one — that one good station that you listen to on your way to work because your car stereo doesn’t have a USB port, and you’re sick of the mix CD that’s been in your disc drive for the past four years.
Designed with this in mind, The Public Radio is a simple single-station radio built inside of a small mason jar. The lid of the jar is outfitted with all the tech it needs to function — all the circuitry, a pair of batteries, a speaker, antenna, and a single knob that functions as both an on/off switch and a volume controller. The glass jar apparently helps to amplify and direct the sound, while also acting as a safe, sturdy enclosure for the innards. It’s minimal in every sense of the word, and its decidedly simple design strips the experience down to its bare bones. No frills; just that one radio station you love.
Fourneau 2.0 — cast iron bread oven
Baking a perfect loaf of bread is easier said than done, so most of us just leave the breadmaking to our local bakery. But thanks to a clever cooking contraption that’s currently up on Kickstarter, making bakery-quality bread in your home is easier than ever before. It’s called the Fourneau, and you may remember the first iteration of it from 2015, which was ultimately backed by nearly 800 people from 20 different countries. Now, the creators are back with the latest and greatest version of the oven: The Forneau 2.0.
So what exactly is this bread oven? Don’t worry, it’s not a whole new appliance you’ll have to install in your kitchen. Rather, this cast-iron bakeware device simply sits in your existing oven, creating the perfect environment for you to make artisan bread at home. Baking bread with the Forneau is pretty straightforward — simply place the device in your oven to preheat, and when it’s at the correct temperature, place your bread dough onto the peel and slide it in. The cast-iron walls promise to heat the dough thoroughly and evenly, and because it’s in an enclosed space, it will trap the steam from the bake. That means you’ll end up with a golden-brown, crisp crust, just like at the professional bakeries.
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