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.
If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that speed traps are the worst. Here you are, just minding your business at 7 mph over the speed limit, and suddenly some unmarked van snaps a picture of your license plate. You don’t even get a chance you argue your way out of it — you just get a ticket in the mail a few weeks later, and are forced to either go to court or pay the fine. Its absolutely infuriating — but there’s a new gizmo currently raising funds on Kickstarter that might help alleviate the problem.
TrapTap, as it’s called, is a little electronic puck that’s designed to warn you about upcoming speed traps, red light cameras, and school zones. It’s certainly not the first device that’s ever been built for this purpose, but unlike all the apps and nav systems that are already on the market, TrapTap is designed to be simple and unobtrusive — so you don’t have to look away from the road to get alerts. The device uses a simple three color blinking system to let you know when you’re near a known speed trap or red light camera, so you’ll know in an instant what’s going on. The only issue is that the device relies on the user community for data — so it’ll only work if a lot of people hop on the bandwagon.
A few months ago, a little-known Utah-based apparel startup by the name of Ravean took Kickstarter by storm with a line of heated jackets. The campaign absolutely crushed its original goal, and ended up gathering well over $1 million before it finished. But that’s not even the most amazing part — somehow, these guys were also savvy enough to manufacture their product and deliver it to backers in just over three months. It was a resounding success, and now that the company has one successful product launch under its belt, it’s back on Kickstarter with yet another innovative product.
This time around, Ravean is promising to revolutionize your outdoor sleeping experiences with a line of sleeping bag liners that provide radiant heat to your core and feet. Rather than replacing your existing sleeping bag, the Ravean solution fits inside it, with zippers, drawstrings, and adjustable heating elements for the perfect fit. Each liner comes with a newly designed 12V battery that can be used to charge mobile devices while you sleep, and features a compact, curved profile that’s designed to fit the shape of your torso.
Tired of the images you can capture with your stock camera lenses? Check out this badass new art lens from Lomography. This stunning piece of equipment that evokes the lost aesthetic of the world’s very first photographic optic lens from 1839 — but gives it a 21st century update so that it can work with a wide range of modern-day cameras. With the Lomography Daguerreotype Achromat Art Lens, you’ll be able to “alternate between razor-sharp images, or drape your world in silky soft focus.” Truly meant for professionals and connoisseurs of the photography field, the lens allows its user to “control depth of field in a whole new way with endless bokeh effects — which blend together colors, shapes and textures for creative expression.”
The project has already blasted past its original funding goal, and it currently sitting on over $760,000 in pledges. All the early bird backer rewards have been snatched up already, but you can still get your hands on the lens for about $500. If all goes as planned, the creators expect to finish production and begin shipping as early as December 2016.
If you want to film something from the air, you’ve got a zillion different options. There are more camera drones on the market these days than you can even fathom — but when it comes to grabbing footage under water, your options are still fairly limited. That’s where iBubble comes in. This little underwater drone was built from the ground up by a team of divers who were tired of lugging camera equipment around with them during expeditions. It’s designed to follow you around while you swim, and autonomously shoot video of your aquatic adventures — leaving you unencumbered and free to explore.
To use iBubble, you simply charge it up, strap on the accompanying wristband, drop it in the water, and start diving. The drone will autonomously stay within a pre-defined range that you set on the wristband, and use sense-and-avoid technology to steer clear of obstacles. And best of all? It’s even got automated filming modes that allow you to capture professional-looking cinematic shots at the push of a button.
Action cams have become practically ubiquitous in the past few years, but unfortunately, if you want badass action-packed video footage that’s also smooth and professional looking, you’ve gotta dish out a bunch of extra money for a gimbal or some other kind of stabilizer technology. To make matters worse, very few of these things are compact and simple to use. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an action cam that didn’t require aftermarket stabilizer tech?
Enter the Revl Arc. This compact little action cam is equipped with both physical and digital image stabilization, so you don’t even have to think about stabilizing your shots — the camera does absolutely everything for you. And it’s not slim on specs either: The Arc shoots in 4K at 30 frames per second, 1080p at 60 frames per second, and snaps 12 megapixel stills. It’s also water resistant, and comes with a huge variety of mounts for different action sports.