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 fidget spinners and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. Keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even those with the best intentions — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the “gadget of your dreams.”
DT’s very own Luke Dormehl caught up with the creator of this gizmo earlier in the week. Here’s an excerpt from the full article: “Smart speakers are old news. If you really want to impress people with a question-answering smart home device, you’ll want to check out Peeqo, a new personal robot that’s just arrived on Kickstarter. As with devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo, Peeqo can respond to spoken word questions. The difference? It will respond to queries exclusively with a specially selected short video or GIF. Because, you know, it’s 2019 and nobody feels comfortable communicating the old-fashioned way anymore.
‘I first started on this project when I didn’t know how to code and didn’t even know the difference between a Raspberry Pi and Arduino,’ Abhishek Singh, Peeqo’s creator, told Digital Trends. ‘After becoming familiar with the basics, it eventually became part of my thesis [at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts’ Interactive Telecommunications Program]. After posting that build online, it instantly went viral, [making] it to the top of Reddit twice. I began getting hundreds of requests from people who wanted their very own Peeqo. After chatting with a bunch of them, it became clear that a DIY kit was the way to go.’ Peeqo’s kit offers everything you’ll need to build your very own version of the robot. According to Singh, no special tools are required, meaning that people without their own personal soldering iron can get in on the fun too.”
Indoor gardens are a dime a dozen these days. They come in all manner of shapes, sizes, and configurations — but almost all of them suffer from the same drawback: they simply aren’t big enough to grow anything but a few herbs. Sure, you can get bigger ones capable of growing more plants, but the vast majority of them are so big that they wouldn’t make sense inside a reasonably-sized apartment. OGarden, however, is a rare exception. Thanks to its clever circular design, it’s capable of cultivating a huge number of plants in a relatively small amount of space.
“OGarden Smart can grow up to 90 fruits and veggies at once, so you can enjoy an abundance of super fresh food,” the device’s creators explain on Kickstarter. “Automatic watering makes using OGarden Smart virtually effortless, and the automatic low energy consumption LEDs simulate the perfect amount of sunlight, offering optimal year round growth. By being able to grow a great amount of veggies and fruits easily from your living room, OGarden Smart is a way to eat produce sustainably that’s never been done before. Effortless, easy and pleasant, the OGarden Smart easily upgrades your home and your grocery basket!”
Here’s DT’s Kraig Becker with the scoop: “As the popularity of hammock camping continues to grow, the options for backpackers who have adopted the off-the-ground lifestyle continue to evolve and become more sophisticated as well. Take the new Mantis all-in-one hammock from Kammock. This new lightweight option, which just launched on Kickstarter, promises to deliver all of the shelter and amenities that come with a tent, along with the comfort that comes with sleeping among the trees. Billed as delivering everything you need in one simple package, the Mantis not only comes with a full-sized hammock capable of supporting up to 500 pounds of weight, it has all of the extras you need for a good night’s sleep, too. That includes a rainfly and integrated insect netting, as well as tree-friendly straps and a built-in stuff sack for storage.
Kammock claims that it is perfect for all seasons, giving backpackers the ability to mix and match the various parts as needed to dial in the level of comfort they need to match the weather conditions. The Mantis comes in two varieties, the standard model and the Mantis UL. In this case, the ‘UL’ stands for ultralight, as that version of the hammock tent clocks in with a trail weight of just under 2 pounds, including the rainfly. Meanwhile, the regular Mantis is no slouch in the weight department either, tipping the scales at 2 pounds, 8.5 ounces.”
Here’s a quick cut from the full article we published earlier in the week: “According to some studies, the average person spends somewhere around sixty hours per year in the shower. Over the span of a lifetime, that’s about 175 days. Despite how much time people spend in the shower, though, the basic technology hasn’t changed much in the past hundred years. A Silicon Valley, California startup called Nebia plans to change that.
Nebia has partnered with Moen to develop the Nebia Spa Shower 2.0. The company took customer feedback into account to produce a warmer, more efficient shower experience that simultaneously meets its goals of water conservation. Philip Winter, Nebia co-founder and CEO, said ‘We spoke with thousands of customers to determine the key features that could be improved. The result is a warmer and more powerful shower that sets a totally new standard — and still saves 65 percent of the water used by conventional showers.’”
Remember Vantablack, aka the world’s darkest material? It’s such a deep shade of black that it absorbs 99.965% of light that strikes it. In other words, it absorbs all but 0.035% of the incident light that bounces off it, meaning your eyes basically can’t see it — you can only see the space around it, and then infer that there must be something occupying that eerie black void. It’s so dark, in fact, that when applied to a three-dimensional object or surface, Vantablack will make that surface appear two-dimensional. It traps so much light and prevents it from bouncing off the surface that, once applied, it’s nearly impossible to make out three-dimensional features.
Due to its neat properties and potential applications, there are a lot of people — including artists — who would love to get their hands on Vantablack. The only problem is that due to rights and licensing issues, it’s not available to just anyone. So, to alleviate this issue and bring super-dark materials to the creative community, UK creator Stuart Semple went out and made a paintable version. It’s not quite the same technology, and it’s slightly less absorbent of light — but with 98% light absorbency, it’s still the darkest paint you’ll ever lay eyes on.