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.
IRL glasses — Screen-blocking spectacles
We covered these bad boys earlier in the week, so here’s a quick cut from our full article: “Inspired by the superpowered, ad-blocking sunglasses from John Carpenter’s 1988 cult movie They Live, IRL Glasses promise to turn LCD and LED digital screens black. They do this by using horizontal polarized optics. By flattening and rotating the polarized lens 90 degrees, light emitted by these screens is blocked, thereby making it look like the TV or computer in front of you is switched off. At present, this effect works with the majority of televisions and some computers, although it won’t help with with your fancy new OLED smartphone or on digital billboards. That may change in the future, though.
“‘My good friend and head of product, Scott, was waiting at a food truck back in May 2017, and it had a giant screen blasting Fox News as people waited in line for their food,’ creator Ivan Cash told Digital Trends. ‘He had a strike of inspiration based on an article he had recently read in Wired magazine about polarizer film that blocked screens. Soon after, he made a rough mock-up. Meanwhile, I’d been thinking about a collective called IRL that would empower people to control tech, not the other way around. We flirted with the idea of collaborating for about six months before I finally decided the idea of screen-blocking glasses was sticky enough to go all-in on. A year later, here we are!’”
Cybershoes — VR gaming shoes
Virtual reality has come a long way in the past few years, but despite the feverish pace of progress in the space, there are a few big problems with VR that remain unsolved. One of the biggest ones is walking and running. Because VR typically takes place in a confined space, you can’t actually walk and run any more than just a few feet in any direction. Hell, with some rigs, you can’t move around using anything other than a joystick on your controller — which isn’t exactly the most realistic or immersive way to get around.
Cybershoes are an attempt to solve this problem. Rather than forcing you to use a joystick, these suckers strap on to the bottoms of your feet and allow you to move around by moving your legs. To be fair, you still have to sit down to use the shoes, and the “walking” motion is more akin to dragging your feet across the floor, but it’s still more realistic than moving through the virtual world with your thumbs. According to creators, it even helps alleviate the motion sickness experienced by some users. Pretty neat, no?
Freewrite Traveler — Distraction-free portable typewriter
Here’s a quick excerpt from our full article, which ran earlier this week: “If you’re a writer who tends to be easily distracted, the Freewrite Traveler may be just what you need. The device is a better-looking, more compact version of the Freewrite machine that launched a couple of years ago, and aims to divert you from your procrastination method of choice so that you can focus on the writing task in hand. At least, that’s the idea. Created by New York-based Astrohaus, what the Traveler doesn’t feature is the reason you might want to get it. There’s no email, no social media, no games, no alerts or notifications, no video streaming, and no apps. There’s really little more than a keyboard, a display, and an internet connection so you can save your work to the cloud.
“One of the main strengths of the Traveler over its predecessor is its lightweight, foldable, and altogether more portable design, hence its name. Tipping the scales at 4 pounds, the original Freewrite device was a hefty, bulky lump of a thing, while the Traveler weighs in at a more manageable 1.8 pounds. So now you can head to your favorite coffee shop to finally begin work on that amazing novel idea you’ve been talking about for so long, though if you’re a bit of a people-watcher, distractions other than those provided by the internet may prove a challenge. Oh, and best to chain your smartphone to the bottom of your bag, too.”
Laserlight Core — Laser-projection bike light
Bike lights come in all kinds of different shapes, sizes, and configurations these days, but regardless of how bright and flashy they might be, many still fall short in certain situations. For example, if you’re riding in a car’s blind spot, it doesn’t matter how bright your light is — you’ll still likely get cut off, simply because the driver doesn’t know you’re approaching. But what if there was a light that could fix that problem? What if there was a way to alert drivers not only to your current position on the road, but also to your future position?
That’s precisely the idea behind the Laserlight Core, a clever bike light that not only illuminates the road, but also projects a big, bright bicycle symbol onto the road 6 meters ahead of you. In essence, it extends your visibility footprint so that cars know where you’re going to be before you actually get there. Better yet, the Laserlight Core is actually the second generation of this concept, so many of the flaws and shortcomings tof the original projection light have been ironed out.
Ninox — Flat-lay hammock
Hammock camping has experienced a huge boom in popularity over the past few years, and for good reason. The average hammock setup is considerably lighter and more compact than the average tent — and not to mention more comfortable to most people. But for some people, sleeping in a hammock isn’t comfortable at all — namely people who like to sleep on their sides or stomach. Due to the nature of most hammocks, sleeping on anything other than your back just isn’t feasible. Luckily, Sierra Madre Research aims to change that with an innovative new hammock design.
Ninox, as it’s called, is designed to allow users to lay as flat as possible. Thanks to it’s unique wave-shaped form, this sling is claimed to allow you to lay diagonally without being pushed back toward the center of the hammock, as you generally are in most camping hammocks. The result is a roomy, level sleeping surface that’s more comfortable for side sleepers, stomach sleepers, and back sleepers alike. Sierra Madre is definitely onto something here. Keep an eye on this company.