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.
We’ve reviewed many a good speaker at Digital Trends, but rarer is the speaker that also helps the environment. While some audio manufacturers are taking care to make their speakers in an environmentally friendly way — or at least paying lip service to the idea — the makers of the Gomi Speaker go a step further by harvesting flexible plastic from around Brighton, U.K., and melting it down to make colorful speakers, no two of which look exactly the same.
The outer shell of the Gomi is eye-catching, but a speaker is useless if it doesn’t please the ear. The Gomi comes with a tweeter and full-range driver that can produce 84 decibels of sound with one watt of power – and it’s Bluetooth 4.0 compatible, so you can use it wherever. With 18 hours of battery life, you can get a lot of listening in without having to think about recharging.
Ever wanted a UV light that was small enough to carry around? You might be interested in the Hunt 22, a UV flashlight that can fit on a coin. You can fasten the light to a key ring, and the makers claim its titanium body is fireproof, waterproof, and even iceproof (so if you were to drop it in an ice tray, fear not).
You may be asking yourself if you need a UV light, and unless you’re a crime scene investigator, the answer is “probably not.” UV lights are, however, a lot of fun; you can use them to illuminate Blaschko’s lines (the normally invisible stripes along the human body), scorpions (apparently), and a variety of other things. If you’re into photography, UV lighting can make for some dazzling pictures.
Biking is good for your health and the environment, but sometimes you come across a hill that you just don’t want to pedal up. You could splurge on an ebike, which will give you an electric boost to lift you past any obstacle, but ebikes are expensive, with our favorite budget model running upward of $1,500. The Clip offers is a portable electric motor that you can fasten to your bike anytime you need extra power, and won’t require you to tap into your 401(k).
Aside from the price, what’s appealing about the Clip is how simple it looks to use; you just snap it onto your wheel, and suddenly you’ve got extra juice flowing to your wheel thanks to the 450-watt motor. Weighing under 4 pounds, the Clip is easy to carry in a backpack and perfect for the urban commuter biking to and from work.
Robotics kits are increasingly popular these days, offering a way for people young or old to hone their engineering skills and build fun toys in the process. A lot of these kits tend to be targeted to a particular age group, however, and once you’ve outgrown one, you have nothing to do but buy another. The MOREbot systems promises a platform that grows with the user, thanks to 3D-printed parts that enable boundless creativity.
MOREbot’s components are made through 3D printing, so users can download designs and print them at home. Even better, if you’ve developed your own 3D-printing skills, you can design your own parts that work within the MOREbot infrastructure. If you’re a beginner, MOREbot offers a number of kits to teach specific concepts. Another fascinating aspect of MOREbot is that pieces are modular, so you don’t have to move on to a new robot once you finish one, but can build off of it instead.
Virtual reality headsets are cool to use, not so much to wear. Even our favorite VR headsets tend to be bulky, especially the more powerful models. The Luci Immers is a sleeker take on a VR headset, and looks more like a thick pair of sunglasses than a box you wear on your face. It’s also lightweight at a mere 180 grams, noticeably less than the 470 grams of our beloved HTC Vive, and packs a 38 by 1080 display within.
A headset is just a cyberpunk cosplay accessory if you don’t have things to do on it, and the Immers is a versatile device. In addition to Luci’s own library of videos, users can also hook the Immers to their computer, phone, even game consoles like the Nintendo Switch. For those who are interested in VR but don’t want to commit to a high-end gaming headset, the Immers promises a beautiful viewing experience in a device you won’t hate wearing.