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. That said, 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.
Whether you enjoy hiking, camping, or merely going for a run at night, a headlamp is an invaluable accessory, giving you a hands-free way to illuminate the path in front of you. Headlamps, however, can be uncomfortable (given you’re basically strapping a flashlight to your head), which makes the new BioLite headlamp something of a godsend. It’s a lightweight, slimmed-down design that doesn’t sacrifice decent lighting.
The main thing that stands out about the BioLite is the cushy design. The headband is made of moisture-wicking material, with electronics woven into the fabric to cut down on bulk. A lot of headlamps put all the weight up front, which means the devices often tend to slide down; the BioLite moves the battery to the back, more evenly distributing the weight around the user’s head. The BioLite has a few lighting modes: Red light, strobe light, and white light, which comes in both a short but wide flood mode and a longer, narrower spot mode. Producing 330 lumens, the BioLite is on par with one of our favorite headlamps, and at the lowest setting, it can last up to 40 hours on a single charge.
Electric skateboards let you zip around the city at (relatively) high speeds, but that luxury often comes at a steep price. The Sail electric skateboard is a product designed to be a little less intimidating – it’s a lightweight, affordable skateboard designed for smooth handling. The Sail cuts a slim profile (12mm), thanks in part to the fact that the battery pack, built to the same thickness as the deck, is built into the deck. The skateboard weighs a mere 11 pounds, so it’s easy to carry around.
The deck sits close to the ground, giving users better control over the skateboard as they steer it, but wipeouts are always a possibility. Thankfully, the Sail is built of sturdy materials, and the battery bends as the board does, so you can ride without worries. The Sail has a range of 10 miles on a single charge, putting it on par with our favorte electric skateboard, the Inboard M1 — and it’s three pounds lighter!
Homebrewing is a popular hobby, offering beer enthusiasts the chance to get creative and stimulate their minds before they start enjoying the fruits of their labors, but it also requires a huge investment of time. So much of homebrewing is waiting for ingredients to boil or ferment — or scrubbing equipment afterwards. The creators of the BeerMKR hope to make homebrewing more accessible by automating most of the process. How does it work? Inside the BeerMKR are three chambers: The brewing chamber, brew pouch, and a collection bin for the waste. To get a brew going, users simply have to pour water into the machine, dump their ingredients in the brewing chamber, and let the BeerMKR do its thing.
Users control the BeerMKR via an app; after pressing a button to start the brew, you can simply sit back and watch. The app will alert users when it’s time to step in and add yeast, for example, but for the most part, the BeerMKR runs on autopilot. According to BeerMKR’s creators, setting up a batch should only take around 5 minutes, with a brewing cycle taking a week. Once you’ve got your completed batch, you just take the airtight beer bag from the machine, put it in the dispenser that comes with the machine, and plug in a CO2 cartridge. Voila! Beer on tap, right in your own kitchen.
The components are dishwasher safe, so you don’t need to spend time scrubbing them after each brew. The BeerMKR team offers kits for users to brew with, but the makers also emphasize that you can brew with whatever ingredients you want — your imagination might be the most valuable ingredient of all.
As smartphone cameras continue to improve, aspiring filmmakers have been using them to make professional films — the critically acclaimed movie Tangerine was even shot on iPhones! Shaky hands are the bane of the handheld cinematographer, however, and to solve that problem, there’s the Atom 3-axis smartphone gimbal. For those unfamiliar, a gimbal is a mount that allows the user to move a camera smoothly, keeping the shot from wavering. True to its name, the Atom is small — not literally atom-sized, but small enough to feel comfortable in the user’s hand. It even folds up for easy transportation while traveling.
The Atom can hold up to 310 grams, which means it can handle a lens on top of a smartphone; the device itself only weighs 440 grams, so it won’t require arms like Popeye. There are multiple devices within thumb’s reach for various operations, whether you need to spin the camera to a vertical orientation, focus, zoom, or otherwise.
What’s better than origami? How about origami you can sail the high seas in? With the Haven Kayak, the latest from Oru Kayak, you can — and with a buddy, no less! If you’ve missed our coverage of previous Oru releases, the gist is this: They’re foldable kayaks that can carry you across the water yet compress to fit in the trunk of a car or a closet. Don’t let the namesake fool you, though! Rather than thin sheets of paper, Oru’s kayaks are made of sturdy polymer that is nevertheless lightweight. The Haven weighs 40 pounds, but can support up to 500 pounds, and can seat two adults.
The sleek, lightweight design of the Haven makes it easy to handle, and if you want to tear up the water by yourself, you can adjust the interior to make a single-rider, high-performance kayak. If you like to take things easy, though, the Haven sports a rail mount system on which you can fasten various accessories like cupholders or fishing rods.