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.

October 28

Footloose — Automatic litter box

We covered this one earlier in the week, so here’s a cut from our full article: “Footloose is a litter box that promises to be the most cutting-edge way imaginable for your kitty to take a dump. After using this sci-fi-style litter tray, your beloved Mr. Bigglesworth won’t be able to so much look at your neighbor’s lawn without turning its nose up in disgust.

‘Footloose is the first smart cat potty that cleans itself automatically, and also monitors the wellness of felines,’ Byron Fan, founder of Footloose manufacturer Petato, told Digital Trends. ‘The patent-pending self-cleaning mechanism is a nifty and efficient way to dispose of cat waste. The tech can distinguish litter from cats, recognize multiple cats, and detect any motion such that human intervention is reduced to a minimum. These features are possible thanks to onboard computing cores embedded with a dimensionality-reduction algorithm which fuses data from a dozen sensors. Footloose is also the first litter box integrated with a proactive deodorizing unit. The result is a box that requires little owner maintenance, but delivers information including a cat’s body weight, waste volume, toilet frequency, and duration.’”

Mui — wooden smart panel

previous post[/internal-link]: “Are you so immersed in technology that you long for a touch of nature in your home? You could get some potted plants — or you could invest in Mui, a wood panel that is also an internet-connected smart display. ‘Mui lets you adjust the lighting and temperature of your home, check news and weather, play music, send and receive voice and text, and is programmable by developers to do even more,’ Mui Labs said in a press release. ‘When in sleep mode, Mui regains its original natural look, in a nod to calm design principles.’

A Mui Kickstarter campaign is now live, with the goal of raising $100,000 to fund development of the device by December 7.  Available in either sycamore (light) or cherry (dark), Mui looks like a slim and stylish wood panel until you swipe its touch-sensitive surface, which then glows to display information such as time, date and temperature. Out of the box, you can use it as an alarm clock, timer, voicemail reader, and message display.”

TourBox — controller for photo editing

Photo and video editing software has come a long way in the decade or so. The stuff you do in Photoshop these days is nothing short of incredible — but unfortunately, despite how advanced this stuff has become, it’s still a bit of a chore to work with. Why? Because in order to change what you’re doing with your mouse, you typically have to navigate through menus, move sliders, uncheck boxes, and generally just waste time switching between tasks. It only takes a few seconds, but over the course of a multi-hour edit, those seconds really start to add up. Thankfully, TourBox is here to fix that problem.

“TourBox is the most advanced creative controller for Photoshop, Lightroom, SAI, and other image processing software,” the creators explain on Kickstarter. “It is specifically designed for photographers and designers who want to improve their work efficiency and experience a new state-of-the-art method for editing content.   It frees users from endless repetitive tasks such as drawing, editing and retouching using a new, intuitive approach that is ergonomic and natural. Customize your creativity, simplify inputs, and optimize your work. TourBox is a fully customizable device, users can assign different functions for Photoshop, Lightroom, or SAI. And you can also adapt TourBox to suit any software. Personalize your TourBox to best adapt to your own personal workflow.”

The Every Day Calendar — Habit-forming calendar

We ran a story about this one earlier in the week, so here’s a quick excerpt from the full post: “As with a lot of the projects which capture the public’s imagination on Kickstarter, the Every Day Calendar has a simple premise. It’s essentially a big printed circuit board which uses capacitive touch and LEDs to light up the individual days as you achieve your goal. For instance, if your goal is to go for a jog every day or eat five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, you tap the date as you complete the task and illuminate that section of the calendar. The idea is that this kind of visual reward system will make you more likely to stick to your goal, particularly as the year goes on and you don’t want to ruin your winning streak.

‘Hang the Every Day Calendar in your home, office, workshop, cavern, laboratory, castle, barn or boat,’ Giertz writes on the Kickstarter page. ‘Just make sure that it’s someplace where you see it every day. The Every Day Calendar is 0 percent internet connected, so no apps, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or computer programs are needed to set it up. Just plug it into the wall and you’re ready to go.’

The Crunch Cup — portable cereal vessel

If you’re at home, cereal is arguably one of the simplest breakfasts you can prepare in the morning. You just dump some in a bowl, splash some milk on it, and voila — time to grub. However, if you’re on the go, cereal suddenly becomes the most inconvenient breakfast you could possibly eat. In addition to all the sloshing around and inevitable spillage, you also have to use both hands in order to get the food into your mouth. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a better way to eat your Lucky Charms on the go? Well, thanks to an enterprising startup from Los Angeles, we might soon have one.

“We couldn’t believe there wasn’t a viable option to eat your cereal on-the-go, so we made one, and it’s awesome.” the creators explain on their Kickstarter campaign page. “It’s called **drumroll** The CrunchCup.  The Crunch Company (that’s us). Set out to create a portable cereal cup that does not mess around. We don’t play that soggy cereal nonsense. Which is why it’s a two cup system; one for the cereal and the other for the milk. The cereal and milk don’t meet until they hit your mouth.”

News Reporter

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