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.
Here’s Dyllan Furness with the scoop: “Socks, sliced bread, Pez dispensers, water guns. There are some things that seem destined to never change. But fed up with an apparent lack of evolution in the water gun department, a team of German innovators quit their day jobs and set out to redesign the nostalgic, summertime toy for the 21st century. Three years later, they’ve taken to Kickstarter to fund the Spyra One, a next-generation water gun that will get you soaking wet.
“Spyra One turns your water fights into more than just soaking,” Sebastian Walter, company co-founder, told Digital Trends. “It shoots individual water bullets that clearly hit your opponents up to 30 feet away. With the integrated pump, the tank display, and 100 percent pressure from the first to the last shot, you will have epic water battles like never before — just with water and completely safe.”
In order to fire such precise, single rounds over a relatively long distance, the Spyra One takes advantage of a physical phenomenon called laminar flow (the same one behind “jumping jet” water fountains). “A specially engineered nozzle-valve combination reduces turbulence in the water and enables clearly visible — and clearly felt — hits,” Walter said.
We covered this one earlier in the week, so here’s a quick excerpt from our full post: “Now available on Indiegogo (where it raised more than $60,000 within a few hours), the Infinite Cooler hopes to be your next party’s one-stop shop for a good time. First and foremost, it offers some serious refrigeration capacity, with a 61-quart volume and the ability to cool stored items for up to 17 days (allegedly) thanks to its nano-powder insulation.
Aside from actual cooling capabilities, the Infinite Cooler boasts a full-size blender attachment. Sure, it looks a little odd (it literally sits on top of the lid, but seeing as it works as both a blender and a coffee grinder, we’re not ones to pass judgment purely based on aesthetics. Once the blender is fully charged (it’ll take about two hours), you should have the horsepower to make 100 drinks. Moreover, the cooler boasts a built-in Bluetooth speaker, as well as a USB device charger so you can keep other smart devices going for as long as you need.
‘We wanted to bring together all the 21st century amenities we’ve come to rely on day-to-day into one smart outdoors device,” said Infinite Cooler CEO Alvin Gao. “Infinite Cooler will also include some unexpected features, like a 360-degree rotatable LED lamp and an insect repellent lamp.’”
Once again, we covered this one earlier in the week. Here’s a taste of the full article: “First teased a couple of years back, Venus Optics’ Laowa 24mm f/14 2x Macro Probe lens for Canon, Nikon, and Sony cameras has a design unlike any other, its long slim barrel resembling more of a shooting device than a photographic one.
But there’s a reason for that foot-long barrel. Think about it — macro lenses are made for close-up photography and the best results are obtained when the glass is physically close to the subject. But the bulky shape of the lens and camera can sometimes make it hard to get in super-close.
As the “Macro Probe” name suggests, Venus Optics’ lens enables you to get right up to the subject, regardless of the tightness of the space in which you’re working.
While most macro lenses have a long focal length, the maker here went for a wide-angle 24mm design that helps to bring in more details from the area surrounding the subject. Venus Optics calls it a “bug’s eye” view.”
Wireless chargers are awesome — they free you from fiddling with a mess of cables every time you want to charge up your phone. Portable batteries are also awesome — they free you from being tethered to a wall while you juice up your phone. So why the hell hasn’t anybody combined these two ideas into a single device? Your guess is as good as ours — but if the good folks behind Brickspower have their way, we might not have to wait much longer for such a device to hit store shelves.
The Brickspower device is essentially a Qi wireless charger affixed to a rechargeable battery, all rolled into one sleek little device that fits on the back of your phone. Thanks to a special “nano suction” pad, the pack can be affixed to your phone and removed with relative ease — without losing its ability to re-stick. To use it, just slap it on the back of your Qi-compatible phone and head out — no fussing with cables that might come loose, and no more worrying that your phone might crap out before you can call that late-night Uber to get home.
Here’s DT’s photography correspondent, Hillary Grigonis, with the lowdown: “Shooting a photo with a screen that’s as large as a smartphone is great until glare prevents you from actually seeing anything on the screen. Entrepreneur Shai Goitein, however, has come up with a rather unusual solution to the problem. OKO is a two-eye viewfinder for smartphones — the device looks like wearing a virtual reality headset, only instead of viewing virtual reality, you’re framing up reality inside the smartphone camera.
The designer behind OKO says the device eliminates the glare from the screen and offers a better grip. The device also works with optional smartphone lenses and leaves enough room to still use the touchscreen controls while wearing the OKO. Made of silicone, the OKO folds down to be not quite so large and uses a neck strap — but we have to wonder, have we reached the point where smartphone accessories have made the most portable cameras no less portable than an actual camera with a real viewfinder?