When you visit Kickstarter or Indiegogo, you’ll find literally thousands of projects waiting for crowdfunding campaigns from the web. Unfortunately, no disrespect to the real and honest-to-goodness tech inventors out there, many of the projects and inventions on these sites are either weird, useless, or just downright stupid. But if you look closely you’ll discover some real gems worth buying into. So before you start reaching out for your check books for those useless Facebook Oculus Rifts or Google drones, first check out these unusual but ambitious, exciting, and extremely useful crowdfunding projects and gadgets.
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goTenna Mesh – Off-grid Message Communicator
No matter how advanced a smartphone is, its signal is dependent on the range of cell towers. So if you bring along your phone and there’s little or no signal at all, you might as well use two tin cans and string to communicate. With the goTenna Mesh Off-grid Message Communicator you can send and receive signals as radio relays. Users connect to the device using Bluetooth and the device broadcasts the message through a UHF radio transmitter. The message is relayed to other Mesh units until it reaches its destination. Of course, the system depends on other people with other Mesh units for the relay.
SunnyBag Leaf+ – Hybrid solar system
Campers and hikers will always be prone to power shortages. Batteries may suffice for a flashlight, but what if you need to check your phone after some days in the wilderness? The SunnyBag Leaf+ is comprised of silicon solar cells, is lightweight (198g), and flexible, gathering charge as you carry it throughout the day like a backpack. Equipped with Lightning and Mini USB ports, the Leaf+ can charge a variety of popular devices. It is definitely a project to keep an eye on if you love the great outdoors.
Zero Breeze – Portable Air Conditioner
Sunny days are perfect for the outdoors like hiking or camping, until the heat becomes sweltering. For those who want to enjoy a nice outdoor adventurous day without sweating out and virtually drying out, the Zero Breeze may be the coolest gadget around. The Zero Breeze is a relatively lightweight (14 pounds) portable air-conditioner you can use outdoors or in tents, cabins, or anywhere you’ll need it, making even the hottest day bearable. The creators assert that the device can cool a 50 square foot room down to 44 degrees Fahrenheit. The battery lasts up to five hours, and keeping you cool is not all the Zero Breeze does. It has two USB charging ports, so you can charge your phone or tablet, an LED light to illuminate a cabin or tent at night, and a Bluetooth speaker. The Zero Breeze seems like an incredible tool for those who plan to do any hiking or camping in hot climates.
EarDial – Smart Earplugs
Live music is thrilling until you leave the concert after two hours and hear that ringing in your ears. We all know that overexposure to constant load noise may cause auditory damage. Given how many concerts and clubs have music playing well above safe levels, earplugs are a necessity to prevent hearing loss. But while earplugs lessen down the sound of loud music, you can’t carry on a conversation. EarDials are smart earplugs designed to fit comfortably and stealthily in your ears, filtering out harmful noise without blocking all sound. Made of transparent silicone, the earplugs blend in with your skin, and are soft enough for extended use. The makers of EarDial claim that the plugs contain a high-fidelity noise filter that will keep out harmful levels of noise while letting you hear clearly. The device also comes with a companion app for smartphones that will give you a decibel rating for the noise around you.