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 there’s no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there – alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the Pebble clones and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects out there this week. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.
Fuffr — Multitouch extender case
In case you haven’t noticed, smartphone screens keep getting bigger and bigger with each passing week. Hell, we even had to create the word “phablet” because many of them are now so large that we’re not entirely sure if we should call them phones or tablets. Most of us like the idea of having a lot of screen real estate to work with, but hate the idea of lugging around a phone that’s too massive to fit inside a pocket or hold comfortably in our hands. Fuffr offers a solution to this problem. Instead of extending your screen physically, this clever little case uses embedded sensors to extend the bounds of your screen virtually. With this thing clipped onto your phone, you set it on top of any flat surface and manipulate the screen by touching the area around it. We’re not entirely sure what something like this could be used for, but it’s definitely pretty cool, and we’d love to see what kinds of crazy applications people think up for it in the future.
Pantelligent — Smart frying pan
On the outside, Pantelligent looks and feels just like any other frying pan — but under the hood it’s got a few tricks that make it smarter than your average skillet. In addition to a temperature sensor embedded in the center of the pan, Pantelligent is also equipped with a Bluetooth LE radio in the handle, so it can relay temperature data to your phone or tablet. Once you’re all synced up, the pan’s accompanying mobile app can tell you how hot the pan is, how hot it should be, and even let you know when it’s time to add ingredients, stir, or flip. All you’ve got to do is follow the alerts and adjust the heat of your stove as directed. Pantelligent’s software knows the ideal cooking times and temperatures for a myriad of different foods, so as long as you can follow directions, you’ll end up with a perfectly cooked dish every time.
Coffeeboxx — All-terrain coffeemaker
Designed primarily for use on construction sites, the Coffeeboxx was built to be “crush-proof, dust-proof, spill-proof, rust-proof, water resistant, [and] impact resistant.” Don’t believe it? Check out the video on the Kickstarter page. The Oxx team proves its brewer is spill-proof by tossing it in the back of a pickup and letting it slide around the bed as they skid through turns. Then they put it through a small explosion, and even go so far as to park a Jeep Wrangler atop four Coffeeboxxes — and the machines still come out completely unscathed, thanks their hardy construction and impact-resistant polymers. Necessary? Probably not if you work within spitting distance of a coffee shop. But if your jobsites are typically out in the boonies, miles away from the nearest Starbucks, then something like Coffeboxx might actually a worthwhile investment.
Lunar Mission One — Privately-funded moon mission
This project has an undeniably ambitious (and awesome) goal. If it manages to meet its $600,000 funding goal before December, Lunar Missions LTD will embark on a mission to send an unmanned drilling module to the south pole of the moon in 2024. The module will then attempt to drill down to a depth of at least 20 meters — ten times deeper than any previous mission has ever drilled before — and potentially as deep as 100 meters. To help the campaign meet it’s lofty funding goal, Lunar Missions LTD has devised a brilliant way to incentivize pledges: They’ll place a time capsule in the borehole, and in exchange for a monetary donation, those who pledge their support will be allowed to place anything they want on the time capsule — within certain limits, of course. Check out our full post on the mission to learn more about the mission’s objectives, and the backer rewards Lunar Missions LTD is offering.
Trunkster — Zipperless smart suitcase
If recent trends in the crowdfunding scene are any indication, “smart” luggage is the next big thing in travel gear. Following in the footsteps of the recently-announced BlueSmart suitcase, Trunkster is yet another smart luggage design — although this one has a slightly different approach to the same idea. Instead of a zipper, Trunkster features a durable polycarbonate rolltop door, allowing fast and easy access to your belongings. It’s also outfitted with a built-in scale in the handle to take the guesswork out of weighing your gear, as well as integrated GPS transceivers that let you know the whereabouts of your suitcase at any given moment. If you should ever be separated from Trunkster, you can just fire up the accompanying smartphone app and follow the on-screen map to track it down. No more spending your holiday at the airport trying to get back your lost belongings!