When Tech Development Goes Public: From Wondrous to Wacky

Kickstarter and Indiegogo are one of those things about life today that would seem a fantasy even a decade ago. A voluntarily funded project, which usually involve a trinket with a very specific use no manufacturer bothered to create, has become a path for many thinkers and inventors to realize their vision. It’s a welcome development in technology progression, giving reach and funding to individuals who may have ideas that are generally purposeful or just entertaining.

Baubax is one of the most successful Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects ever, raising $9.192 million and $2 million on 2015 respectively. The company focuses on making immensely useful travel jackets, so useful that you actually doubt if one jacket can really do everything Baubax claims it can do (or store, more like). Coolest Cooler,

Kickstarter and Indiegogo
Source: Medium

another wildly successful Kickstarter project, creates an obviously overpriced average cooler with features like a blender, bottle opener, a speaker, a USB charger, and a stroller feature. It’s useful enough for wanna-be adventurers who have places to go every weekend, and the reviews do say that the Coolest Cooler does what it promises.

These are only two of the countless Kickstarter and Indiegogo products you can buy now, and there are many others that you can support. To help you navigate the continuingly deep world of indie projects, here’s an overview of what’s wondrous and wacky.

 

The Wondrous

Wireless chargers are amazing, scientifically speaking. A power transfer through electromagnetism and not bogged into cables is what witchcraft looks like in close-up. They are getting better year after year as the tech is becoming more popular, but it’s still a step or two away from realizing its true worth. Archon Charging aims to take the next step in wireless changing, aiming to provide invisible wireless charging. They are promising to make wireless chargers you can stick below your desk, or any thick surface. It’s a way to declutter desks, usually with a splatter of other gadgets, a keyboard and mouse, pens, iPads, and more. It still has some ways to go before shipping the products to its supporters, but this is an invention that could go big considering that wireless charging will only become more popular after every smartphone release.

The Rover Speed aims to solve the problem (really?) of lugging your bags while traveling. If you’re thinking about the 90Fun Puppy 1 or the Ovis suitcase, then yes, the Rover Speed isn’t a new idea. But where most autonomous suitcases use lithium-ion battery backs, which are banned in airports, the Rover Speed uses a TSA-approved battery pack. In addition, there’s an array on sensors around the bag that will ensure that the bag follows you and not search for a new owner. It also has alarms, in case of theft or when the bag is too far from you. This will only grow as autonomous technology grows, and it’s actually realistic to see an airport where these moving bags share the floor like people.

Not all projects are hoping to make autonomous or app-based, however, as the Every Day Calendar aims to help people track progress through a physical, lit-up board. It has all the days in each month, uses capacitive touch so you can press each day where you accomplished your goal. Whether it’s an office project, a miles jogged total, or consecutive days you ate vegetables, every illuminated day acts as a physical reward and another step taken to your goal. We need more of these things so we’re not completely dependent on our smartphones for tracking our lives.

The Wacky

For every ten brilliant indie projects, though, there’s probably 30 to 40 ideas that aren’t just up to scratch. Wacky, even, because these things don’t really address a need as much as it aims to satisfy the 10 people looking for the exact product these startups want to create.

Aqua Drew
Source: Digital Trends

One of these products is the Aqua Dew, an Alexa shower speaker. It’s a “powerful, splashproof speaker” to hang on to your towel hanger. It’s not exactly clear what need this product is trying to meet, but it did meet its funding goal and will start delivery on March next year. You have to wonder what this speaker can do that a smartphone with a built-in mic and assistant, or even a smart speaker (that are already available right now), can’t do. Maybe it’s the IP rating?

You ever wondered what’s better than an illuminated vest? An actually luminous jacket, maybe? Possibly in leather with some light strips on it? Well, that’s what the Raylier is trying to be. It wants to save more bikers’ lives, many of which apparently due to regular leather jackets, by attaching small LED lights on certain areas of the garment. For people who have a reputation for being cool in the face of head-on danger, this seems backwards. Also, aren’t add-on motorcycle lights cheaper and more luminous than this jacket?

Inflatable Travel Jumpsuit
Source: Kickstarter

Another invention marketed for travelers again, the Inflatable Travel Jumpsuit allows everyone to bring the comfort of traveling first-class everywhere. If your first question is about the “inflatable” part, it will obviously be followed by questions about the “jumpsuit” part, then onto the comfort angle. It’s sort of a Baubax jacket in its utility, but for the whole body. It’s questionable who would want this, as one would look like a discount Batman traveling in economy wearing this jumpsuit. It even comes with a head stabilizer, which is a highly stretchable sleeping mask aimed to keep you upright while counting sheep. Adversely, their promos aren’t even about bringing the amenity of first-class to gen pop, they’re just about putting your inflatable hood (and feet) up and sleeping anywhere. It’s like an unfashionable way for people who travel a lot, and don’t have a lot of time to, get that valuable sleep anywhere. Well, at least we know how Batman would look like if he started poor.

In an attempt to go further niche, Hover 2 wants you to have an auto-follow drone to take your selfies. What’s curious about this one, which is exactly not the product as there are so many drones already available now, is that this is a sector that oversaturates itself even more after reaching a point where there’s nothing more to squeeze out of drones. Can you imagine a world with AI-powered drones just following their users to take their photos? Idyllic and narcissistic.

For however wayward these inventions get, I would still choose to live in this world where inventors are everywhere. While it’s becoming easier to envision a privately-run future due to the uncertain times we live in now, these projects show that people can still make other people’s lives better. If not better, then certainly more attuned to their needs.

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