Tomorrow’s Tech: Great Crowdfunded Projects

Not all tech visionaries have the financial resources or the connections to handle the materialization of their concepts first hand. However, that doesn’t mean that their ideas shouldn’t get a chance to be turned into real products. Thanks to Kickstarter, Indiegogo and their smaller counterparts, now anyone with an idea and at least a working prototype (see here why that’s so important) can see in a matter of weeks what people think of the product’s viability. Crowdfunding platforms host all sorts of projects, from music albums to potato salads, but it’s rather clear that the technology-related ones are the most numerous.

Below you can read about the most recent ideas that have piqued our interest. Since many of these have already met their funding goal, there’s no doubt that they’ll enter mass production in the near future, and we can’t wait for the day when we’ll see them being used by everyone.

Pilot: The Instant Language Translation Earbud

How would you like to have Douglas Adams’ Babel fish in your pocket? Speaking one or more foreign languages is essential for both business and leisure travelers, as conversations should revolve around more than just 40 icons. But what if you are at a loss for words in such situations? Google Translate might help, but using it is more time-consuming than the following solution.

Waverly Labs’ Pilot, the language translation earbud, uses on a microphone to capture your interlocutor’s replies and translates them in an instant, right into your ear. Using speech recognition and machine translation, this piece of wearable tech could really help people from different countries connect with one another. Besides English, Pilot currently supports Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese, with more languages to be added in the near future. The only concern that I have with this gadget is that I’m not sure it can handle slang. Ya feel me?

Knocki Turns Any Solid Surface Into a Remote Control

Home automation is yet another field that has seen major progress over the past few years. To differentiate themselves, companies working in this industry need to come up with unique solutions, even if it’s the same need that they’re addressing. Knocki, the gadget in question, doesn’t have a single function, and yet it serves a single purpose, as it enables you to control many smart home devices using knocking patterns.

Need to turn on the light? Knock once on any side of the object Knocki’s attached to! Want to let your friends in when you’re not at home? Teach them the secret knock that opens your smart lock-equipped door. Probably the best thing is that you can customize each of the patterns, and since you can save up to 10 gestures you’ll have access to plenty of connected devices.

SpeedX Leopard Is the Smartest Bike Yet

In the not-so-distant future we’ll all commute and travel on short distances either by self-driving electric cars or by smart bikes (even though human-carrying drones sound like a plausible alternative, too), so why not have a glimpse at what the two-wheeled vehicles might look like in the future? Is it enough to attach a display to a bike to call it smart? The makers of the SpeedX Leopard think that it takes a lot more than that.

SpeedX Leopard changes the concept of smart road bike from the very foundation, as it packs a 1.2 kg carbon fibre frame backed by a lifetime warranty. Add to that the smart performance tracking technologies that monitor everything from lap times, distance and speed via GPS to power, cadence, heart rate, altitude and calories using 12 built-in sensors. All of this data gets centralized on the XCoach platform. The backers of this project had several different versions to choose from, depending on the brakes, tyres, crankset, and yet, the price remained quite accessible. Considering how much professional bikes get to cost, it’s quite a relief to learn that a smart one can be priced competitively. That’s true to most crowdfunded gadgets, as they typically cost less or at most the same with their traditional alternatives. That, supposing that the device is not completely unique and that there are alternatives, in the first place.

At the time of writing, the first two crowdfunded projects presented above were still active on their respective platforms, so if you liked any of them, feel free to share them with your friends and family, or even back them, if you feel that they could improve your life. One thing is certain, though: crowdfunding is beneficial both for the companies or individuals who need financial aid to bring their ideas to life, and for the end-users of these products, who get involved directly in the materialization of unique concepts.  

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