This week in gadgets news, we have the Swiss Army knife of outerwear, a squeezable stylus, a new contender to the GoPro throne, a PlayStation 4 mod with a droid makeover, and a needy huggable toaster.
It’s a been a strong week for gadgets on Kickstarter, with some products already well over their funding target and set for a full-scale release, while others are still starting out on the hopeful road to crowdfunding success.
Let’s start with this week’s biggest crowdfunding success story: the BauBax jacket.
The BauBax jacket has everything you need in outerwear and more
Dubbed the ‘Swiss Army Knife of travel wear’ by CNN Money, the BauBax jacket has become the most-funded fashion item in crowdfunding history having reached more than US$2.5m with more than a month still to go in its Kickstarter campaign.
BauBax started with a modest target of US$20,000, but more than 15,000 backers have signed up to support some outerwear fitted with all the functionality a modern person needs.
There are 15 features packed into the BauBax jacket, which comes in four different styles: a jersey hoodie, a windbreaker, a bomber or a blazer.
Designed for travellers, the jacket has a detachable neck pillow that inflates in two seconds and decreases with one press, plus an eye mask in the hood so you can really rest easy. There’s also a blanket pocket, which will be supplied with a tightly packed BauBax blanket for an extra US$25, plus an outer breast pocket perfectly sized to hold your passport.
An inner breast pocket is designed to carry your smartphone in a convenient position for the jacket’s earphone holders, which keep your earphones untangled and ready for use. If battery power is a problem, there’s also a portable charger pocket up one sleeve.
For cold days, the BauBax jacket has multi-layered outer pockets to warm your hands in, or you can pull down the cuffs and hook your thumbs into them for some makeshift gloves. And if the sun comes out, don’t take your jacket off before you’ve retrieved your sunglasses from their designated pocket and given them a cleaning with the built-in microfibre cloth.
Another breast pocket is insulated with neoprene to keep warm or cold drinks at the desired temperature and a much larger inner pocket is designed to fit a 10-inch tablet. If you find you’ve lost the stylus for that tablet, fret not, because the BauBax jacket zipper detaches and can be used as both a stylus and a pen.
That’s right: in this jacket, you are basically James Bond.
The special offer of US$99 to be James BauBax has sold out, but there are other early-bird offers still available and the jacket is expected to retail at US$160.
Squeezable Scriba stylus seeks Kickstarter backing
Despite all our technological advances, putting stylus to touchscreen still doesn’t quite measure up to putting pen to paper, and that’s a challenge some hardware makers are tackling head on.
Dublin Design Studio is one of them and its first product, Scriba, is meant to be more than just the evolution of the pen.
This uniquely-shaped stylus has been designed around the natural movements of the hand and responds to squeezes from the user to add weight to the lines being drawn. Users can also fix the line weight with a smart lock feature and an illuminated ring at the base lets the user know it’s all working as it should be.
Scriba has a micro-USB charging port at its base and a battery life of six months in stand-by mode or 35 hours with continuous use. The flexible body is crafted from a single mould of high-quality polymer, with soft silicone grips for tactile touch points.
The project is live on Kickstarter seeking €65,000 by 12 August, tempting backers with a limited early-bird offer of €65, or €75 when this runs out. If the makers reach their goal, shipping of the device will follow in December.
Z’s E1 targets GoPro market with tiny interchangeable lens camera
Camera-makers Z brought its latest product to Kickstarter not to fund development but to introduce the brand and product to the world, and prompt pre-orders for backers seeking cutting-edge gadgets.
The ploy worked and Z’s E1 camera has far overshot its US$42,000 crowdfunding target with more than US$250,000 pledged and counting.
The E1 claims to be the world’s smallest 4K camera with an interchangeable lens system. Many of these backers have benefited from an early-bird price of US$449 while the product is set to retail for US$699.
This tiny micro four-thirds camera is compatible with Olympus, Panasonic Lumix, Leica and Sigma lenses. Targeting video makers and GoPro fans, no doubt, the E1 is built to shoot 4K video at 24fps and can be mounted to tripods, drones or whatever your poison.
Proprietary Android and iOS apps offer control, livestreaming and content management via a Wi-Fi or Bluetooth-connected device. Users can even remotely power the E1 from standby mode, controlling and triggering the camera without physical contact from the get-go.
E1 cameras start shipping worldwide to backers in November and December, paving the way for a probable retail release in 2016.
Get toast and warm feelings from a huggable toaster
Royal College of Art (RCA) graduate Ted Wiles created a toaster that wants — nay, needs — to be loved.
Wiles’ Hugging Toaster is covered in red felt and packed with sensors that respond to pressure. Thus, you won’t get toast unless you hold the appliance close to you in an embrace for the required cooking time.
“It is a very needy toaster,” Wiles told Dezeen. “It feels warm when you hug it — that’s why it’s red, for feelings of warmth, love and comfort.”
Hugging a toaster might seem silly, but it would certainly leave you feeling warm on the outside and Wiles intends that the sensation would also increase the levels of dopamine and serotonin in the brain and reduce the heart rate, so you might just feel warm on the inside, too. Plus you’ll get a slice of fresh-cooked toast out of it.
The Hugging Toaster is part of Wiles’ Involuntary Pleasures range, a collection he presented at the RCA’s annual graduate exhibition earlier this summer.
This collection comprised interactive household consumer electronics built to promote happiness and wellbeing, including an alarm clock that only switches off when the user holds two batons aloft in a sign of victory and a telephone that will only allow calls to be made if the user is smiling.
R2-D2 as a portable PlayStation 4
Florida man Ed Zarick builds custom-modified portable video-game consoles and posts his creations to the website EdsJunk.net. His favourite system to work on to date, paying respect to a previous Xbox 360 mod with the same theme, was this R2-D2 Star Wars-themed PlayBook 4.
The PlayBook 4 is a PlayStation 4 laptop mod from Zarick, and this particular version features scaled down parts of the famous Star Wars droid. Zarick even went to the trouble of sourcing R2-D2 sounds for full effect.
About half of the body of the R2-D2 PS4 was 3D printed, including the coloured corners, vents, accents and the decorations on the sides, as well as some important internal components holding the electronics in place.
Zarick used laser-cut acrylic for the rest, including the white surface, and added a red and blue light at the front, which changes colour randomly.
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