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December 24, 2017

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Tiny selfie drones, smart toilet seats, and more

by John_A

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 no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there — alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the fidget spinners and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Geekey — keychain multitool

We love the idea behind everyday carry kits, but finding the right balance between compact and useful is often easier said than done. Most people turn to multitools, but if you’ve ever carried one of those things, you’ve probably found that they’re filled with unnecessary tools that never get used. And then there’s the bulk. They feel heavy in your pocket, but you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing a holster, so you usually don’t have much of a choice. But what if there was a better way? What if you could carry around a bunch of tools without adding a bunch of unnecessary bulk to your kit?

Enter the Geekey ultra-minimalist multitool. Made from tough 17-4 stainless steel and shaped like a slightly oversized key, the Geekey includes 16 different tools, all of which have been cleverly embedded into its compact design. It includes a bottle opener, can opener, bike spoke key, multiple screwdrivers, both open and closed wrenches, and a serrated edge for cutting through rope or other small items. There’s also a bit driver, wire stripper/bender, ruler, file, and a scoring tip designed to slice through thicker materials like zip ties or clamshell packaging.

Guitar-Jo — banjo adapter for guitars

One night, Jon Langberg (the creator of Guitar-Jo) was preparing electric guitar accompaniments for his church band, and there was one song in particular that he thought really needed a banjo. “He had never played one before and couldn’t afford to buy and learn a whole new instrument with a timeframe of one week,” the Guitar-Jo Kickstarter page explains. “He searched for digital effects patches that he could input into his multi-effects processor, and when he could not find any, tried creating his own patches.”

“After tinkering around and researching online for some time, he found out that digital effects fell drastically short and would not suffice. The only thing that seemed to somewhat work was placing a cloth underneath his guitar strings. [But] he needed to create something more practical and consistent that could be used in a live performance setting, so he drew up some plans and used his uncle’s workshop to create it.” A few months and a half dozen prototypes later, the Guitar-Jo was born.

Pitta — ultracompact selfie drone

“It all really started from a personal frustration,”  J.B. Hwang, co-founder of manufacturer Eyedea, Inc, told Digital Trends, on what drove him to create the Pitta drone. “I was a fairly heavy GoPro user, and action cameras with mounts and rigs were something I always carried with me. Naturally, I wanted more diversified clips and started to get my hands on drones. When I tried out handful number of drones, the operation process was not friendly to first-time pilots. Even after I got the basic sense of controlling a drone, I wasn’t able to capture the footage that I desired. All I really wanted was an easy-to-fly drone that would not require hours of training.”

The fruit of Hwang’s labor is the Pitta drone — a palm-sized spherical drone that moonlights as an action cam. Resembling a high-tech version of the “golden snitch” from Harry Potter, Pitta boasts a nifty modular design that gives it several interesting use cases. Whether you want to mount it on your bike like a GoPro or take it aerial, Pitta is a complete video capture system packaged into a single device — with a modular snap-and-twist-to-lock design that lets you easily switch between modes.

Slim Two — smart toilet seat

You know all that talk about paperless offices? Imagine if you could take the same idea to your bathroom. No, we’re not talking about checking your emails on the toilet (because nobody does that, right?), but rather an alternative solution to wiping your butt with reams of toilet paper. Specifically, we’re talking about a smart, water-spraying bidet, called the Slim Two, that sits on top of your existing seat. It’s like buying the worlds fanciest bidet — but without all the hassle of remodeling your throne room and hiring a plumber to install it for you.

To make this possible, the Swash uses a retractable, adjustable, self-sterilizing spray nozzle — complete with customizable water temperatures, water pressures, and spray widths. The seat also offers a warm-air dryer, deodorizer, heated seat, and even a soothing night light with cool blue hue for those midnight trips to the bathroom. On top of that, users also get a remote control that lets two people customize their settings. Arguably the best feature, however, is the device’s streamlined design, which doesn’t feature visible wires or a hose — or look like you’ve jammed a bulky smart seat on top of your existing toilet.

Caply — wearable action cam

Action cameras have come a long way since the first GoPro hit the market back in 2006. In addition to shrinking in size, they’ve also managed to pack in more features and functionality. Take Caply, for example. No larger than a tube of lipstick and yet capable of continuously recording more than five hours of video, Caply is the latest incarnation of the ongoing evolutionary saga of the action cam genre. It’s also wearable, which means you can clip it onto your pack, your hat, or just about anywhere else with a good vantage point, and let the little camera do the rest.

“Designed to go the distance and accompany you on all of life’s adventures,” as per Caply’s Kickstarter page, the wearable device claims a custom battery design that allows the device to last up to five hours on non-stop record, 24 hours on time-lapse record, and 120 hours on standby mode. Moreover, Caply allegedly boasts 128GB of onboard storage capacity, so even if you’re going on a long trip, you can take quite a few photos or record quite a bit of video footage. Good luck sifting through all of it when it comes time to edit, though!

Editors’ Recommendations

  • Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Tiny phones, trippy LED masks, and more
  • Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Folding helmets and emojis for your car
  • Turn your toilet into a bidet with the Slim Two Smart Toilet Seat
  • Pitta is a palm-sized drone that moonlights as an action cam and security system
  • The 50 best albums of 2017

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