Innovation is usually portrayed as coming from the top. In these stories, grand dreams of an electrically-powered and neurally-linked future trickle out of the mind of titans like Elon Musk and to the wider public who lap it up.
Truth is, the vast majority of innovation is much more subtle than that. And you don’t need to look too far, either: crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo serve as convenient peeks into the minds of the creative masses — the thinkers, inventors and tinkerers — who think up the next big hits every single day.
This was no exception. Below are five of the most interesting crowdfunding campaigns of April 2017, right from the hallowed halls of The Menlo House.
121C ARC AILERON
When it comes to electrical transportation, the hot topic is certainly cars. But there are a wide array of smaller projects offering all types of alternatives. The 121C Arc Aileron is one of them. While there have been many electric skateboards offered on sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo over the past few years, this one breaks the mold by offering a fully carbon fiber construction for an incredibly lightweight ride at just 9.5lbs. Combined with its 1815W motor, it can reach a top of speed of 22mph — all handled by a remote control, to boot. With the 121C Arc Aileron, getting to work has never been easier.
True real-time translation has been the holy grail of technology and sci-fi enthusiasts for decades. With Travis, that long-awaited dream might just be reality. The team behind it claims the tiny device can translate 80 different languages at the touch of a button. If its as effective as advertised, it would represent a revolution in the field. The addition of noise-cancelling technology, AI learning capabilities and a 12-hour battery round out what promises to be a highly exciting product should it come through.
Traveling is a hassle — there’s no doubt about it. The proper luggage, though, can make all the difference. The Ready carry-on is aiming to be that go-to choice for stylish travelers with its minimally-designed, extremely tough frame made with aircraft grade aluminum and polycarbonate. With this choice of materials, not only does it look the part, it plays it too. A built-in scale and power bank rounds out the simply constructed but essentially designed Ready, making it a companion to consider for your next trip.
When classic Italian craftsmanship meets 21st century tech, the Solar Wallet results. This beautiful bi-fold wallet manages to stay svelte despite packing a solar panel and a 1500mAh power bank to charge devices with. No more heartbreak at realizing your device is on death’s door the moment you step out of yours: the Solar Wallet can provide 10 hours of energy so you can keep making moves. Sleek, stylish, and utilitarian, the Solar Wallet is worth keeping an eye out for.
If you’re like most people, you’re carrying something pretty much all the time: a laptop, a book or two, a power bank — the list is varied and can go on. These demands shift, though, and that small backpack suddenly doesn’t cut it when you’re about to check out at the supermarket, for instance. That’s where the HYBE comes in, a 5-in-1 that flexibly changes between being a tote, a sling, a duffle, and an all-purpose storage bag on the fly, with up to 60L of capacity depending on its configuration. The fifth mode? A lumber-supporting lay-bed to chill out after carrying around all that stuff, you workhorse!