Awesome Stuff: Stuff You Didn't Know You Need

from the probably-because-you-don't dept

We’ve been doing the Techdirt awesome stuff posts for a while now: highlighting between two and four crowdfunding projects each week that are demonstrating interesting, unique and (yes, sometimes) awesome new products that people are trying to get made. This week’s list might be slightly less awesome. Given that it’s Thanksgiving weekend, and there’s a lot of unbridled consumerism going on, I figured I’d highlight a few projects that fall into “stuff you didn’t know you need… probably because you don’t” category. These are more projects that made me go: “huh? someone actually needs that?” Perhaps they do for some people, but these didn’t seem to solve any particular need that I, or pretty much anyone I know, actually has.

  • I know that some people like to listen to music in the shower. Hell, it appears some people would like practically all of their electronics in their shower. A few years ago, I came across this shower for sale, which includes built in (among other things) an LCD TV, an MP3 player, a foot massager, a touch control panel and a variety of other things. Add in a waterproof keyboard and someone could make it their office as well as a shower. That seems like overkill. Frankly, any music in the shower seems like overkill, but someone’s set up a Kickstarter project for the S.A.S.S. – Smartphone Acoustic Shower Speaker, which appears to be a plastic case for your mobile phone, so you can take it into the shower to play music while you rinse (and sing) away the dirt. If you really want to listen to music, though, is it that difficult to just leave your phone outside of where the water is?
    It looks like this project just launched recently, as there’s still about a month and a half to go, but so far it still has a ways to go to reach its $7,000 target. Perhaps I’m not the only one who is left wondering why people need such a thing.
  • Then we’ve got the Loo Hook. I agree that sometimes it’s nice to have a hook in a bathroom stall to hang up a backpack or jacket. But… I’ve also found that a very large percentage of the time when I need such a thing, there already is a hook there. Even when it’s not, I’ve found that the latch usually does a perfectly fine job as a substitute. Thus, I’m scratching my head over how often you’d need such a random extra hook that you’d want to carry it around all the time with you.
    Oh, and then there’s the bit I left out: it’ll run you $45. I could maybe see this as a $5 gag gift. $45? Wow. This project has a long way to go to reach its $5,000 goal, and I’m doubtful it’ll make it.
  • Finally, we’ve got the Sleep Easy, a sleep mask that wraps around the back of whatever car/airplane/etc. chair you’re sitting in to not just cover your eyes, but also to keep your head upright. Of course, if you’re going to wear this on a plane (which seems like the most reasonable place to use it), I imagine the person sitting behind you might not be so appreciative. In the FAQ they claim that they’ve tried to design it to not be a problem for the person behind you, but it definitely would depend pretty heavily on the plane in question.
    There are at least some people who seem interested in this project, but it’s still only about a third of the way to its £5,000 goal with a week and a half to go. Chances are this one won’t hit the threshold either.

I’m somewhat amazed at the kind of human creativity that comes up with these kinds of things. Even if I find them a bit wacky and (to me) unnecessary, there’s something kind of cool about living in a world where someone finds a unique problem that they themselves have, and decide to solve it. This is actually where Kickstarter is pretty incredible as a market research platform. As we’ve noted in the past, not hitting your target shouldn’t be seen as a “failure” on Kickstarter, as it can help someone avoid throwing a ton of money into manufacturing a product when there really isn’t that much demand. Making tens of thousands of something only to later find out there’s no demand would be a much bigger “failure.”

Separately, we won’t have a “Techdirt favorites of the week” post this week. Since it was a short week with the holiday, we figured we might as well skip the feature this week. We’ll still be back tomorrow with the best comments of the week though.

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Comments on “Awesome Stuff: Stuff You Didn't Know You Need”

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Christenson says:

Sleep EZ maybe, LooHook at Lowe's and Walmart

Over-the door hooks are generally available in housewares departments. There are a number of them around my house on closet doors, and I installed one at work when I kept needing to take my coat off in the bathroom. So, common problem, the carbon fiber version is the only solution not available in stores.

Sleep EZ certainly resolves a problem, might be a lot more comfortable than a neck brace, but I don’t understand why someone wouldn’t just sew a few and offer them for sale.
On the other hand, a stylish chin strap to help keep my mouth closed when I am sleeping would be a winner with me for about 10 dollars US.

Anonymous Coward says:

What I really need in the bathroom is a way to not have to clean it and somehow process the waste to become something else.

I know that urine can become nitrogen fertilizer, phosphorous and some other compounds, feces can be mined for minerals and metals(e.g. Fe) and become burning fuel, but those things are not mature enough to hit the everyday people, there are little problems with it.

Anyways I just thought of a toilet that doesn’t need flushing, pardon the rough idea, but it would have a bowl not to store anything but serve as a seat and support form for a fabric that would be hydrophobic and antibacterial that would grow on one end and wrap the waste on the other. more or less like packaging machines work so the waste would decompose inside a package that itself would decompose. You seat on top of the fabric so it would be always clean or that is the hope and when you are done you push a button or a crank and make the fabric envelop the waste and move forward to a storage place where it can decompose or be processed further.

Can you imagine not having to fear seating somewhere because you don’t know what is lurking in there?

For a visual guide on how to clean your hands you would put your hands inside a bright colored antimicrobial gel and wash your hands as usual, there could be a little uv light on the faucet so it could make bacteria in your hands glow, so you know where to clean.

Those are just dreams, although possible they remain dreams and I make no claims to the usability aspect of it at all, I just thought it was going to be cool to have those things.

Another things I was thinking about was a wall or curtain the constantly grows, inspired by the flat knitting machines I saw elsewhere like this one.

Would it be nice to just trim your wall to keep it clean and nice? or have it change colors according to the season your are in? or have curtains that seem to be alive?
Of course that means miniaturizing the parts of that machine, or hidding it inside a wall or faux wall.

Imagine the conversations you could have about that, “I will get a new t-shirt soon I am just waiting the wall to grow a little bigger to cut it to size” 🙂

BTW the airplane morphing chair concept is based on a hammock and fabric.

I just thought that if the fabric could grow somehow it would be awesome.

Ok I’ll stop now.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Are you sure?

Many soil bacteria possess the enzyme urease, which catalyzes the conversion of the urea molecule to two ammonia molecules and one carbon dioxide molecule, thus urea fertilizers are very rapidly transformed to the ammonium form in soils.

Wikipedia: Urea

Urine is an aqueous solution of greater than 95% water, with the remaining constituents, in order of decreasing concentration urea 9.3 g/L, chloride 1.87 g/L, sodium 1.17 g/L, potassium 0.750 g/L, creatinine 0.670 g/L and other dissolved ions, inorganic and organic compounds.

Wikipedia: Urine

Elemental Phosphorous from urine needs to be made from the phosphates present in urine or does it happen naturally?
– Ancient White Phosphorous recipe.

Nitrates can be extracted directly I suppose.
See also Saltpeter aka saltpetre

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