Awesome Stuff: Tinkerer Tech

For this week's awesome stuff, we've got an assortment of technological tidbits for folks who like the customizable, the utilitarian, and the scientific.

Trickey: Any Key, Anwhere

For all the huge variety of input devices on the market, there is a surprising dearth of truly customizable ones. Some gamer's keyboards have settings and configurations and maybe a few modular pieces, but Trickey takes things to new level with a very simple idea: building the function for each key into the key itself, rather than into the board it connects to. This way, rearranging your input is as simple as popping out keys and plugging them in where you want them. It's a great idea that definitely has applications for gaming and a wide variety of design and creative tasks that use special software, but its one big drawback is the expense: unless the relatively small modular units can be brought down in price, building anything more than a simple four- or five-key custom interface is probably more than most people will want to shell out for.

The PocketLab

Smartphones have put a wide variety of advanced sensors into everyone's pocket, but as useful as this is, there are limits based on the fact that you usually want to keep your phone close and not put it in a great deal of danger. The PocketLab offloads these sensors — a barometer, accelerometer, thermometer, magnetometer and gyroscope — into a rugged standalone unit that communicates with your phone and the cloud. Now the readings-curious can strap it to a rocket, toss it off a cliff or subject it to whatever other abuse seems likely to produce some interesting data.

VIS: Useful Power

USB power banks are everywhere these days, with little to distinguish them other than price and capacity. But the creators of VIS realized that a portable battery can have all sorts of additional uses beyond charging your devices, and built them into a slick-looking unit. The VIS serves as a flashlight, and emergency lantern and — in an inspired bit of design that suddenly feels obvious — a jumpstarter for your car with the included jumper-cable attachment.

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Filed Under: awesome stuff, keyboard, power, sensors, usb


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  1. icon
    Max (profile), 21 Mar 2015 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: And for making a web-site, Kickstarter rakes off TEN PERCENT!

    Ehh, well, yes and no. On the one hand, there's not much that a disgruntled backer presently can do other that not using the service, and Kickstarter's rather infuriating "all we care about is us getting our cut (for running a bloody webserver - exceedingly poorly) and absolutely nothing else: pay up and shut up or go away" current attitude really doesn't help things.

    On the other hand, Kickstarter really is the only place where anything non-mainstream can hope to come into existence, so once one experienced the thrill of assisting to the birth of something that one wants but could otherwise not hope to get, it's rather hard to just turn your back to it on principle. That, however does not mean one is looking to get ripped off - and not every scam is obviously detectable.

    Ultimately, it's still early days for crowd-funding, but more accountability in some form is definitely needed. I don't know what the future of crowdfunding is, but I do know one thing with 100% certainty: Kickstarter IN ITS CURRENT FORM ISN'T IT. Perhaps they can ponder that for a while, or see someone else eat their lunch, soon enough.

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