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
    Leigh Beadon (profile), 21 Mar 2015 @ 11:13am

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

    Do you not see the contradiction inherent in what you say?

    In one breath, you say that Kickstarter basically does nothing, is useless, is bad at its job, requires no work, etc. In the next, you say that it's the only way for small creators to get funding and make something a reality.

    So, if Kickstarter sucks so much, why is it the only way? Why are there not lots and lots of equally popular alternatives? Why is it so advantageous and unique for creators? If Kickstarter's cut is so ridiculous and unfair, why aren't there a bunch of other sites offering the same service without taking a cut?

    Like it or not, Kickstarter provides a really good platform that a lot of people find great to use. I don't see what it is that you think is so poor about what they do. And honestly, it does not seem to be overrun with "scams" — anyone who says that is, at best, lumping together a couple genuine (and rarely successful) attempts at scams with a bunch of other projects that simply failed or didn't go according to plan.

    It has been my experience — and it's my guess with the people who immediately start complaining about KS in these comments, including you — that they are primarily motivated by one or two personal disappointments. I've seen the rage that Kickstarter failures bring (I've even succumbed to it on a couple of occasions) but translating it into accusing the whole operation of being a complicit den of thieves seems counterproductive.

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