This week, we've got three new crowdfunded products that let you monitor things in new ways — two that provide data you've likely never had access to before, and a third that takes webcams to the next level.
Fitness and workout metrics are among the prime areas where smart technology can deliver something new and truly useful to lots of people. From FitBit to Nike+, there are a variety of sensors and monitors out there for the fitness enthusiast — but Enflux Smart Clothing wraps all sorts of stuff into one form-fitting full-body package. The Enflux suit has two major sensor modules and 10 motion sensors in total, allowing it to not only track and store a huge amount of workout data, but to actually build a full 3D avatar so you can watch your own workout. This enables you to do things like watch your form and motion with an overlay of the ideal form and motion, or even have the app call out tips and cues during the workout like a human trainer would.
What Enflux does for exercisers, the BRAIN One does for motorcyclists. Just as the best athletes in the world have trainers and technology at their back, so do the world's motorsports champions, because nobody gets to be the best without metrics that help them understand their own failings and improve. BRAIN One is a standalone telemetry device that attaches easily to any motorcycle and starts collecting key performance data with a bunch of sensors, most notably a 9-axis inertia sensor that watches your handling of turns and bends. It communicates with your smartphone, and even integrates with GoPro and other action cameras for additional capabilities, like challenging your friends to asynchronous races and creating videos of your results overlaid with performance data. It also has an open API and is designed to be extendable to other types of vehicles with a little configuration and coding — and it does all this at a fraction of what professional telemetry devices cost.
Just in case you're not a fitness buff or an avid motorcyclist, here's a device for everyone (or at least, everyone with access to Google Cardboard or, better still, a headset like the Oculus Rift). The WebEye VR claims to be the first virtual reality webcam, and while I can't entirely confirm this, it's clearly an early entrant in the field. Its biggest application is obviously video chatting, which could be bumped to a whole new immersive level with VR technology, but I suspect it'll also find use for things from home monitoring to VR content creation. It's got some solid specs: two full-HD cameras delivering a 160-degree field of view in full stereoscopic 3D, at a price that's pretty much on par with a pair of high-end normal HD webcams. There are demo videos and live broadcasts for those who want to see how it performs, and one of the creators has even made himself available for live one-on-one demo calls with potential backers.