by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
awesome stuff, travel

Awesome Stuff: Making Travel Better

from the or-just-more-bizarre dept

I've been trying to travel less often these days, but I still do way too much of it. Over the past few years, though, I've become more and more obsessed with perfecting my "travel gear" so that I can do things conveniently on the go. This week's awesome stuff post covers three new crowdfunding projects that attempt (some better than others) to create products for travelers that... are quite different than what's come before. Whether or not you agree that any of these are particularly useful, they're the kinds of ideas that will certainly surprise people.
  • First up is the Aero-Tray -- a foldup stand mainly for laptops to actually make it easier/more convenient to work on airplanes. I'm often my most productive on airplanes, where I can just sit and focus for hours on end, but the cramped quarters and the fear of the person in front of you pushing their seat back (ugh!) can be quite a pain. The Aero-Tray looks like a pretty cool and unique way of trying to tackle that, while also making your "workspace" on a plane more usable. Of course, it doesn't just have to be for airplanes either. I see this as a possible replacement for the current travel laptop stand that I travel with already. They're also promoting this as a way to take a nap, though that looks kind of goofy. (Disclaimer: I've already backed this project myself, even though I'm a bit nervous about the weight and size of the thing -- but the possibility of being more productive on planes is really tempting).
    The project was seeking $23,667 (I have no idea why they chose such an odd number), and passed that relatively quickly. It's a bit over $30,000 with less than a week to go.
  • Speaking of looking goofy during naps, last year, the really wacky "ostrich pillow" which let you stick your head into a giant pillow-like... thing in order to sleep damn well anywhere you please (if you can get over the embarrassment factor) got a ridiculous amount of attention, and ended up raising about $200,000 on Kickstarter. It looks like a gag gift, but apparently it's real. Either way, the folks behind it have now created the Ostrich Pillow Light. Honestly, if there had never been an Ostrich Pillow in the first place, I think most people would think the Ostrich Pillow Light looks insanely goofy. But, when you compare the two, the new Light one looks way less goofy. Thank goodness for relative goofiness. (Disclaimer: I wouldn't want to be caught dead in one of these, no matter how comfy they might be).
    Once again, like last year's project, there appears to be a fair amount of demand for this offering. They had a goal of £25,000 and shot past it. As I write this, it's around £60,000, with more than two weeks to go.
  • Finally, the folks at Triposo, who make travel apps for mobile phones are offering a wacky travel belt. Basically, it's a belt that has little buzzers in four equally spaced places around the belt. You program into your mobile app where it is you want to go... and as you walk around some new city, it'll buzz you to tell you which way to go -- so you don't (1) look like a lost tourist and (2) miss all the sights while staring into the little map on your phone trying to figure out where to go. Conceptually, that's kind of neat. I'm one of those people who hates looking like a tourist somewhere, and almost always tries to memorize maps before heading out, rather than have to stand around looking lost (sometimes this works... sometimes... it doesn't). Still, the idea of a belt that guides you around still seems a bit far out there for me. (Disclaimer: I actually don't have a disclaimer on this one, but since I did one on the other two items, I felt the need to say something).
    These guys are trying to get $10,000, and only have about $3,000 as of this writing, with about two and a half weeks to go. That's right on the edge in terms of likely hitting the goal. Wouldn't surprise me either way. Funky product, but might be a really niche market.
That's all for this week. Safe travels.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2013 @ 10:22am

    The OSTRICH PILLOW LIGHT looks stupid as hell, but it it's still not as bad as walking around at Wal-Mart talking on some fucking mini headset looking insane.

    ^I do just that all the time so I'll be buying one of these for sure. :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Nick (profile), 26 Oct 2013 @ 10:39am

    That last item, the buzzing belt (audible buzz, or a "oohoohoo that tickles" kind of buzz?) sounds like that one ankle strap that constantly zaps you on the north side of your leg, giving you - eventually - essentially a 6th sense in a built-in compass. Why not change a belt (worn on the outside of pants so has to be strong enough to pierce) with a under-the socks/pants light shock on ankle?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    any moose cow word, 26 Oct 2013 @ 3:36pm

    I think the idea of a belt is that it's something both men and women could wear while traveling. Something worn around the ankle wouldn't work in warmer climates, as people are less likely to wear socks or long pants, leaving the device completely exposed.

    Underwear would work, but people would either breakdown in a very public orgasm during a long excursion, or be more inclined to stay in their room with the shades drawn and "do not disturb" sign on their door--defeating the whole point of traveling.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2013 @ 9:08pm

    The ostrich pillow is awesome, on Comicon or a Star Wars convention there would be no embarrassment factor.

    Now we just need the other kingdom animals to join the party, the cat-pillow, the lizard-pillow, the cow-pillow, the fox-pillow.

    Don't know if I would ever be able to use the original pillow there but the light one I could.

    Improvements would be to make it soundproof, optional thermal controls, smells.

    Marvelous crazy ideas I love them all.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2013 @ 10:02pm

    Disappointing to hear you complain about reclining seats Mike!

    I never, never fly without having my seat reclined as far as possible, for as long as possible. Sitting vertically is just agony. Pure unadulterated physical hell and pain.

    If the person in front of you reclines, all you have to do to recover that lost space guessed it....recline your own seat.
    The only person that loses is the guy at the back against the wall who can't recline (Yes, I've been that guy).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 28 Oct 2013 @ 9:42am


      If the person in front of you reclines, all you have to do to recover that lost space guessed it....recline your own seat

      I don't think the issue is lost space -- the seats only recline by a couple of inches, so it's not that big of a difference. The bigger issue is when you're actually using the tray and the person adjusts the position of the seat it's attached to, jostling everything on your tray.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2013 @ 3:22pm

        Re: Re:

        That is a design problem, not a people's problem.

        Is like when people complain of others making noise because they can hear them going to the bathroom.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 26 Oct 2013 @ 11:36pm

    Best way to improve travel

    I know it is probably a broken record preaching to the choir but I have a far better idea than any of those. Abolishing the TSA so we can all fly unmolested (pardon the pun).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Below the Noise, 27 Oct 2013 @ 4:53am

    The best of both worlds!

    Here's an idea... how about combining the Ostrich pillow (original style) with that 4-direction beeper gizmo. Do away with the belt and build it right into the turban! I mean, who doesn't want to meet new and interesting people when traveling? Who do you think would attract more attention walking around central London, the girl with the tattoos who looks like she's lived there her whole life or some dude successfully navigating his way through traffic going the wrong way - while blindfolded?
    For crime ridden cities think about it from a mugger's perspective - which of the two would you be sure to stay clear away from?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Evan, 27 Oct 2013 @ 8:42am

    Untether, I say!!

    If they don't bluetooth that belt, they deserve to fail.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 28 Oct 2013 @ 2:56am

    The original Ostrich pillow is... repulsive. The light version however is pure damn gold. I wouldn't use it here in my country though, it would make me a target for muggers or something so you gotta stay alert or at least blend in the crowd if u are gonna take a nap. But really, those people using it around their necks as if it was some fashion item made my eyes bleed.

    The belt is awesome for geographically impaired people. For me it is useless =/

    The note support didn't really catch my eye but then again I don't travel a lot.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    LindaParker12 (profile), 19 Aug 2014 @ 3:15am

    Awesome travel

    Halong sound is acclaimed for its delightful hollows and limestone karsts pulling in a large number of voyagers everywhere throughout the world. There is no better approach to see the ethereal perspective of the inlet than from a helicopter. For more visit things to do in Dubai.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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