Inventors taking to Indiegogo and Kickstarter to fund their projects never cease to impress us, but the eight projects we highlight here are all guaranteed to make you feel really good. Whether it’s a T-shirt line that is literally making the world we live in “greener,” an alarm clock that ensures you’ll start the day out exactly how you want to or even just light-up shoes that make you smile, they are all little things that have the power to totally transform your mood. And isn’t it really the little things that make life better?
1. High-Tech Bike Helmet: We’re loving how popular biking has become, with more cities prioritizing bike lanes and increasing rentable bikes every year. But let’s be real: Biking on busy streets can be pretty scary. Lumos not only protects a rider’s head, but also integrates LED technology so riders can use it to signal their turns and make sure drivers see them in the dark. Bike safety FTW!
2. Light-Up Shoes For Adults: Kids today may be obsessed with having the latest phone, but back in the day, light-up sneaks were all the rage. Whether you were one of the cool kids who had ’em or just lusted over them with envy, soon you may have a chance to get your hands on a grown-up pair. Blinky.Shoes are light strips that can be Velcro-ed on any pair of shoes you already have. There are different color patterns to choose from and the battery is rechargeable. Talk about next-level dance party.
3. Alarm Clock for Non-Morning People: If you are the type of person who presses snooze at least twice in the morning, you know how hard it is to find a method that will successfully get you out of bed on a regular basis — unless you have a dog or a kid. The NeverSnooze Alarm Clock is solving that problem by forcing you to physically go to another room to make the alarm go off. Basically, you put the clock’s base wherever you want to start the day, like in the bathroom or right next to your coffee maker. The alarm clock stays in your room. When it goes off in the AM, you have to connect it with the base. And chances are, since it leads you to wherever you want to start the day, you are less likely to go back to bed.
4. Mathematical Knit Scarves: Seattle native Fabienne Serriere combined her love for math and knitting to launch KnitYak, a company that makes custom knit scarves that have algorithmic, computer-generated designs. For example, one of her designs is a pixelated pattern, which lends itself naturally to knitting since knitting is primarily made up of tiny Vs. Another scarf she designed is the algorithm that shows the black-and-white crackles typically seen when your TV is not connected to the cable. It’s just another example of how coding can be used in unexpected (and cozy) ways.
5. Environment-Saving Apparel: The more poor textile factory conditions are exposed, the greater need there is for clothes that you can feel good about wearing. Los Angeles-based clothing company IIKO is on a mission to offer up cute casual wear while saving the environment at the same time. Their comfy T-shirts are made from recycled cotton and PET Plastics, and 5 percent of their profits are donated to the Plastic Pollution Coalition. The average T-shirt takes 640 gallons of water to produce — no small number considering many states are dealing with a serious water shortage right now. IIKO uses almost no water, and since their clothes are made using solar power, they aren’t polluting the air either. Oh, and did we mention how cool the tees look? It’s a definite win-win.
6. Music Festival Photography: Typically at a music festival, all eyes are on the stage. Australian photographer Nic Bezzina turned things around by capturing stunning images of the crowd — and not just of the street-style variety. Whether it’s being pressed against the gates in the front row or looking euphoric while in the presence of a worshipped musician, the photos in his “Release the Crowd” series are truly breathtaking. The Kickstarter is to help fund a book of the photos from the 10 music festivals he covered across Europe and Australia.
7. People of Color and Mental Illness Photo Project: Another photo series we are loving is Dior Vargas’s portraits of minorities who have a mental illness. “I started this project to challenge people of color to speak out and unburden themselves of the shame and secrecy of living with a mental illness,” she says in her Kickstarter post. Education increases understanding and erases stigmas and misconceptions. We are 100 percent on board with this one.
8. World’s First Tailored Audio Story: Just like the way everyone’s vision is different, hearing is unique for each person — and not just in terms of volume. The Aumeo is a piece of audio equipment that you can plug into your headphones and it detects your hearing needs and adjusts the audio levels for each person. The result is a custom listening experience. Sounds pretty sweet, right?
Which crowdfunding project do you think is completely genius? Sound off in the comments.