Ben Kuehl, an inventor and outdoorsman in Madison, Wisconsin, has designed a way to conveniently capture photographs of wildlife and the night sky through the lens of a telescope. His Smartphone Scope Mount, which recently raised $22,247 on Kickstarter, adheres to the bottom of a tripod and has a magnetic center where a smartphone can easily be placed.
Here are five other quirky ideas that were funded this week:
The phrase "open sesame" made its debut in the classic tale of Arabian Nights, as the magic password that allowed Ali Baba to gain entry to a cave and thwart a gang of thieves. And now, it's the namesake of a new device that allows users to gain entry to their homes, without keys. Sesame, an invention from Candy House, a design studio led by Stanford engineering student Jerming Gu, consists of two pieces. The first is a modern-looking four-inch tall Bluetooth-connected cover that goes over a door's standard lock. Apparently, the cover is compatible with "any single cylinder deadbolt in the world." The second is the Sesame smartphone app, which links up with the lock cover. Once installed, users can come and go with the click of a smartphone. They can also program the cover to unlock a door when they knock a certain way or even say the words "open sesame."
Brothers Travis and Nick Peterson from Irvine, California have been working tirelessly on what Buzzfeed calls "a truly diabolical birthday card." You thought trick candles were bad? The Joker Birthday Card looks like a harmless greeting card but plays the same "Happy Birthday" song on loop. Recipients can try to close the card, but the song won't stop unless the card is forcibly destroyed or its battery runs out (approximately three hours later). For the sender's sanity, the card is in a "safe mode" until activated. Given the more than $90,000 the product has raised in crowdfunding, it's clear there are a lot of nefarious friends and family just waiting to spring this on their loved ones. In fact, the card is so popular, its creators have made an equally obnoxious holiday version.
Selfie sticks may have some competition. The Los Angeles company Mega Tiny has created a product that looks and feels like a standard phone case; the back, however, is made up of millions of incredibly tiny suction cups that help it adhere to glass, metal, tile, kitchen cabinets, whiteboards, and computer screens. With this anti-gravity case, it's possible to watch television on a smartphone while brushing your teeth, easily view recipes while cooking and, of course, take lots and lots of hands-free selfies.
You can thank a team of Harvard graduate students for this winning gift idea for grandparents. Skylight is a WiFi-connected touchscreen photo frame. Here's how it works: take a photo on your smartphone, email it to the frame owner's designated Skylight email address and, within 60 seconds, a notification will be broadcast on the frame. The recipient can view the photo and then choose whether or not to display it.
Epidemia Designs, a company started by a New York medical student, is capitalizing on the popularity of yoga pants. Rather than a standard black or gray color palette, each pair of athletic pants Epidemia produces comes in a colorful print that highlights a scientific concept. The label offers leggings covered with muscle cells, for example, and the brand is venturing into other apparel as well. There's a scarf made from a micrograph of chicken pox and a sports bra emblazoned with an image of a healthy mammogram. By busting science out of the confines of the lab, Epidemia hopes to get people excited to learn about these subjects. Additionally, 15 percent of profits from items sold will go to fund prenatal and childhood vaccine programs around the globe.