It's always nice to see a Kickstarter project make it through to reality — and this is a neat one. Vaavud, an inexpensive wind meter that was funded on Kickstarter earlier this year, is finally available to buy.
There are other mobile wind meters out there, but what makes Vaavud smart is its durability. People who need a meter regularly — from surfers to scientists to sailors — are usually using it in extreme conditions. The Danish team behind the device designed accordingly: The tiny meter contains zero electronic guts, relying instead on tough plastic and two magnets. When the wind moves the plastic cubs, the iPhone's magnetic sensor keeps track of the speed of the rotating magnets and calculates a reading accordingly. It's a brilliantly simple way to use the smartphone's onboard sensors.
The $US50 device plugs into the headphone jack of your iPads, iPhone or Samsung Galaxy, but since there's no hardware connectivity with your phone, you can also hold it nearby. Also cool? Results from your tests are uploaded to a community map, which means that you're contributing to a more accurate global wind map. [Vaavud]