Kickstarter success Vaavud is a thing of beauty. Created by a Danish team of enterprising inventors, it plugs into your iPhone or Android device’s headphone jack and connects with an app to tell you the current wind speed. It uses no power, and actually talks wirelessly to your phone via the built-in magnetic field sensor that ships with modern smartphones.
The Vaavud is shipping as of July 30, and goes on sale at bitemyapple, Grand St. and other fine purveyors of gadgets and gizmos, but I got a chance to test one out early. The Vaavud blew through its tests in fact (see what I did there?) and definitely told me how fast the wind outside was, or how effectively I was blowing on the thing when trying it out for my own amusement indoors. Which I did plenty, because it’s very fun.
The Vaavud ships with an internal mechanism that works with most smartphones out of the box, and a kit to change it over to handle the Samsung Galaxy S2, which requires a slightly different design. It also comes with a soft carrying pouch complete with carabiner, since this thing is designed to be carted with you as you scale mountains or brave rapids.
You can use the Vaavud with the app created by the company itself, but third-party apps are also supported, starting with the first to leverage the API, Weendy. That app is about crowdsourcing weather conditions, and draws from people using Vaavud around the world to build wind speed profiles of locales. It’s the perfect integration, but as Vaavud is pretty niche, don’t go expecting a lot of that data to pop up for most spots just yet.
Data seems to be accurate, but it’s hard to compare as I don’t have any other kind of wind meter technology nearby to compare it to. The charts produced by the native Vaavud app are attractive and easy to read, and the fact that no batteries are required is pretty awesome in terms of using it in outdoor and remote locales where it’s probably most useful. At €40.00 (roughly $61 U.S.) it’s a little pricey for a novelty, but anyone conducting environmental research or just really keen on weather will definitely get a kick out of it.
A lot of Kickstarter projects, both successful and not, aim at a particular niche; it’s part of the reason they aren’t good candidates for traditional funding channels. The Vaavud is likely going to appeal to a small segment of the population, but unlike most Kickstarter projects, it’s smartly executed, well-built and elegantly designed. If you think you need a Vaavud, don’t hesitate to go ahead and get one.