Penny for Thought: Wireless Anemometer for iPhone

Vaavud, a group founded by Danish inventors, friends, and kite surfers Thomas, Maria, and Andreas, unveiled a "revolutionary" method of wind-speed measurement in the age of smartphones and social networks. Their creation, though, is ironically low-tech, which makes most entry-level anemometers feel like a colossal waste of electronics, rare-Earth metals, and natural resources.

The Vaavud Wind-Speed Meter is little more than a 2-arm plastic impeller suspended on a bearing. It packs magnets, which spin along with the impeller, creating a magnetic field that the iPhone's magnetometer can detect. A software taking input from the magnetometer can then work out a wind-speed reading which is as accurate as commercially-available anemometers. The device can either be plugged into the 3.5 mm jack of your phone (only for anchorage, doesn't draw any power), or be held by hand, close enough to the iPhone.

It doesn't stop there. The software can, with your permission, access GPS, and send wind-speed data of your current location to social networks, over your phone's Internet connection. This way, you can give your fellow windsurfers, paragliders, kitesurfers, or RC aircraft buddies, a quick heads-up on wind-speed. Vaavud created working apps for both iOS and Android, so any handset with a magnetometer can use it. Notable handsets include iPhone 4 and above, and Galaxy S II, S III, and S IV.

The Vaavud Wind-Speed Meter looks simple to make and sell, but needs funding to become a mass product. The trio started a Kickstarter campaign to raise cash. You can drop in as little as a Quid before the campaign ends, 33 days from now. Pledging £20 or more gets you a chance to win one of these devices.