I was on an ocean liner recently. Passengers had to go through a muster drill where we all gathered large orange life vests from our rooms and learned how to put them on in case of an emergency.
Life vests are effective, but bulky. They're not the sort of thing you haul around with you wherever you go. The Kingii on Indiegogo wants to save your life by being attached to your body at all times when you're enjoying a day at the ocean or the pool.
The 4.9-ounce Kingii (pronounced "kin-gee") is worn on the wrist. A lever triggers a carbon dioxide cartridge to inflate an orange, balloon-like float. The float pulls you back up to the surface of the water, whether you're out surfing or taking a dip in a pool. Cartridges can be swapped out to make the wristband reusable.
The Kingii appears to be going gangbusters on Indiegogo. The initial $65,000 funding goal has been engulfed by over $445,000 in pledges with 23 days left to run. However, $400,000 of that comes from one anonymous backer. CNET requested more information about the pledge, and a spokesperson for Kingii says it was raised by presales along with retailer preorders and the decision was made to add that amount to the campaign.
As usual with crowdfunding projects, it's up to the buyer to take on the risk of whether the product will be delivered as promised. If you're willing to make the plunge for the Kingii, it will cost you a $69 (about £44, AU$92) early-bird pledge or $79 (about £50, AU$105) for the regular pledge price. That includes two carbon-dioxide cylinders.
Kingii's main attraction is its relatively small size compared with other flotation devices. It's also much hipper than water wings, those arm-worn buoyancy floats you might remember from childhood. It certainly looks intriguing for anyone concerned about water safety.