Although smartphones can perform many tasks on their own, they're also able to make devices such as drones, robots and cameras cheaper and/or more capable by acting as their "brains." One of the latest gadgets to receive such a treatment is the humble – and potentially treasure-finding – metal detector.
Presently the subject of a Kickstarter campaign, the Ukrainian/American-designed Air Metal Detector features a 9.5-inch (241-mm) submersible electromagnetic coil that is reportedly able to detect small metallic objects located up to 12 inches (305 mm) beneath the ground, or larger objects as far down as four feet (1.2 m). When such an item is detected, the Air Metal transmits a Bluetooth signal to the user's Apple or Android smartphone, which is mounted on the handle.
An app on that phone alerts users via an audible tone and an onscreen display, the latter indicating the type of metal and its depth within the soil. In order not to be bothered by alerts for things that they aren't looking for, users can set the app to ignore certain metals or sizes of objects. Additionally, GPS coordinates of unearthed items can be recorded on the app for future reference.
The device itself weighs 900 grams (2 lb), and folds up/telescopes down when not in use. Along with its signal-processing electronics being offloaded into the user's phone, some of its other features include an underside LED light for illuminating finds, and a small OLED screen on top of the coil that displays basic info.
Power is provided by a 900-mAh lithium battery, that should reportedly be good for 10 to 12 hours of use per charge.
If you're interested in getting an Air Metal Detector, you can do so with a pledge of US$199 – the planned retail price is $450. Assuming it goes into production, shipping should take place in November.
Another smartphone-enabled metal detector – Akyor's hard-wired, non-Bluetooth CSP86 – was successfully Kickstarted last year, but has yet to reach backers. A representative from that company tells us that it should ship by the end of June.
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