One of my favorite things about modern technology is the ubiquity of startup companies. Nowadays designers, engineers and computer scientists, inventors and innovators have more resources to take chances, reach for their goals and to find means of bringing their product ideas to life. At times comprised of two- or three-person teams, I’ve been enjoying seeing these types of small operations popping up more frequently lately.
One sure-fire way to introduce a new idea or product is Kickstarter. If you’re unfamiliar, the resource is a crowdsourcing platform. This means that fledgling ideas-people can promote their product or service to potential supporters, where the general public an pledge money towards the team’s proposed target goal. At times, production costs can be through the roof for what’s necessary to bring some projects to market — you’d never guess it. And with Kickstarter campaigns, it’s an all-or-nothing type deal. So if the target goal isn’t reached within the allotted timeframe, the project gets nothing and the ‘backers’ get a full refund.
Next time you’re in the mood, hang-ten on Kickstarter and observe all the incredibly gifted and passionate minds out there (you could even filter search results by city to find locals) — even pledge on something you like!
Here’s a round-up of some awesome and cool things I would totally help fund had I all the money to do so:
We’ve all experienced that awful neck and back pain that comes with our poor bodily posture when using our electronic devices. It’s caused by prolonged slouching or slumping in an unnatural position, such as during our time spent watching movies or reading on an airplane, train or in the backseat of a car.
The i90 Heads-up Glasses will enable users to enjoy any of their everyday handheld devices with their heads up and their neck and backs straight. Your chiropractor will not be happy about this one.
Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/19kvAtj
Sleek, unique and modern to boot, the Timbre campaign is providing a desktop speaker system “for people who like nice things.”
Startup Running Farm Labs, has designed a desktop speaker that is unlike any other, visually and performance-wise. Using a special acoustic mechanism, Timbre is small in size but huge in sound — hi-def sound that is. Each model is crafted from solid alder wood and stainless steel, however, a special pledge incentive includes a choice wood type from a range of premium and exotic wood parts.
Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/18lo30g
Ever wonder how much time you have left? Yes, your time left to live. It’s crossed my mind before.
For those who actually do want the (approximate) answer to the question above, the Tikker smartwatch will do just that. Aside from being a conventional timepiece, Tikker will actually count down the seconds until the wearer’s estimated moment of truth. Each person’s death clock is estimated based on the results of a questionnaire that asks questions about the user’s health, activities and general demeanor. Sounds a bit grim but Tikker wants whoever’s wrist it sits on to make the most of their time left.
Kickstarter link: http://kck.st/14Yft7h
All you videographers out there know this; camera gear is really, really expensive. So wouldn’t it be cool if your tablet could easily turn into an all-out mobile video production center? You may think I sound a bit cuckoo. But you couldn’t say that to professional film director, Josh Apter, who designed and campaigned the Padcaster Mini.
The aluminum iPad mini case frames the device with various threaded holes for holding lighting, an external mic, a tripod stand and other camera gear. The user’s slate stays safe and secure in the Padcaster but can easily pop out if needed. Seeing this thing in action is truly incredible — it’s a must-have for documentarians, amateur filmmakers, music video shoots, etc. etc.
Unforunately the (iPad mini iteration) project failed to reach it’s Kickstarter goal, though its campaign site is still up: http://kck.st/19IKhsA
Raise your hand if you enjoy watching stress test videos on the internet. Me too! It’s cool to see unthinkable acts happen to our beloved products, all for the sake of research.
The folks over at Zendure have created a line of external battery packs that may be the toughest out there. Advertised as “Crush Proof,” the high-performance Zendure battery cells are shielded by a super durable polycarbonate and ABS material-made outer shell. As a way to show it’s strength, Zendure founder Bryan Liu ran over his Zendure A4 battery a dozen times with his truck while still charging his iPhone 4S. Needless to say, there was no damage done, nor even a blip timed-out of the charging process.
Available in three sizes (9,600 mAh, 12,800 mAh and 16,000 mAh), Zendure blew their Kickstarter goal away: http://kck.st/1cZolLT
There’s something truly compelling about the design of Lumia. I’m not sure what it is but it’s so pleasing to the eye — perhaps it’s 111 backers who raised over six times the project’s funding goal know something that I don’t. I like to think that if Marcel Duchamp was an audio engineer, he might’ve designed Lumia.
Constructed of retired wine barrels and sculpted milled aluminum, this super bright LED lamp is more an art piece than a lighting fixture. It’s modern aesthetic sets it apart from any other lamp and can be powered by a 12V transformer or hidden battery pack. It’s truly an illuminating piece.
It’s been overfunded but is still found here: http://kck.st/1a3gfRn
Though whipping around your city on a bicycle may be perhaps the most primitive mode of transportation, it doesn’t mean that a little added tech can help make it easier or more fun to do. Southern startup Wahoo has successfully funded their RFLKT+ last month, a mountable bike computer, which serves as a ‘bridge’ between a rider’s smartphone and ANT+ cycling sensors.
That means that riders can track their heart rate, speed, cadence, calories burnt and more — plus, the RFLKT+ integrates with mobile apps such as a music player or weather. Monitor your health, enjoy your mobile apps and get some exercise, all while your smartphone stays in a pocket or travel bag.
Their Kickstarter campaign has ended but the site is still up: http://kck.st/1ap1j2B
I bet you didn’t know that although that brand new Macbook has the latest and greatest, top of the line hardware money can buy, on average (all) computer manufacturers cut corners when it comes to the audio components in their machines. Realistically, that 3.5mm jack that your headphones goes into will cost about $4 on it’s own. Doesn’t really make too much sense when you’re jamming to your favorite tunes on a $100-plus pair of headphones, huh?
The truth is that most mobile music listeners aren’t even aware that their music could be sounding better than it does. Audio industry vet, Gavin Fish, thinks that is a real shame. So he created GEEK, a USB dongle that replaces an audio jack on a computer. The high-fidelity DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter) is basically a condensed version of his team’s Da Vinci DAC, which scored major buzz at CES 2013.
In some respects, it’s a pre-amp for your headphone, meaning that it’ll add some power and equalization to your computer audio, creating a listening experience as you’ve never heard your favorite music before. The team killed their Kickstarter project, raking in over $303,000 on a $28,000 pledge goal. Find out what all the noise is about: http://kck.st/15ApaEg
Mobile devices are so darn cool and handy all of the darn time, right? Wrong. All my fellow writers out there know what I mean. Try to type a full page of text on a touchscreen keyboard. Do it, I dare you.
So, in line with the portability and ease of our popular gadgets, Phoenix-based startup myType has invented the universal Bluetooth myType typing keyboard. The foldable, pocket-friendly, full-size keyboard is composed of durable rubber, is splash-resistant, charges through a microUSB port and can be powered on for weeks between charges.
Another project that wiped the floor with their campaign, earning $149,000 on a $10,000 goal. Check it out: http://kck.st/18iA3Sc
It’s part-Tron Light Cycle, part-Blade Runner vehicle, but fully Eco-friendly, emission-free and will hopefully soon be a reality. Since the average number of passengers in any given car on the road is (and has been for over a decade) 1.59 people, Project Insecta is an independent automobile company working on a “personal mobility” vehicle, geared towards urban dwellers.
Producing zero carbon emissions, boasting a less than average TCO (Total Cost Ownership) versus gasoline vehicles and EV cars of all sizes, and simple maintenance, the futuristic transit machine is currently in it’s CAD development phase.