Kickstarter | Best new gadgets
Crowdfunding platforms have become so ubiquitous that it is only a matter of time before someone creates a crowdfunding website to help raise money to start crowdfunding websites. For the tech enthusiast, however, these platforms have been a gift from the gadget gods. They help inventive innovators and geeks to find like-minded geeks to fund their audacious ideas. Not all projects always go according to plan. The most successful Kickstarter project ever, the Pebble Smartwatch, had a less than silky smooth route to launch. But since then, it has become the gold(ish) standard for smartwatches. So what other exciting new gadgets are out there on the Kickstarter platform eyeing your pliant wallet? At Mint Indulge, these are our favourite Kickstarter gadget campaigns live right now.
Pitch: ‘Cable-free emergency smartphone battery with built-in USB tip’
Why we love it: How many times have you thought of the most amazing Twitter joke…only to have your phone run out of juice just as you type? Few hours later, you notice that Ramesh Srivats has made the joke already, and you cry yourself to sleep. This nonsense has to stop right now. There are plenty of battery packs out there. But how many fit on your keychain and still squeeze in 30 minutes worth of talk, text and browse battery charge?
Pledging deadline: 6 September
Minimum backing to get at least one piece: 20 Canadian dollars
Pitch: ‘An affordable, flexible, and open 3D resin printer that is makerspace friendly and easy to self-source’
Why we love it: Ah yes, 3D printing. Too cool to ignore. Too complicated to really understand. Not with the LittleRP. The team behind this super simple 3D stereolithography machine want to make resin printing as simple as printing a sheet of cat pictures on your laser printer. The retro, “Government Engineering College, Non-descript-abad” looks come free.
Pledging deadline: 10 September
Minimum backing to get at least one piece: $449
Pitch: ‘The world’s first bluetooth padlock you can share’
Why we love it: Locks are cool. Locks are essential. Locks make the world go round. Keys? We hate keys. Keys get lost, bent, broken and just temperamental for no reason whatsoever. That is where the Noke comes in. A super-solid lock that opens when it senses your phone is within 10 feet of it. Want to allow a friend to open a locker just once? You can share your bluetooth credentials with their phone. Super clever. With an optional bicycle locking fitting.
Pledging deadline: 17 September
Minimum backing to get at least one piece: $59
Pitch: ‘RunScribe provides a 3D view of how you run’
Why we love it: There are a million devices and a several trillion apps out there that track your runs and analyse your path, speed, distance and so on. But how many little gadgets also analyse your gait, your stride mechanics and how well a shoe suits you. Precisely what the bin-axis sensor inside the runScribe promises to deliver.
Pledging deadline: 19 September
Minimum backing to get at least one piece: $99
Pitch: ‘A paper USB business card with full analytics and remote access’
Why we love it: Business cards are an odd anachronism in this 21st century. We all have phones and tablets and those horrible things that are the bastard children of both. But still we insist on handing each other little bits of dead tree with letters and numbers on them. Perhaps business etiquette demands it. In which case…if you can’t beat it, smarten it up. The people behind swivelCard have patented to print a USB port onto a piece of card. Et voila! A business card that plugs into a USB port and points your browser to a page, link, download or multimedia item. Complete with back-end analytics. Like it.
Pledging deadline: 10 September
Minimum backing to get at least one piece: $29
Pitch: ‘World’s first wireless smart in-ear headphones’
Why we love it: If we wanted we could dedicate an entire issue of Indulge to headphones and earphones. (In fact, we probably should. We adore audio gear.) But how many earphones out there pair to your phone, store 4GB of media, is water resistant, tracks health indicators and has gesture controls. Not a lot, thank you very much. The Dash is currently a tad behind schedule, but will start shipping from January.
Pledging deadline: Closed. But you can order online here.
What you should know about crowdfunding platforms:
• Kickstarter and other crowd-funding platforms are places were you function as something of an investor in an project run by enterprising inventors and innovators.
• This means that you shouldn’t approach these as regular purchase transactions. Kickstarter is not, NOT NOT NOT, an online store to buy cool things.
• What are the risks involved? Projects, even successful ones, can often get delayed by many months, change in specifications, and fail to live up to all their promises.
• Also there are numerous cases of projects that raise the necessary funding, but then don’t deliver at all. But that is the risk you take in supporting non-mainstream ideas.
• There is also the chance that large, faceless corporations will pick up on Kickstarter ideas and bring out their own products before your investment bears fruit.
• Another thing to keep in mind is that most of the projects are run by small teams without the capacity to efficiently handle customer service problems or churn out software upgrades. Sometimes you will just have to be patient.
• Overseas supporters face an additional hurdle—you may have to pay import duties and customs charges on the product shipped to you. Lots of Pebble Smartwatches, for instance, got held up in customs offices all over India.
• But when things do go according to plan you have the chance to be part of a great success story.