Having recently had my first taste of Arduino electronics, I must admit the idea of open hardware and the maker ethos has really made a mark on me. Today I thought it would be interesting to highlight some of the most promising, exciting, or downright cool hardware projects on KickStarter – most of which you can fund in return for one of the prototypes or finished projects.
Let’s take a look, but remember you can only back these projects until a set date, so if you’re interested then get in there quick!
The Arduino is certainly a powerful device, but it’s still a little fiddly with soldering and perhaps difficult for kids or people afraid of electronics. The Teagueduino aims to make the creative realisation of projects even smoother, whilst subtly teaching the programming aspect of embedded controllers.
Particularly, the Teagueduino environment runs in realtime, giving you instant feedback on the sensor changes, programming adjustments or any other changes you make. It’s also easy to map inputs to outputs in just a single line of code, while still allowing you to delve deeper when you’re ready and custom mapping functions. But the project is more than just the hardware, and the group aims to be a community driven teaching resource with hundreds of free projects already available.
Here’s a video that explains a little more about it, as well as showing off the powerful software that’s integral to the learning experience.
Price for a complete kit: $160
Funded on October 9th
For those of you who don’t know, a plasma speaker creates an electrical arc out of a really high voltage, and then with suitable modulations applied, the arc produces noise. While instructables for making these things exist, the boys at StudentRND in Seattle wanted to make a complete kit. Here’s a demonstration – I’m sure you’ll agree this is a whole new level of epic awesome, although hardly a practical speaker (it’s actually better quality than most laptop speakers, mind).
Warning: a plasma speaker runs at a really high temperature, and high voltage, and the arc ionises the air to produce ozone. It should only be used for short periods of time in a well ventilated room by people who understand the risks. You could die from this.
Complete kit price: $80 (components, plans, power brick and flyback transformer)
Funded on Oct 9th
With 15 onboard 8-bit patterns, the mini monkey light attaches to your bike wheels to make cycling in the dark less dangerous and a whole lot more fun. It’s pretty simple, and just oozes cool:
$100 will get you one for both your front and back wheel
Funded on Oct 29th, if it reaches $27,500
Revolights is a similar project that’s already been funded.
An open source, affordable solar power charger kit that can charge both portable devices like iPhones or provide a source of power for outdoor Arduino projects. The internal battery can hold enough power to charge an iPhone 5 times, and the whole thing fits into a nice sustainable bamboo enclosure.
Most of the kits have now sold out, but at the time of writing the $115 level is still available, which will net you a complete kit as well as a choice of one additional solar cell, battery or AC adapter.
Complete kit: $115 (limited supply)
Funded on Oct 18th
Have you ever funded a kick-starter project, hardware or otherwise? How was your experience? Will you fund one of these projects to net yourself some cool hardware? Let us know in the comments!