The Gadgets & Games Of Kickstarter: October 19th 2012 Edition

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Perhaps you haven’t heard, but there is this nifty website called Kickstarter where people can pledge to support projects that they’re interested in. Little things – like Android game consoles, eInk watches and high-budget video games.

Each Kickstarter is its own drama representing the hopes and dreams of at least one person. Will it succeed? Will it fail? Will it become a media sensation? It’s impossible to know before the money starts flooding in – or doesn’t. So pop some popcorn and grab your mouse. We’ve got some Kickstarters to watch.

The Up-And-Comers

Fully Customizable Electronic Longboard

Have you ever wanted look like a cool dude on a skateboard, but felt they were impractical for trips around town? Well, here’s your answer – an electronic motor you can mount to a longboard. No, it’s not a joke (I’ve already seen people use similar devices here in Portland) and the information made available by the project suggests that its creators have already added a lot of polish to the design. I’m a bit worried about the $99,999 goal, however. That seems high for a gadget with limited appeal.

Lingual: The Multi-Language Learning Application

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MakeUseOf is published in English, but people from all over the world read it. This means we often receive questions about how to best learn a different language. Lingual seems like an interesting answer. It’s a simple game for the iPad that pits players against an arch-nemesis, Lingual, who can only be defeated by navigating language-based games. The project has a hilarious intro video, a good gameplay demo and an extremely modest $5,000 goal that it’s almost certain to achieve.

Lumen Electronic Jewelry

Geek-wear is not hard to find, but let’s be honest – a lot of it is junk. Lumen is trying to change that with a line of unique electronic jewelry. These aren’t just old circuit boards with loops through them. They’re functioning electronics with lights, solar panels and batteries (I’m partial to the one that looks like a skull). The project is asking $25,000 and has just launched. I really have no idea how it’ll go – the project seems niche, but the goal isn’t in the stratosphere.

Mimix Controller And NanoQ Copter

If you’ve never tried to control a remote toy helicopter, let me tell you – it’s hard. NanoQ + Mimix wants to try fixing that by using a new controller that can be operated with a single hand and relies on both the operation of controls and the movement of your hand. Its creators have paired this innovative control scheme with a small, light and inexpensive quad-copter that can be safely used both inside and outdoors. The copters will even be able to engage in virtual dog-fights using IR lasers in the front of each copter. A hefty $230,000 is required to make this project a reality, but it has about a month to go and has already earned over $25,000.

The Contenders

Nexus 2: The Gods Awaken

This follow-up to the cult classic real-time strategy game Nexus: The Jupiter Incident has managed to blitz over $125,000 in just over two weeks. There is just one small problem – the project’s goal is a whopping $650,000. It’s starting to look like the original game will remain the sole title in the franchise.


This teleprecense robot can be remote-controlled via an iPhone, making it easy to be present where you’re not. Unfortunately the project backers can’t seem to remote-control contributors and make them give more money. It was just posted when we started tracking it and now has obtained just over 10% of its $50,000 goal. There’s less than two weeks to earn the rest.


Finally, we have some good news! When we first checked in on iExpander, a special expanded case for the iPhone that increases its girth in exchange for new features and additional battery life, it was about half-way to its $125,000 goal. Now it is at over $110,000 and steaming forward at a decent clip with nine days to go.

Parallella: A Supercomputer For Everyone

Parallella isn’t really a supercomputer, and it’s not really for everyone, but it is a 16 or 64-core ARM computer that will be available for as little as $99. The project has managed to earn over $300,000 since the last time we checked in on it, but that’s not quite half-way to its $750,000 goal. There’s also less than two weeks to go. This one could be close.


The miniature x86 computer known as Xi3 seems to be struggling. Unlike Paralella, this project doesn’t drop crowd-sourcing buzzwords like open-source and affordable – plus it relies on an Intel processors, which is way less cool than anything with ARM in its name. This has a resulted in an under-whelming $40,000 raised so far, nowhere near the $250,000 goal. As with many other projects we’ve recently tracked there’s about two weeks left, so it’s possible something could change, but success appears elusive.

The Winners

iControlPad 2

It looks a goal of $150,000 for a new cross-platform gamepad and keyboard was actually a bit low. This project has now closed with almost $200,000 pledged. There were no stretch goals to fulfill. Backers just wanted to make damn sure that this project will become a reality. It looks like their wishes will soon be coming true. I didn’t back this project but I may very well pick one up for my Nexus 7 when it goes to retail.

iZZi Orbit & Solo

Huzzah! Things were looking grim for this premium iPhone camera enhancement as of our last update. It’d barely managed half its goal and had just a week left. But the funding did appear, and then kept coming, giving the project a healthy $29,407 to work with. I’m personally quite happy that it was successful. I don’t have an iPhone, but I think the quality of this product is excellent, and its designers showed restraint by asking for just 25 grand.

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This article may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

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