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.
My living room is arranged around my collection of consoles. I hardly play the older ones, but when I do, my couch must be close enough to use the wired controllers. Awesome Controller is the perfect solution for me, and any other gamers with old Nintendo (current support is only for NES, SNES and N64), because it will make new wireless controllers compatible with old systems. That seems like a great idea and the project is only asking $15,000.
Apple has so far stood firm in its decision not to support NFC. This is, for the most part, acceptable – but there are certainly some users who could benefit from it or even need it. FloJack is a simple device which plugs in via an iPod, iPhone or iPad’s headphone jack and provides access to NFC functionality. The team behind the device is also working on developer tools that will make it easy to include compatibility in apps. The goal of $80,000 seems a bit high but they’re well on their way.
Sci-fi shooter Interstellar Marines: Prologue has a lot stacked against it. It is not made by any independently famous developers, nor is it part of an existing intellectual property. This is a new game, with new ideas, built from the ground up for fast-paced action gameplay. Still, the project has one of the best videos I’ve ever seen and its already a Kickstarter Staff Pick, so it has a fighting chance to meet its $650,000 goal.
What’s the problem with stereo docking stations? Well, they’re docking stations. You have to attach your phone, which can sometimes be clumsy, and phone compatibility can be an issue. Freakvibe solves this problem by simply amplifying the sound of whatever device is placed on it – or audio can be transferred to it from afar via Bluetooth. The goal of $90,000 seems reasonable for such an innovative project.
This amusing multi-language learning app pits players against Lingual, a fictional villain responsible for dividing the languages of human-kind. He is, of course, a big green rabbit-like creature. It’s an amusing and useful concept backed up by a good gameplay video and a low goal of just $5,000. It currently sits at over $3,000 and has less than two weeks to go.
Electronic jewelry that’s actually well-made seems like a good idea to me, but maybe I’m (almost) alone in that thought. Over the last two weeks Lumen has made shy of $2,000 from only a handful of backers. The goal of $25,000 is measly compared to other projects we’ve highlighted but it must look impossible to the project’s creators at this point.
This project pairs Mimix, a controller that combines physical and motion inputs, with NanoQ, a small 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. It sounds like fun, but a hefty $230,000 is required to make this project a reality and funding seems to have stalled. It’s at nearly $50,000 with about two weeks to go.
This expansion for the iPhone can improve battery life, add storage options or bundle in a flash for the phone’s camera. It’s a nerdy project by my estimation, but it did well from the start and has closed at $172,529, almost $50,000 above its goal. I guess Apple buyers aren’t allergic to customization after all! The project says it will begin shipping the iExpander by December 6th. Yes, 2012. That seems a bit optimistic, but we’ll see.
Boy, this was a close one. So close, in fact, that my original draft of this column assumed it would fail. Early on October 26th it was more than $50,000 short of its $750,000 goal but a huge final burst of funding came through before October 27th and put the project at a whopping $898,921. That’s about $200,000 in 24 hours! Apparently the crew at Parallella did a great job of reeling people in for the final push – or there were a number of potential funders waiting in the wings to see if the project had a chance.
This project seems like a good idea that’s far too niche to find success on Kickstarter. It asked for $99,999 yet only received about $15,000. It appears the product is already far along in its development cycle, so I would not be surprised if we see it in some form, but it will remain a tool for skateboard enthusiasts only.
The follow-up to niche space strategy game Nexus: The Jupiter Incident started out strong but eventually stalled out well short of its $650,000 goal. It appears the developers simply asked for too much to get the remake off the ground – though, to be fair, anything less would have been unlikely to fund a project of this scope. I hope a traditional publisher can be found for the project. But I have my doubts.
Oh, poor Helios. This project had about $10,000 when I first came across it and never managed to earn much more than that. Why? I suspect that, while the idea is extremely cool, the implementation seemed a little cheap. The project also could have done a much better job of explaining itself – its usage examples were, for the most part, silly rather than plausible.
This x86 based “post-PC” computer did no better than its questionably named ARM competitor. It looked like it was in trouble at our last checkout and its health did not dramatically improve, leaving the project stalled just north of $80,000. I think this project is cool and that there’s a market for sturdy, portable, power x86 computers – but major manufacturers already make small PCs that run Intel and AMD processors.