The Gadgets & Games Of Kickstarter – June 11th 2013 Edition
Have you heard of Kickstarter, where people can support projects that they’re inspired by?
Each Kickstarter project has its own drama representing the hopes and dreams of a person or a group. Will it succeed? Will it fail ? It’s impossible to know before the money starts flooding in – or doesn’t. So sit back and check out some of the most recent, interesting Kickstarters.
Connected homes are one of technology’s current frontiers. The ability to control your lights, air conditioner or appliances remotely sounds great, and is already possible to an extent; but costly installation is usually required. Benki tries to side-step the problem with a relatively simple device that plugs into a wall outlet and can be used to turn electronics on or off, sense when someone enters a room, and more. By relying on a wall plug, rather than a centralized system, installation costs are eliminated. Sounds like a great idea – let’s see if it can make its $220,000 goal.
The HALO is an alien device designed to destroy the galaxy in the event of…oh, wait, wrong HALO. Actually, this HALO is an attachment that can be used to turn a fuel cell into a power source for mobile electronics. This can help campers and backpackers charge electronics without a bulky solar cell that can take hours to charge even with optimum lighting. This sounds like a great solution to a common problem, and the goal is a reasonable $250,000.
B Go Beyond is a remote-control transformer. At first glance, this toy looks like a fancy RC car, but at the push of a button it transforms into an agile quad-copter . This is made possible through a rather simple system of hollow wheels that guard the blades while the vehicle is on the ground. A substantial 86,500 pound pledge is required to make this project real, but it’s made about 65,000 pounds, with three weeks to go. Things are looking up – and in more ways than one.
This project seeks to revitalize the Heavy Gear franchise with a new mech game built in Unreal Engine 4. Its development staff includes Jack Mamis (lead designer on Crysis) and Clancy Imislund, an experienced AI programmer who worked on Heavy Gear II. Despite the studio’s credentials, the project so far has gained only $40,000 of its huge $800,000 goal. Perhaps gamers have forgotten Heavy Gear.
Monkey Light Pro is the second project of MonkeyLectric, a company that produced the original Monkey Light with Kickstarter’s funding. The Pro version, like the original, uses a projector to create an image in a spinning bicycle wheel, which both looks cools and increases the bicyclist’s visibility. But unlike the original, the Pro version is programmable, which means you can display any image you choose. The project has so far made over $135,000 of its $180,000 goal, so it’s well on its way to funding.
Have you ever wanted to make your own game levels? Now you can with Pixel Press, a combination of game and design platform that lets people design their own 2D platformer level by drawing on specially designed graphic paper and photographing the level with a tablet or smartphone. This cool idea has earned just over $95,000 of the $100,000 it needs, so it’s almost certain to reach its goal before time is up.
The Tantrum is a cool rugged exoskeleton case for the iPhone and the Samsung Galaxy that promises to provide insane protection against drops, falls, and other accidents. The case designers say that The Tantrum can survive a drop from a moving car. But in spite of its durability, this is still just a case, and pledges have been slow to appear; so far, the project has just 66 backers pledging $5,000 of the $45,000 goal.
Why can’t your phone also be your laptop? That’s the question asked by Casetop, and while 421 backers wished to see the answer, only the total of $86,000 they pledged fell far short of the project’s $300,000 goal. But minds behind Casetop haven’t given up; instead, they’ve opened up pre-orders for people who still want the device, and have perused more traditional funding to fund production. ‘
This smartphone connection to your car’s computer wanted $750,000, but made just $81,060. The project’s creators say that a trademark issue with another company, which resulted in temporary suspension of the campaign, is to blame for the failure. I think their unrealistic funding goal and lack of frequent updates deserve some blame, as well.
If you just heard an alarming thud, don’t worry. That was probably just Infinity Cell’s Kickstarter going down in flames. Though the project’s idea (a charger that powers your phone through kinetic motion) was cool, only 105 backers showed up and the project never received any substantial updates throughout its duration. That doesn’t cut it in Kickstarter’s hyper-competitive environment.
This game looks like Minecraft 2.0. Gameplay takes place in a procedural world that players can alter through crafting or exploring, but the technology is light-years beyond Minecraft’s retro style. The developer, Nerd Kingdom, lacks experience – a fact that put some potential backers off the game. But the project did make and exceed its $215,000 goal, earning a total of $293,184.