One of the more useful websites around, Kickstarter.com, lets inventors and entrepreneurs easily gain funding for new projects. By creating a single platform where people can view a multitude of new ideas and projects, KickStarter has become a powerful tool for independent entrepreneurs. Additionally, an increasing number of KickStarter projects and prototypes are simply ingenious, and even inspiring. The following projects are not only impressive, they may very well impact the way we live.
The basic design behind headphones has changed very little since the first pairs. Enter The Dash: completely wireless, waterproof ear buds with 4GB of music storage built in. Not only are these headphones wireless and play music with or without an mp3 player, they also act as a wireless headset to answer calls. Not only that, these powerful little players track fitness information, including heart rate, distance and speed. The ear buds themselves use gesture tracking, so no screen is needed to control music or receive your fitness information. Easily paired with bluetooth enabled Apple, Android and most Windows devices, these multitasking ear buds are set to go into full production November 2104. Prototype testers of this Kickstarter project report unbeatable sound quality, plus the device has received incredible reviews across technology magazines.
Two projects expressing similar goals are the Form 1 and The Micro. Both small, affordable 3D printers, these devices seek to bring quality 3D printing into the hands of average consumers. Current 3D printers are high priced, and current low end models fail to print high quality designs. By bringing quality 3D printing to the average person, independent artists and designers stand to leap ahead in what ideas they can realize. Additionally, low priced, quality 3D printers will substantially help small businesses, independent retailers and maybe even bring online products to your desk in the blink of an eye. Both printers improve on low priced 3D print quality considerably, especially when printing smaller items. The Form 1 is already in production, while The Micro is set to roll out Winter 2014/Spring 2015.
SCiO is a powerful pocket sensor that pairs with most smartphones. This pocket spectrometer reads an items molecular makeup in less than two seconds. SCiO then brings you information on the object. In the case of food, SCiO gives you serving size and nutrition information, and can even tell you how fresh an item is. Other objects are broken down into advanced metrics to inform the user on molecular qualities and atmospheric variables. Very useful for health enthusiasts and food providers, SCiO also promises to make huge waves in educational settings. This Kickstarter project beams results to your smartphone, making it a very portable and easy to use. If you’re not one of the Kickstarter supporters, look for SCiO in early 2015.
LIFX is a new kind of lightbulb, controlled directly by your smartphone. LIFX requires no setup or complicated installs and is one step closer to a truly smart home. Without adding anything to your current electrical grid, LIFX offers dimmer control, as well as colored lighting. Already available online and in home improvement stores, LIFX also allows for remote control of every LIFX bulb in your house. This means you can easily turn lights on and off throughout your house, without leaving your current location. Not only that, LIFX lets you set automatic on/off times, or syncs your indoor light with sunrise and sunset. In addition to these incredibly convenient features, LIFX can pair with your smart device to change colors or brightness with the music you listen to. So far, reviews for LIFX have been overwhelmingly positive, and suggest that similar smart home products may soon be common place.
Excellent news for video game enthusiasts, Oculus Rift brings truly immersive virtual reality to video games. A popular feature in fiction for decades, virtual reality has never quite reached the high quality performance that gamers desire. With Oculus Rift, gamers finally have an option with high resolution and a wide field of vision. Though Oculus Rift is not commercially available yet, several large gaming companies are already releasing Oculus ready games. A winner of several tech awards in 2012 and 2013, this Kickstarter project is also pairing with developers to expand the number of games supported. If early prototype reviews are any indication, Oculus Rift may soon become the best, most immersive way to play your favourite game.
Similar to Oculus Rift is Glyph, which brings virtual immersion to all media. Designed primarily as a virtual display, Glyph is a compelling way to watch movies and tv shows, plus functions as a high quality headset. Glyph becomes an audio only device by wearing the screen on top of your head, but flips down across your eyes for easy viewing. The biggest thing that sets Glyph apart is super high quality visuals. Also capable of displaying 3D, Glyph uses low powered LEDs and thousands of mirrors to bring films and TV to life. Glyph is also compatible with current gaming systems, but functions as a display, rather than a movement tracker and camera control system (like Oculus Rift). An incredible step towards moderately priced, high quality immersive displays, Glyph is another positively reviewed product that may revolutionize the way we consume media.
The Edyn Garden Sensor is an impressive new way to track your garden’s health. For those of us with now green thumb whatsoever, Edyn may well be the solution. This Kickstarter project racks soil health, from moisture and nutrients, to pH balance and light intensity. Pair the sensor with Edyn Water Valve and you have the smartest, most responsive automatic watering system available. The unit itself is water resistant and solar powered for ultimate ease of use. Another Kickstarter project showered in praise, Edyn stands to make life easier for gardening professionals and beginners alike.
Onewheel is a motorized skateboard with some incredible innovations. The board is completely self balancing, and is said to simulate the feeling of snowboarding or surfing. Onewheel requires not manual control for speed, jus ttilt the board forward to speed up, or backwards to slow down or stop. The board reaches up to 12 miles per hour, with a top distance of 6 miles per charge. Another Kickstarter project with overwhelmingly positive reviews, Onewheel is set to be available to the public late 2014.
iStick brings USB drives to Apple devices, greatly increasing the capability of portable devices. By adding a lightning connector to the conventional USB stick design, iStick instantly catapults an Apple device’s memory. This Kickstarter project lets you store massive amounts of photos, videos or songs on iStick, then directly stream them on your device. A simple, yet effective innovation, iStick hints at a future where our devices have unlimited storage capabilities, regardless of the device you own. Hailed as an indispensable addition to your device, iStick is highly reviewed by websites and print sources alike. While only available for Apple right now, similar products could soon change the way we approach portable devices.
Incredibly simple to attach to your smartphone, Galileo uses your phones’ vibrator to control where your camera faces. Galileo pairs with your phone under various shooting conditions, making this a useful Kickstarter project for many different consumers. Galileo automatically tracks action when in a video call, so you don’t need hold your device. This means video conferences or calls are captured without your attention, all without missing any action. In addition, Galileo makes it easy to capture perfect panoramas, as well as smooth 360 interactive visuals. Remote video conference control could also be incredibly useful for virtual learning settings. Lastly, consumers can use Galileo as a controllable baby monitor, changing angles and following your little one without you needing to enter the room. Another innovation making our smart devices even smarter.
Featured photo credit: D. Judah Sher via flickr.com