Kickstarter is on a roll these days. The company that calls itself “the world’s largest crowdfunding platform” is living up to its name. In 2012 alone, 2.2 million people pledged $319 million to kick-start more than 18,000 of its projects. Many of those projects involved technology, with 3D printing serving as one of the hottest categories.
We’ve gathered some of the best-funded technology projects at Kickstarter from 2012 and 2013. From 3D printers and 3G spacesuits, to underwater robots and electronic basketballs, we take a look at a few of the latest and greatest.
Click on the Air Quality Egg below to start the slideshow.
The Air Quality Egg is a sensor system that allows users to make high-resolution readings of NO2 and CO outside their homes. It consists of an electronic outdoor sensing system to take the readings and an egg-shaped base station inside the home to receive them. Sensemakers, its creators, say the technology “gives people a way to participate in the conversation about air quality.” (Source: Sensemakers)
Chuck, there are a lot of interesting ideas here. The real question is how many will really be successful. Being successful is not a guarntee of success. It is said that even professional VCs have a success once every ten projects they fund. Do you have any information on how many Kickstarter projects have been successful? Of course, what is meant by successful has to be defined first.
Frankly, some of these projects address markets that are very small (or almost non-existent). For example, take the 3G Spacesuit. We don't currently have much (worldwide) in terms of commercial space travel. By the tie we do, this company will be out of business unless they find another market for the suits. Even your first item, the air quality egg is of dubious value. Sensors we use in the home for things like CO have a safety purpose in a controlled atmosphere. I am not sure of what one air quality egg on my back porch will do for me. You need lots of sensors to make any kind of meaningful inference about the air quality. I think there will be a market for this, though. It will be environmentalists who want to make local measurements to "prove something". I expect that they will be dissiapointed.
Of course, the Adapteva supercomputer is a good idea. I see it uses a ZYNQ chip, which is a FPGA with an ARM core. The real question is how difficult it is to program and can you sustain the performance. It's low power and small size are very attractive. This is one of the few I can see as a winner. It may not be successful on its own, but I could see the idea being incorporated into other designs.
It still looks better than some bartenders I have seen. But then again, have it serve up a couple drinks and you may forget about the looks! Now if they could make a nice interactive interface to 'chat' with patrons. That would be cool!
Great idea for a slideshow, Chuck. It's really interesting to see what people are creating and I always thought Kickstarter was a great idea for people with great ideas who need funding. But like Lou, I don't necessarily think everything on Kickstarter is something that will make it commercially, even though I appreciate the ambition of the people with projects on there.
I agree, Liz. Many of these ideas will not be commercially successful. I still like browsing through Kickstarter anyway, because it's a testmanet to technical creativity. In the past, there weren't many good avenues for inventors. They'd often end up going to companies that claimed to market inventions and wanted money up front for their services, sometimes with questionable results.
"In the past, there weren't many good avenues for inventors. They'd often end up going to companies that claimed to market inventions and wanted money up front for their services, sometimes with questionable results."
I think you are spot on with this comment, Charles. A lot of people have been ripped off in the past by taking their idea to a company who claimed that they would be able to help them develop and market it - with the carrot of the inventor becoming rich, so their huge fees were justifiable. With Kickstarter - this method presentas a way for an inventor to fund their project without that type of risk - and the folks that contribute do so with the understanding that a monetary return is not promised. I think this is cool - an online community supporting innovation through donation...
Well Jenn had a great idea but you executed really well, Chuck. I imagine it was pretty difficult to cull through all of the ideas on Kickstarter. It's a great website and a great venue for innovation and for people to get funded who might otherwise not stand a chance, but I imagine there are also alot of things that only their inventors think are good ideas.
My previous comment said, I would like to point out that I do think a few of these projects stand out and would be cool if they became commercial products, including the Mycestro 3D Mouse, the OpenROV underwater robot, the FormLabs 3D printers and, of course, the Bartendro.
Check out MasterBrew on KickStarter. It makes great coffee and keeps it fresh for 4 hours. It puts all of the electronics outside the coffeemaker so if you need to replace yours, you can just buy a simple ON/OFF switch model. It has advanced, patented, features never before available for brewing coffee. It automatically can detect hard water scale build-up and dissolve it away automatically.
Anything that makes the brewing and dispensing of coffee easier and more efficient is OK in my book. Now if someone invented a wearable caffeine-injection device that you could wear on your body and have it administer caffeine whenever you needed it throughout the day, that is a technology I could really get behind!
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