I write about a lot of crowdfunding projects, but primarily board games: I have the most experience with them, and it’s a lot easier to get a working-but-not-final sample of a board game than an electronic device. So for gadgets, I’m mostly relying on the same information you can find on the crowdfunding page, with just a couple of exceptions. But here are several crowdfunding projects (some on Kickstarter, some on Indiegogo) that have caught my attention recently.
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This first one I have seen in person, back in September at the PDX Mini Maker Faire. Vivek Mano has designed a little robot that is controlled by music: play notes on an instrument or even sing them, and the robot will move forward and backward or turn left and right. Or put it in programming mode, play a short tune, and the robot will follow all the commands in sequence. It’s a cool little device and I like the way it combines music and programming. Check out the Wigl Indiegogo campaign.
I’ve tried sous vide cooking before, using the “poor man’s sous vide” method, and I have to say that it’s been the best way for me to make steaks that aren’t either undercooked or dried out. But I’ve just been using regular plastic resealable bags, which aren’t intended for cooking—not to mention it’s not so great environmentally.
Silibagz are reuseable silicon containers that are food-safe and quite versatile. I got a sample to try out and have used it once for sous vide. But it can also be used to replace one-use resealable bags, brown bags, or anywhere you need a portable storage container. They seem like they’d be pretty great for camping, too.
Unfortunately, they’re not cheap, especially if you wanted enough of them to replace your disposable-bag habits, but I really like the idea. For more information, visit the Silibagz Indiegogo page.
The Appiom is a device (based on a Raspberry Pi) that plugs into your home network, and gives you control of your kids’ online activity via an app. Set blackout times for bedtime or family dinnertime, or shut off only specific apps like Facebook during homework. Now, while I think it’s preferable to have conversations with your kids about wise use of screen time and the internet, the Appiom also seems like it could be a handy way to help establish those habits when sheer willpower doesn’t do the trick. The Appiom is on Kickstarter now.
Ok, this one’s a real splurge, but it’s fascinating to look at. It’s an 8x8x8 grid of LEDs that you assemble yourself (no soldering required), and is capable of really cool three-dimensional light shows. It’s Arduino-compatible and completely hackable, but you can also play with it without any programming knowledge. Or go really big and get the 16x16x16 cube. Check out the L3D Cube on Kickstarter.
The FITGuard is somewhat similar to another project I wrote about a while ago, the Jolt Sensor—it’s a concussion sensor designed to notify coaches or parents when an athlete has had a severe impact that could result in a concussion. However, the FITGuard is built into a mouthguard with indicator lights, making it even easier to see at a glance if an athlete should be pulled aside for evaluation. One concern for me, having fit my kids with mouthguards for roller derby, is whether these can be custom fit or if they just come in a few standard sizes, since there’s gadgetry built in. Still, it’s good to see companies taking on the issue of concussions and injuries in sports, and I’d like to see this trend continue. Check out the FITGuard on Indiegogo.