9 Inventions I Hope to See on Kickstarter in 2017

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Sock Pairing: One of the many fun parenting games.

Here at GeekDad we love Kickstarter. Whether it’s investigating the plethora of tabletop games out there or trying out the latest STEM toys, Kickstarter is geek heaven. Or at least, their wallet’s last resting place.

The site is filled with a host of brilliant and crazy inventions, not to mention quite a few brilliantly crazy ones. There are so many things I never knew I wanted. Nevertheless, there are a number of things that I do know I want. Inventors of the world, during 2017, please build me the following.

Self-Pairing Socks:

I would be horrified if I totaled the number of hours I spend sorting out the odd-sock pile. Three boys, all with similar tastes, and parents silly enough to buy DC hero socks in three different sizes. School socks are even worse; a monochrome morass of footwear.

We do try to buy different styles for each boy; school socks even have their names in, but some are inevitably handed on. How can the same socks end up so many different shades of gray?

What I need are socks that seek one another after washing, or perhaps pairing by Bluetooth. Whatever it is, some sort of homing hosiery is definitely required.

Toast. A great yet crummy snack.

Crumbless Toast:

My boys love toast. I love toast. You probably love toast. But why does it have to make so much mess? Our kitchen looks like there’s been a breadcrumb hurricane once the boys have finished their Sunday morning toast-fest. Bread that retained its integrity after grilling would be great please. See Also: Non-stick Jam (Jelly.)

It’s in here somewhere.

LEGO brick finder:

How much LEGO is too much LEGO? We have masses of these colorful, foot-killing, wonder-bricks in our house, yet somehow the children can never find the particular piece they need.

We have all our LEGO instructions lovingly kept in a box so that, should we ever need to, we can rebuild sets destroyed long ago in the mists of time. Our TIE-Fighter is but a faint whisper of memory amongst the stars. It’s all well and good having the instructions, but actually laying your hands on all the bricks to rebuild them is a task the gods would have balked at giving Sisyphus.

I did try to sort out the LEGO once, when we had a lot less than we do now. Weeks of painstaking sorting and cataloging, undone in one sweeping arm movement of a disgruntled seven-year old. I was naive back then. For now, we’re back endlessly scrabbling through boxes, subjecting the world to that nerve-shredding rattle of a million bricks clacking together, as we hunt for an elusive flat-sixer. If somebody could invent a way for me to easily find LEGO bricks, they’d instantly have my backing.

Computer Price Finder:

Yeah ok, there are thousands upon thousands of these sites, but what I want is one that doesn’t lie. When buying a ‘thing’ – lets randomly pick something, like, I don’t know, a boardgame – if the price appears too good to be true, then it probably is.

If you see”Pandemic Legacy 75% off retail price,” you know full well, it’s either out of stock, has postage of $172.30, or will turn out to be a Pandemic Legacy tea towel. What it won’t be is a purchasable copy of Pandemic Legacy.

But that’s just the tip of a huge and irritating iceberg. Let’s take price comparison websites. Here, you can check the price of your car insurance, home insurance, pet insurance, utility bills, and even the hours you’ve wasted on price comparison websites. (OK, maybe not the last one.)

Whatever I want to compare, there are always so many different tariffs and options that it’s impossible to work out which is actually the best deal. The ones that appear to a good deal, when you click on them turn out to be as available as that cheap copy of Pandemic Legacy. Some might offer me a free stuffed meerkat, but I don’t want a cheap stuffed animal, I want cheaper insurance.

I want a button that when pressed takes all the monthly payments, upfront charges, 6-month discounts, new member cashbacks, and tells me per month, overall, which is the cheapest. That shouldn’t be hard, should it?

The same goes for hotel bookings. Finding rooms for a family of five can tricky, but it’s not made any easier by websites that tell me that they have rooms available “from $77 per night,” when in reality it turns out to be $243 per night, with one of the children sleeping in the sink.

 

Price comparison websites. All equally useless.

Internet BS detector:

 

I think we all need one of these. Media bias and alternate facts are huge news at the moment, but I think we would all benefit from something that might jog us out of our outrage, and prick our confirmation bias. If we did, perhaps we could all get along a little better. (See Also: The Point of View Gun. One of the many Douglas Adams ideas that could do with becoming reality.) Here’s GeekDad Jonathan’s primer on how to start detecting the whiff of dodgy reporting. 

Clickbait Demystifier:

You know you shouldn’t click on it, but in a moment of weakness, you do. Imagine if there was a wrapper around clickbait links that told you what was really behind the button. “9 fuzzy shots of barely famous people. No 3 will leave you totally underwhelmed.” “13 tips that are of no use whatsoever. No. 6 will save you nothing.” The Clickbait Demystifier would save you time and make you laugh.

Clothes Picker-upper:

The Cat in the Hat has one of these, why can’t I? There are only so many times I can ask my children to pick their dirty pants up off the floor. Or perhaps there aren’t; I’ve  been asking for several years, and I’m still not tiring. Regardless of whether my patience is finite or infinite, every parent will surely agree, something that picks up the clothes and puts them in the wash bin would come pretty high on our wishlists. Bonus marks for inventing something that puts clean ironed clothes away in the wardrobe.

Wellington boots
Whether you call them Wellingtons, gum boots, or rain boots – they will come for our closet space one sole at a time. Photo: Frank C. Müller

Expandable Wellies:

If you came to our house, you’d be forgiven for thinking we were taking part in a breeding program for Wellington boots. They’re everywhere. In all different sizes. The thing with a welly boot is that it  never wears out. With shoes, sometimes you can hand them down to the next child in line, but generally they’ve been destroyed, particularly if your child has a scooter, balance bike, or spends every spare moment playing soccer on concrete.

Wellies though are made of rubber, and rubber is pretty tough. Even if you live in the legendarily wet British Isles, they just don’t wear out. Consequently, we have, lying somewhere around the house, just about every pair of wellies we’ve bought since 2007. Plus a few extras because, frankly, who can resist a plaintive request for some Batman boots? Wellies are cumbersome blighters and don’t pack away easily. They take up so much space.

One pair of Wellingtons that grew with your child would be wonderful. Protective footwear from 18 months – 18 years. Why stop there? Expandable romper suits, anyone?

Indicating Light Stick:

Often, as I sit at a busy roundabout watching the cars drive by, I think how helpful it would be if I knew which way they might be turning. If only there were some way drivers could let me know; if only there were a way to indicate it to me.

During these fevered foolish imaginings, I envisage a small lever on the side of the steering column that could be toggled in either direction. This would connect to a light on the car, that might flash to help me work out another driver’s intentions. It would make driving, safer, more efficient and generally more pleasant.

I think that idea has merit, but if such a thing existed, I bet almost nobody would use it.

So there you are, 9 not entirely serious things I’d like to see on Kickstarter in 2017. Which of life’s gripes would you like to see remedied by crowdfunding? Serious or not so serious, let us know in the comments below!

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