Here's a look at nine tech projects that didn't simply meet their Kickstarter goals, but soared right past them. The running theme? If you can nail both form and function you're ahead of the game.--Christina DesMarais
This sleek e-ink smartwatch syncs with your iPhone or Android smartphone and can do things like vibrate when you get an email, show you calendar information, display incoming caller IDs and text messages, as well as tell you how fast you’re running or how far you’ve biked. Pebble also lets you control the music on your phone, switch out the clock face, and even swim with it on.
There's a lot to like about this sleek, Android-based gaming console. For one thing, it's much cheaper than a PlayStation 3 or XBox 360--it will run $109 once it starts shipping next April. Ouya seeks to lure developer talent away from mobile platforms since programmers already know how Android works and won’t have to buy a license or expensive software development kit. To get their games added to the Ouya marketplace they’ll only need to make sure some aspect of gameplay is free.
Here's one for creative types: An inventor kit that lets people use non-tech materials--literally almost anything you could think of--to control things on their computer. So, for example, you could turn Play-Doh into a game controller or stairs into piano keys. The simple kit comes with a circuit board, alligator clips, and a USB cable. Check out the promo video for MaKey MaKey on Kickstarter. In it, a guy plays “Dance Dance Revolution” by splashing his feet in buckets of water, a messy but hilarious endeavor.
Who knew that charging an iPhone with a dock was such a sticking point with Apple fans? Most other docks on the market don't work with phone cases, and when you try to undock the whole thing comes off the table, requiring the use of two hands. Not with the Apple-esque Elevation Dock--it’s heavy enough to stay put and the 30-pin connection is “low-friction,” meaning the phone slips out easily.
Apple’s iPod Nano is undeniably magical. There’s only one downside to clipping the Nano onto your shorts and taking off for a run: To switch songs or playlists you still need to look at its little face and tap the screen.
Instead of running head down or having to unclip the Nano, these watch straps keep your device visible and touchable. The TikTok features a simple snap-in design and the LunaTik (shown here) is a more expensive version that you screw together around the iPod Nano so you can use it as a watch full time.
Check out the simplicity of this miniscule device. To turn it on, you twist and lift the cap and the more you do so, the louder it amps--up to 80dB. HiddenRadio works with Bluetooth-enabled smartphones, tablets and computers, and uses rechargeable batteries that will keep it streaming music for more than 30 hours. If your device doesn’t have Bluetooth you can connect it via the HiddenRadio’s 3.5mm audio input. There’s a radio in there, too.
Everyone loves the iPad, but for work it’s not as good as a laptop. Just try tapping out a report for your boss using your touchscreen--you won’t do it for long. Sure there are plenty of keyboards on the market for Apple’s insanely popular tablet, but Brydge is different.
With an anodized aesthetic that matches the iPad, the two appear to be one device. Brydge’s hinge hangs on to the tablet tightly and offers close to 180 degrees of positioning, just like your laptop. When closed, the Brydge-iPad duo is about the same thickness as a Macbook Air.
Remee is no ordinary eye mask. Instead of helping you fall asleep, it helps you have a lucid dream--one in which you know you’re dreaming. Fly. Do gymnastics. Swim underwater without coming up for air. Visit Australia. Bitbanger Labs claims its eye mask will you help you do it all in your dreams by flashing six red LEDs that "stimulate your visual field."
This wireless sensor square can do things like tweet you when your laundry is done drying or text you if someone opens your front door. You’d never know from looking at it, but it’s got an internal temperature sensor, an internal accelerometer (for vibration, impact, and motion detection), a magnetic switch (useful for doors and anything else that moves), and a moisture sensor. To use it, you go to a Web app to set up rules for what kind of message it should send you if one of the sensors is tripped. Twine also can send you email messages if that’s your preferred medium.