This week in Kickstarterland – 2015-05-31

Welcome to another week in Kickstartland. Today we have penis tracking, muscle input, lots of lights, smelly alarms and a back button for your iPhone. There really were no stand-out projects this week. At least there were a few really crappy ones to laugh at.

CryptoSteel – This cold storage wallet is a low tech solution to a high tech problem. And a beautiful one at that.
Yotaphone 2 – Finally, a phone that uses its backside as an e-paper secondary display.
Ecoisme – Device power fingerprinting is pretty cool technology. There are a lot of people working on this but I haven’t seen a commercial product ready yet.
HidnSeek – The first GPS tracker I have seen using Sigfox as the backhaul network.
StoryHome – Just like ToyMail only longer audio and a slight twist on the marketing story.
Myoware – Use muscle signals as an input to your Arduino project.
DAD – Subscription fine art display frame. The concept of curated art distribution is not original but is perfectly ok. This project could have been done much cheaper as a Roku / Apple TV / etc application. The proof will be in the artwork they present and I suspect that will become a point of contention.
HeavyM – Map projections (via a projector) onto real and uneven surfaces for stunning effects and audio synchronisation. I love the french subtitles when I can barely understand the english audio.
Halo Back – A clever solution to an age old problem – iPhones don’t have a back button. I would probably have included a screen printed back icon.
WyLight – Sadly, they have priced themselves out of the market but I always like LED projects. I like their scripting concept.
Liteseeds – Stick-on LED lights for conductive ink, conductive thread or copper tape.
Jetcards – An automatic card dealer designed originally in 1890. Maybe if this was usable for poker it would get more interested. Maybe not. But I like it anyway.
Microduino mCookie – Another modular electronics kit, this time compatible with LEGO so you can build more interesting and interractive projects.
Optonaut – I like the product but I am not sure people have trouble with still photos or videos. There are plenty of other panoramic photo apps but a little 3D might be an interesting add-on. The joke in the FAQ wasn’t such a good idea: “Optonaut will be available for free. We’ll sell your data instead. Just kidding.”
Automous Desk / Taylor – I like the desk. It’s a good price for a solid product. But what the hell are they including Siri and a home automation hub into a desk? I am still not convinced they are going to deliver their other project Maya the Personal Robot.
ReVault Smartwatch – Wireless storage device in the form of a smart watch or pendant.
Light Phone – A credit card phone designed to be used as little as possible. Getting back to the old days before smart phones for some of the day.
GLO2 – The GravityLight is back with improvements and local (Kenya) assembly.

Left fielders

SensorWake – This is too weird to live in the main section above. It is an alarm clock which emits smells such as “American Breakfast”, “Candy Rush” and “Hot Croissant”.
Weather Beacon
– This is such a cute implementation of the NeoPixel weather stations we have all built for fun. I particularly love the piezo speaker.
NPT Lucid Dreamer – Use your penis to detect REM state and initiate lucid dreaming. Yep, that’s just the hardware I have been waiting for.
Algramo – A vending machine for buying in bulk and selling cheap to reduce the cost for poorer families. What is weird about this is they have raised $15,000 from their owners. Go IGG.


Friendly Fire Rockets – I am not sure which is more ludicrous; naming the product Friendly Fire or trying to sell military training toys on KS.
SelfiePICTEE – Clearly this guy doesn’t take himself or his product seriously but he also has a horrible sense of humour and timing.
Lifeboat – Battery charger and GPS tracker in one. How revolutionary. These guys have dibs on themselves … I don’t.
Pimpy – Yet another home (or “homie” as they call it) aggregator that doesn’t do anything at all. But it definitely has the worst possible name and a butt-ugly design.
Brush Effects – These idiots think that a feature length video and a 10,000 word essay will make up for the fact that they don’t even have a functional prototype or even a dentist advisor. Move on.
Musio – I fail to see how this is either a robot or AI.

And never forget, its only limited by your frigging imagination.


This week in Kickstarterland – 2015-05-19

Welcome to another massive week in Kickstarterland. I am embarassed to say how many projects I backed this week and clearly I am not alone. $9 computers, water filters, levitating light bulbs, lots more modular electronics kits, deconstructed kettles and TWO space programs.

A quick farewell to the Ninja Blocks team. Go forth and built great new stuff.

GoFar – An Aussie OBDII device and platform which tells you real time performance characteristics and guides you into your car’s sweet spot.
CHIP – This $9+ computer has caught people’s attention. Surprising given its really just a Pi with better marketing.
Kokoon – An affordable sleep assistant plus noise cancelling Bluetooth headphones.
Phree – A 3D pen-shaped mobile input device using fricking laser beams.
Naked Filter – Winners of Tech Crunch Disrupt NY 2015 they are using nanofibres to filter water.
Atmoph – A digital window, this time in 4K with recorded and live streaming content from around the world. Great use of colour to manipulate the viewer.
Nuimo – A nicely designed smart home controller. Very similar to the late Ninja Blocks.
Weatherpoint – A weather station on a keychain. Four environmental sensors powered by your smartphone audio plug.
Makey Makey Go – It’s back, now plug and play.
iMbrief – Briefcase with GPS, Bluetooth, battery digital stoage and fingerprint scanner.
Flyte – A totally gorgeous levitating induction light bulb. Stupidly expensive unfortunately.
The Sound Torch – Synchronise audio with fire. Awesome but I hope they have good insurance. The first campaign I have seen with an 18 month delivery promise.
Halo – Another connected smoke alarm. This time with promises of extra safetiness.
Lumkani – Networked fire detector for high density slums, shacks and shantee towns.
Oak – Finally after four versions Digistump have built an Arduino compatible Electric Imp.
Modulo – A plug-and-play platform agnostic modular dev kit.
Cubit – Another plug and play platform this time with a drag and drop software interface. Now you don’t need hardware OR software skills.
LightUp Faraday – Welcome back LightUp, the original littleBits clone! Now with more software.
MakerBloks – Another littleBits clone. Why do they all claim to be the first? Why does it bother me so much?
SmartMatrix – We haven’t seen a LED display in quite a while. I always enjoy these projects.
Sprite – A rugged drone helicopter.
Lily – After many delays, Lily has finally launched but is still not shipping until next year. At least it is lovely. I really like the water-launch. Without collision avoidance it is going to have some issues.
Reach – Tiny RTK GPS module built on the Intel Edison.
Kien – A flexible wireless sound system that can be split into parts or used as a group. A very new way of thinking about sound.
Miito – A new way to boil water. Sort-of a deconstructed induction kettle.

Left Fielders

Space Coffee Cup – Buy yourself a cup designed for drinking coffee in microgravity environments. Yep, a space cup.
LightSail – Help send a cubesat up to space to test a solar sail. Will go up with SpaceX’s first flight. Brought to you by Bill Nye and the Planetary Society.
Thongarang – Showing the true face of Australians, this little beauty probably won’t return if thrown.
Fizzics – Redefining the perfect beer poor and giving the best head around.
Hub+ – For everyone that hates Apple for putting one USB-C port on their new laptop.
Crescendo – A flexible bendy vibrator for flexible bendy couples and women with personalised vibration patterns.


MedWand – A remote medical data collector for telemedicine patients. I am not convinced by “doctors” with bow ties who uses words like “catastrophic”. The cheese factor is off the chart with this one.
Way – Why would anybody buy this stupid product? Is it because someone is wearing a white coat?
Hook – A cheap-arse home controller kit / universal remote control for cheap arses with cheap arse RF controlled home automation systems.

This week in Kickstarterland – 2015-05-04

Welcome to a bumper week in Kickstarterland and May the Forth be with you. We have a record number of Shitstarts this week, from all around the world. But there are still some shining highlights in luggage, smartphone cases and connected bike bedals.

Barracuda – It has been a while since we have seen a runaway luggage project. What a battle they are fighting.
nexpaq – A modular smartphone case. Depending on the utility of the modules, this could be great.
Connected Pedal – Gyro powered GPS tracker with a built-in global GSM, all built into a securely attached bike pedal. I have to say, they appear to have thought of everything.
Playbrush – I think this looks a bit off (or maybe just a bit unpolished) but it can’t be worse than the status quo. Anything to get the kids to brush more regularly is worth trying.
Parcel Nest – A pretty good solution to an annoying problem. It still doesn’t help for signature-required packages, its a bit big and ugly and it’s a bit uncalled-for to blame the postal service if you can’t be home to receive a package.
MetaWear – They are back this time with a sensor-packed version of their Bluetooth wearable.
Bluz – Another Bluetooth development kit built on the new Spark Cloud. I like the use of small cheap gateway to bridge to the internet. Not quite the same as direct Wifi but has the advantages of lower power.
Ikawa Home Roaster – For the coffee nuts amongst us, you can now roast your own coffees. Your house will smell awesome. It’s basically a popcorn machine!
Orbit1 – Hey, if you can roast coffee at home then you should be able to electroplate at home!
Bruno – A clever add-on to your standard rubbish bin but slightly over priced for the real world.
nScope – A breadboard oscilliscope, function generator and power supply all driven by hackable software. Clever kiddies.
Meld – Like Lockitron for cooking. A control loop between the cooktop nob and the temperature in the pot.
Awire – I am not really sure there is a need for a UHF radio app but it can’t hurt to find out.
Countertop – A super smart digital scale that will control your health, happiness and cooking skills. Whatever.
Zensors – Use a smartphone or webcam to measure stuff happening in front of it and alert on changes to questions you ask. A clever integration mechanism.
Oomi – Another home automation kit, this time driven from a custom tablet-size remote control and a “cube” hub. This is another nice one but the market is getting seriously fragmented.
BuzWiz – My favourite! A big red button!

Left Fielders

CH4 – This guy is really trying to sell a fart tracker prototype.
Hop Theory – Turn shit beer into good beer by infusing flavours into it like tea.
Remix – A vaping hooka just looks so 2095. The advertising however is totall 1975. Cool men and sexy women doing cool things while smoking.


Revolar – I don’t see how alerting your friends improves your safety. Sure, it might help you get out of a mess after the fact. Plus the odds are pretty good that your smartphone is the target of the attack.
UnitFi – Another dreamer who thinks Kickstarter is a license to print money but doesn’t want to give up his secrets.
Grinder gadget – WTF? Who brings a tablet to the poker table to intentionally distract themselves from playing too many hands.
Advicy – The product is sort-of interesting but too expensive. But they went WAY overboard with the cheesy heartstrings, music and voice-over.
Feelreal – You couldn’t pay me to put my head in that contraption. Sensorama was invented in the 70s by Samuel L. Bronkowitz and it lives on in Feelreal.
Ottobox – Good on him for trying but it would help if he had invented something that doesn’t already exist. Keep your eye on this kid though. If he doesn’t end up in trouble for false advertising (claiming 50% savings is not a good idea) he will build the next Nest.
Udoo Neo – If you can’t choose the best hardware for your project, just put them all in! Pi + Duino, Wifi + BT, plus some sensors. Hardly the size of a credit card, really.
Coral – Underwater video camera to detect drowing children. I have a much better idea, build a fence! This is a shitty product AND shitty video.
GeniCan – Way to steal Hiku’s ideas from start to finish. Good luck fullfilling the promises you made like aisle-by-aisle ordering and supermarket integration.

And remember, its only limited by your frigging imagination.