A massive amount of projects made their way on to Kickstarter throughout the year, with the technology section bursting at the seams with interested ideas and inventions from across the globe.
Here’s a list of the top ten Kickstarter tech campaigns that caught PCR’s eye during 2014:
PowerUp 3.0 paper plane
Paper plane enthusiasts will be pleased to hear there was a campaign to fund the PowerUp 3.0. This Bluetooth-enabled smart module can connect to an iPhone app to allow users to remotely control paper aeroplanes. Made of a propeller, rudder and chip, the crash-resistant carbon-fibre module means planes?can be piloted with a swipe of a thumb, faster and for longer than a standard throw.
The ARK wireless charger
Wireless charging is, ironically, still often limited by the charging mat needing to be plugged in. The ARK is part of a wave of “next generation” wireless chargers, which severs the last wire holding them back. Measuring 9cm by 9cm, the little square box’s battery can hold up to three full charges. Samsung Galaxy and Apple iPhone smartphones (with support for more devices planned) can be equipped with the compatible ‘patches’, meaning they need only to be laid on top of the device to begin charging. Bezalel, the firm behind the box, claims the ARK also charges devices up to 20 per cent quicker than existing mats.
IT seems smart TVs might not be smart enough. The SeeSpace InAiR brings a Minority Report-style viewing experience to televisions, allowing users to layer videos, images and text on top of the programme being watched. The box supports control via mobiles, tablets, Kinect and Leap Motion – with the latter two supporting motion control. The InAiR is designed to provide the same second-screen viewing experience of using a tablet or phone while watching TV, but without having to look away from the screen. The creators say they will issue an SDK and API to support future controllers and content delivery via the $99 (£59) device.
Created by musician Imogen Heap, the Mi.Mu is a smart Wi-Fi connected glove that senses the movement, position, direction and shape of a hand in order to control and create music. Designed to release artists from standing behind mixing desks and laptops, the handy creations can be set up to control a variety of factors – for instance, raising an arm can be set to introduce in a new beat, or pointing can relocate an audio mix. The high-tech gloves, which cost £1,200 each (or £2,400 for a pair), are designed to be used alongside traditional instruments on stage, with cut-off fingertips to allow the playing of other instruments and cut-out palms so handclaps won’t be muted.
Alex Yoo started a campaign to provide a compact media watching experience that he hopes will serve as a television replacement. The ODIN is a smart projector with a built-in Android 4.4 KitKat PC, Bluetooth speakers and Wi- Fi. The ODIN also includes a custom user interface designed to make viewing streaming content from services such as Netflix, Amazon Video Player and YouTube easy. Files from cloud services such as Dropbox can also be viewed through the device. Users can also plug an external source such as a games console into the device’s HDMI port to use it as a standard projector, or utilise ‘speaker mode’ to just output audio through two four-watt speakers. The six- inch long gadget will retail for $845 (£503).
KOR-FX Gaming Vest
Have you ever wanted to ‘feel’ every bullet and explosion while playing a video game? The KOR-FX Gaming Vest achieves just that by using 4DFX technology to transform the audio from your games or media into pinpoint high-definition haptic feedback, meaning you can feel your enemy’s vehicles approaching, or detect which direction a sniper is firing from. KOR-FX somewhat worryingly describes its vest as having the ability to produce an output that ‘echoes into your chest cavity’ to turn your body into an instrument.
The Slice is a media player with internal storage and a built-in Raspberry Pi. It connects to a TV via HDMI and can store and play back video, music and pictures in full HD. With its on-board storage, users can drag and drop media onto the Slice’s hard disk using a single USB connection from any Mac or Windows PC. Built on open technologies, Slice runs XBMC – popular open source media player software. Based on the newly released Raspberry Pi Compute Module, Slice can run many of the other operating systems that also work with the mini PC.
Digitsole is the first ever connected insole. It can be controlled via a smartphone and is designed to warm your feet as well as track your distance and calories. It can be charged via USB and comes with the dedicated Digitsole app, which connects to the insole with Bluetooth 4.0, allowing users to track their distance and warm their feet instantly. At the time of writing the Digitsole has already reached over $52,000 on Kickstarter.
The Ampy has been designed to capture kinetic energy when users move and then stores it, so users can recharge their smartphone on the go. The more the user actively moves, the more battery life they can get, for example, one hours’ worth of cycling can provide a smartphone with up to three hours of battery life. Power Practical has also designed the Pronto (pictured, far right), a charging device that aims to provide a full charge for an iPhone 5 in five minutes. The Pronto 5 features a 4500mAh battery and the Pronto 12 features a 13,500mAh, which can be charged in an hour to provide a device with up to nine recharges.
The Swiftpoint GT is a mouse that allows users to create touch gestures with their finger or wrist without the need for a touch screen. Users are able to flick and pan straight to where they want within a document, thanks to its touch technology. Plus, users also have the option of swapping between touch and click mode, if they prefer more precision. The Swiftpoint is compatible with Windows 7 and 8, as well as Android and Mac devices. It connects via Bluetooth and, weighing just 23g, its wireless design helps to further improve its portability.