Although Kickstarter’s been around for quite a few years, it’s only recently garnered widespread attention with the successes of the Double Fine Adventure and Wasteland 2 projects. As a result, there's been a crowdfunding "renaissance" of sorts. Indie gaming and hardware developers are seeing crowdfunding’s true potential and taking their projects to Kickstarter.
There’s been plenty of cool tech and gaming projects hitting Kickstarter as of late. We’ve taken the liberty of compiling a few projects that have caught our eyes, and might be worthy of your attention (and wallet). Keep in mind that Kickstarter projects only have a certain window of time to raise funds, so most of the projects you see featured here will only last through June.
Also, if you think there are more awesome Kickstarter projects out there that we haven't talked about yet, please let us know in the comments!
[Remember: When backing a Kickstarter project, you are taking a financial risk. We cannot guarantee that any of the projects featured here will come to their fruition.]
Set aside your Rock band and Guitar Hero, for you’ll need it no longer. Instead of pressing five plastic buttons to simulate playing the guitar, you’ll actually be able to play with the help of the gTar.
The gTar’s a guitar that’s fully equipped with LEDs under every fret that light up to show you which notes to play.
The only drawback is that you’ll need to be an iPhone 4/4S user in order to get the gTar to actually work (although the developers are hoping to integrate other portable devices soon.) The gTar app syncs with the gTar... guitar to allow you to select which songs you want to learn. It’ll light up each fret as you play, making sure that you play the right note before it moves on to the next.
Now, before you bring up any comparisons to Rocksmith, just think... can you take Rocksmith with you outside, where you’ll potentially draw curious people interested in your guitar playing skills, your cool gadget, and potentially... you?
Minimum Contribution for Product: $399 (early bird), $450 regular
Expires: June 25, 2012
While the Android home screen isn’t ugly by any means, it’s not exactly your eyes’ best friend, either. The mix of icons and widgets usually end up clashing into a non-uniform, cluttered mess, making it hard to navigate without having to do a lot of searching.
However, unlike the iPad, Android tablets aren’t locked down tight. The home screen is, thankfully, customizable... and you don’t even have to root your tablet to do it.
The Chameleon provides an alternative Android home screen for Android tablet users to use. It adopts a streamlined and uniform theme for your home screen, while still being customizable. Perhaps its coolest feature is its ability to recognize different networks and associate a home screen for each network, so you can have your home screen completely change depending on if you’re at the office or at home.
The Chameleon isn’t the only home screen alternative out there, but it's a great option that we recommend to those who aren’t Android power users that may want to create a completely customized home screen.
Minimum Contribution for product: $5
Expires: June 15, 2012
While the MaKey MaKey isn’t going to satisfy a pressing need of any sort, the concept was so unique that we deemed it worthy to include on this list.
The MaKey maKey is a circuit board kit that allows you make a working key out of any conductible surface using alligator clips. considering most surfaces in the home can conduct electricity, the possibilities are endless (see: bananas).
If that’s not enough for more hardcore geeks, the board is also a fully functioning programmable Arduino board.
The project pitch features bananas and a flight of stairs being used as pianos... what do you think you’ll be able to do with the MaKey MaKey kit?
Minimum Contribution for product: $35
Expires: June 12, 2012
Plugging things into a laptop can be a bit of a pain. The ports are often located in the most inconvenient of places that are hard to get to, especially if there’s already a snarl of wires running to your laptop.
The W1PPs attempts to solve this problem for the MacBook. It’s an extra attachment that plugs into the side of your Mac and integrates all of the MacBook’s ports onto an external hub that you can have face you, allowing you to plug all your cords into one neat location. At the end of the day, instead of unplugging six different attachments to your laptop, you can just unplug one.
Unfortunately, such a product is only possible on the macBook due to the non-standardization of Windows-based laptops.
Minimum Contribution for product: $112
Expires: June 11, 2012
Yes, the Arctic Flight is yet another iPad stand. Though we did feature the Brydge Laptop iPad last month, the Arctic Flight addresses a whole different set of issues that may crop up when working with Apple's tablet.
The Arctic Flight is a hands-free iPad stand that allows you to tilt your iPad without having to make any adjustments to the stand itself. It also allows a little tuck room for a wireless keyboard to sit in, if you so desire.
However, that’s not what makes the Arctic Flight unique. As its name suggests, the Arctic Flight is designed for iPad use on long flights. If the small table provided on flights cramps up your style you can fold it up with the Arctic Flight peeking out to allow iPad use. It’s definitely a boon for anyone whose career revolves around traveling.
Minimum Contribution for product: $75
Expires: June 19, 2012
Let me preface this by saying that the Etcher is just a regular iPad case with an Etch-a-Sketch-shaped outer shell.
No, no. That’s already been done before.
The Etcher is an iPad protector that allows you to play Etch-a-Sketch on your iPad. Those knobs aren’t just for show. The entire thing works in the same way as a regular Etch-a-Sketch... you even shake your iPad to get rid of your sketches (although we recommend that you don’t get too enthusiastic with the shaking.)
The Etcher also removes most of the frustrations of a regular Etch-a-Sketch. Before, you’d have to rely on prayers or surgeon hands to try and show your friends the cool things you drew on an Etch-a-Sketch. No longer. The marvels of modern technology allow you to share your sketches with your friends via a social network, so you can prove that you’re totally awesome at drawing via twisting around two knobs.
Minimum Contribution for product: $60
Expires: June 8, 2012
Styluses for tablets are generally unwieldy and uncomfortable to use. Often, the capacitive tip is fat and rubbery to have the screen register pen strokes. You’re usually forced to hold the stylus in a way that awkwardly crunches your hand, lest a stray finger or part of your palm be registered by the screen as you’re writing or drawing. The stylus experience makes you think that sometimes, the good old pen-and-paper way might just be the best way to do things.
The TABU DUO is a notetaking/drawing app and a stylus in one. The TABU DUO stylus has two different ends that the app registers as the writing point and the eraser. The stylus is meant to mimic the experience of writing with pen and paper, so if you make a mistake, you don’t have to switch over to the eraser tool in app. You can just flip the stylus over and “erase.”
The Tabu Paper app is also made to ignore hand gestures when you’re using the stylus, allowing you to hold the stylus as you would a regular pen, without worrying about how your palm will monstrously destroy your work of art.
Minimum Contribution for Product: $25
Expires: June 2, 2012 - so get it quickly.