Our Kickstarter Picks For July 2012
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 crowd-funding "renaissance" of sorts. Indie gaming and hardware developers are seeing crowd-funding’s true potential and taking their projects to Kickstarter.There’s been plenty of cool tech and gaming projects hitting Kickstarters as of late. We’ve taken the liberty of compiling a few Kickstarters that have caught our eyes and think are worthy of your attention and wallet. Keep in mind that Kickstarters only have a certain window of time to raise funds, so unfortunately, 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 that 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.]
Sometimes, I wish that my smartphone could do more.I’m aware I can already do light years with my phone than what I could do a decade ago, but as an insatiable Generation Z-er, I always want more.Yes, I want to push my over-reliance on technology to the point that smartphone technology becomes Skynet-esque and every Luddite across the world is waving their fists at me in an “Look-what-you’ve-done” manner. I like to live dangerously.If my smartphone already tells me how to get somewhere and when to wake up in the morning, why can’t it also help me out with other mundane tasks in my life?The Sensordrone seeks to fix at least some of these issues. It’s a flash-drive-sized sensor that can detect for a large number of different things. It can connect to your smartphone via an app, and keep you updated on whatever you tell it to. For instance, the Sensordrone has an air quality checker, which can be tuned to give you the latest updates on the carbon monoxide levels in your house, lest you have a gas leak of some sort. You can even use the Sensordrone to detect water levels in your pet fish’s water tank, so that you can keep Nemo’s home in optimal condition. The Sensordrone will be supported on the Android platform first, with iOS and Blackberry support coming when the device officially launches in Fall 2012.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/453951341/sensordrone-the-6th-sense-of-your-smartphoneand-beMinimum Contribution for Product: $175Expiration Date: July 21, 2012
Tired of everyone’s stereotypical Facebook “one arm outstretched with duck face” profile pictures? The eyeCLICK probably can’t help with the sorostitute duck faces, but it certainly can help with that “outstretched arm” part. The eyeCLICK is a remote that wirelessly connects to your iPhone (I’m assuming via bluetooth) and adapts the concept of a camera shutter remote. If you choose to throw in a few extra bucks, the eyeCLICK also comes with a “HD lens”, which is a bit of a misnomer. It simply redirects the back facing camera on the phone to the front, so you won’t have to use the sucky, lower-res front facing camera that the iPhone is equipped with. So now you can actually see what you’re taking pictures of without having to use the rear camera.And hey, if you’re a hobbyist/psuedo-pro photographer, the eyeCLICK might come in handy when you want to take a picture on the go without “bumping” your artistically-framed shots.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/656400238/eyeclick-iphone-4-4s-camera-remote-0?ref=categoryMinimum Contribution for Product: $30 (without HD lens)Expiration Date: July 28, 2012
Don’t get turned off by the name. OMFG Lights is actually a pretty cool project that might be worth your time if you’re into lights and definitely worth your time if you’re a fire poi enthusiast or spinner. Spinning fire poi is all well and good, but it’s exclusively an outside activity unless you want to catch everything you’ve ever loved on fire. John New of Florida wants to bring fire poi to the indoors by building LED poi. So fire poi spinners, you can be the cool guy at the rave parties. He plans on having these LED poi be programmed with 40-60 different presets of strobes and patterns, so LED poi spinners can have plenty of options to choose from if they don’t feel like getting hands on with an arduino. However, the OMFG Lights will be programmable via mini-USB.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/891718383/omfg-lights?ref=categoryMinimum Contribution for Product: $200Expiration Date: July 28, 2012
Brian Noah’s Speech Dictionary project has a loftier goal than simply satisfying a first world problem or a material need. Instead, this project’s inspired by his father, who lost his ability to speak to a stroke.The Speech Dictionary is meant to be an adult version of a picture dictionary for those with aphasia. Rather than be filled with childish cartoons, the Speech Dictionary will run on an iPad, and give real pictures for aphasia patients to study and remember how words are pronounced.Although ultimately the Speech Dictionary will be free and you won’t really be getting anything for putting money into the project, you’ll be putting money to a good cause.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/briannoah/speech-dictionary?ref=categoryMinimum Contribution for Product: $1Expiration Date: July 21, 2012
Equiso Smart TV
I’ve always thought smart TVs were excessive, since you can have everything on your smart TV at your fingertips with your phone or tablet. (Yes, this is coming from me, the same person who just wanted more out of her smartphone a few slides back.) However, to each their own.The only issue with owning a smart TV is cost. One of those babies can almost run you a thousand at the minimum and if you’re on a budget, that’s just not viable.The Equiso Smart TV aims to be an affordable and portable version of a Smart TV without you ever needing to even buy a smart TV.Essentially, it’s a dongle that plugs into your TV via HDMI that grants it smart TV capabilities. A wireless remote comes with the dongle that allows you to interact with your newly acquired smart TV. The Equiso runs Android 4.0 and has 8 GB of internal memory to allow you to save apps and settings. You’re not restricted to apps, as the remote will allow you to play any games that run on Ice Cream Sandwich as well. The best part about the Equiso is that it’s portable. I don’t see anyone with an actual smart TV being able to carry them in their pockets. The Equiso lets you take your smart TV to your friend’s house, if you so pleased.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/2028163448/equiso-smart-tv-turn-any-tv-into-a-smart-tv?ref=categoryMinimum Contribution for Product: $55Expiration date: July 27, 2012
Despite the cringe-worthy, New Age, “we’re so hip” spelling of its name, the TAKTIK is actually a neat option for a “rugged” iPhone protection case. The Otterbox, probably the most recognizable rugged iPhone case by name, unfortunately doesn’t offer a built in protection screen.Although the gorilla glass cover on the TAKTIK isn’t “built-in” either, they do offer a cover that comes with the case. The actual phone case is actually screwed in around your phone to ensure that it doesn’t come apart due to physical trauma. The TAKTIK doesn’t just offer shock protection, but also gore resistance. Don’t get any bright ideas to start attacking people with your phone to test out this “gore resistance” just yet. While the TAKTIK won’t survive a trip into the depths of your toilet, it’s got you covered on small spills. There’s always that joke that people always buy a beautiful smartphone, but end up covering it up to protect it. Then, at the end of two years, they’re left holding a beautiful smartphone that they never got to look at because they want to protect it. And nobody else wants to buy it because it’s now considered “used.” I don’t have this problem, since I’m a proud Droid Incredible bearer, and by the gods, HTC builds these things like tanks. However, iPhones, for all their beauty, have to be treated daintily lest you break its pretty face. If you don’t want to risk it and put a cover over it, why not pick something that looks like MechWarrior-esque armor for your phone?
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1104350651/taktik-premium-protection-system-for-the-iphone?ref=categoryMinimum Contribution for Product: $75Expiration date: July 20, 2012
Mobile gaming is cool. Virtual d-pads are not.I’ve always thought that there ought to be a set standard for a physical controller for mobile platforms. Obviously, Apple would never let that happen, but I can dream.You might point to the OnLive controller or other physical gamepads that connect to tablets via Bluetooth as possible physical controllers for mobile gaming, but I doubt that that’s the solution. How can you advance gaming that has “mobile” in the title, yet your left carrying a clunky console-sized controller around anytime you want to seriously game? Nope, the mobile platform needs some sort of gamepad revolution. The Ringbow might not be the answer to the problem, but it’s definitely a start. Though it looks like a cyberpunk Ringpop, it’s a physical controller with “d-pad” that can be operated by your thumb. Though it looks gimmicky and a bit clumsy to use alongside gaming, it’s an interesting concept that I think can be further iterated upon to form a viable standard for the actual mobile “gamepad”... if I can even call it that. Ringpad, maybe?
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/669350010/ringbow-next-generation-gaming-accessory?ref=categoryMinimum Contribution for Product: $45Expiration date: July 22, 2012
One of the most annoying things about exercising, besides the fact that you actually have to do it, is that you have to monitor your heart rate to see if you’re actually doing a good job when you hit the gym.Unfortunately, there’s really no convenient way to do it unless you’re pressing your fingers up against a heart rate watch. Even then, you have to slow down your workout because it takes coordination to poke those two heart rate measurement things.However, Liz Dickinson, the lady behind the original heart rate measuring watch is back with the ALPHA. It’s a strapless watch that you can attach to your wrist. It’ll measure your heart rate accurately through your wrist using electro-optical technology. It’s been adapted to allow you to run past speeds of 12 mph and still measure your heart rate accurately. (Believe me, unless you’re a pretty damned good athlete, you won’t be running at sustained speeds of 12 mph. You just won’t.) The watch is waterproof so that swimmers won’t be left out. The ALPHA runs on a 12 hour lithium-ion battery that you can easily recharge via USB. And hey, if you’re knocking this entry because you don’t exercise, maybe dropping a few bucks on a heart rate watch and seeing how dismal your resting heart rate is might inspire you to actually start getting on the treadmill.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/alphaheartrate/alpha-the-holy-grail-of-heart-rate-look-ma-no-hand?ref=categoryMinimum Contribution for Product: $169Expiration date: August 8, 2012 - so you have well over a month to think about your lifestyle choices
Hone for iPhone 4S
If you’re a scatterbrained fool like me, Hone might easily become your best friend.Between carrying my wallet, my jangle of keys, and my phone in my pockets, at least one of them gets misplaced at some point everyday. It’s a praise-baby-Jesus-miracle if I can make it out my front door in the morning without having to double-back because I forgot so-and-so.Even though phones are pretty damn hard to lose because you can always have one of your friends call, you... can’t exactly do that with your keys. Hone is a small attachment that goes on your keychain. It works with a companion app on your iPhone to help you “hone” into where your keys are. Basically, you’re playing a game of hot-or-cold with your phone to help you find your keys. It’s like a little game of hide-and-seek with your keys.The best thing is that the Hone can go for prolonged amounts of time before losing charge. The developers claim 6 months a charge, so it might be best at that six month duration to remember to charge your Hone. Otherwise, it’s probably a good time to start praying to St. Anthony to help you find your lost keys.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/690528216/hone-for-miphone-4s-never-lose-your-keys-again?ref=categoryMinimum Contribution for Product: $49’Expiration date: July 16, 2012
Pics are the ick that you don’t take with the Kick.Sorry, I saw the opportunity to be a consonance prat, so I couldn’t help myself.While your digital camera is probably decent enough, you probably won’t be using it to take any pictures you want to show off to your Photo major friend without feeling ashamed of yourself. Chances are, it’s because the auto white balance on your camera is crap. Everything you take pictures of either looks the wrong shade or washed out. Fortunately, the Kick is here to help. It’s a small, camera-sized lighting studio that you can carry with you on your photo shoots... as long as you bring your iPhone with you.There’s a companion app that connects to the Kick wirelessly to allow you to choose the Kick’s LED’s color on-the-fly. What I think is awesome is that you can point your phone’s camera at a light source, such as a candle, and allow the Kick to emulate it. Yes, that means you can point your camera at a YouTube video of a candle flicker and have the Kick light that while you shoot a scene. Imagine the potential of using multiple Kicks at a rave party then...
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1918868829/the-kick-a-pocket-sized-lighting-studio-for-photo?ref=categoryMinimum Contribution for Product: $99 (no WiFi) $149 (WiFi)Expiration date: July 17, 2012
Before I get to introducing CLANG, let me introduce the mind behind the project.Neal Stephenson. The legendary science fiction author behind works such as Snow Crash, The Diamond Age, Cryptomicon, Anathem, and most recently Reamde. If you don’t know who he is, you ought to be ashamed of yourself and get yourself to a library right quick.Well, Neal Stephenson’s tired of just being an author, and now fancies making a sword-fighting game. Unfortunately, sword-fighting games are fairly primitive, since there’s just no good way of translating sword duels to videogame form... unless you count Skyward Sword. Stephenson aspires to take sword-duelling games to the next level with CLANG, as it’ll feature a third-party motion controller and realistic dueling techniques.The gaming industry is heavily in need of some innovation to get it out of the creative rut that it’s currently in, as most games build off of already-proven gameplay mechanics. Why not take a gamble on a game that’ll take sword fighting to the next level? I know the kid in you wants to see this come to fruition.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/260688528/clang?ref=categoryMinimum Contribution for Product: $25Expiration Date: July 8, 2012 - get your contributions in soon
The Living: 30 Days to Survive
Ah geez, not another zombie game.However, derivative the name 30 Days to Survive might sound, The Living is actually a neat concept for a zombie game. It builds off the innovative foundations that ArmA II mod DayZ has set down in terms of de-emphasizing the ‘zombie’ in a zombie game.Instead, The Living runs in real time, so players will actually spend 720 hours attempting to survive against zombies. Your character will require food, water, and shelter to survive. The game has no quests, as everything is driven by emergent narrative. After the end of every 30 days, the game will be reset and yet another 30 days of survival will happen. Essentially, it’s DayZ without having to pay the $30 required to get ArmA II: Combined Operations. However, I think I’ll be throwing money at it just to see how a zombie game handles survival without being restricted by the ArmA II engine.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/598052931/the-living-30-days-to-survive?ref=categoryMinimum Contribution for Product: $0, since the game is free-to-play, but giving money gives you perks in-game as you start.Expiration date: July 20, 2012
The shooter market’s getting a little stale. I vie for the days of fast-paced, old-school shooters where things weren’t bogged down by that pesky thing called realism.Retrovirus seeks to be one of those fast-paced shooters to hit the market. It’s a multiplayer six-axis shooter with the usual modes of Team Deathmatch, Deathmatch, etc. However, what I think makes it unique isn’t the fact that it’s an old-school shooter, but that it also has a MOBA multiplayer mode. Yes, you have to fend off enemies coming at your turrets in first person with your character.If that’s not a cool, innovative concept to kickstart (no pun intended) some innovation in the FPS market, then I don’t know what is. Unfortunately, Retrovirus only has a few days counting down until its fundraising period closes. It’s only one-third of its way to its goal. Help keep hope alive and encourage Cadenza’s creativity by throwing a few bucks their way.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cadenzainteractive/retrovirusMinimum Contribution for Product: $15Expiration date: July 6, 2012 - ends soon! Get your money in!
Tabletop enthusiasts, lend me your ears!I’m fully aware that there are multiple virtual tabletop platforms readily available at your disposal. (I’m looking at you Skype.)However, what if you could have a virtual platform that allows you to have all the necessary tools for you to play a tabletop game in one place? Tabletop Forge is meant to try and aggregate tabletop games to the Google+ platform, allowing players to use virtual dice, virtual character sheets, and other required items for their tabletop game while playing with friends using Google+ hangouts.Though, technically you don’t have to pay for Tabletop Forge to play, donating to the cause gives you virtual perks for tabletop forge that you won’t be able to get. Tabletop Forge will attempt to support both mainstream and indie tabletop developers, so you’ll be able to play your favorite tabletop games, no matter how widespread they are.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/joshuha/tabletop-forge-the-virtual-tabletop-for-google-han?ref=categoryMinimum Contribution for Product: $0, however donating to the cause gives you virtual packs for tabletop forgeExpiration date: July 8, 2012
Super Retro Squad
Remember Super Mario Crossover? Yeah, the game where you can play as Simon Belmont or Bill Rizer in the Super Mario universe? Well, the same minds behind that project have decided to start yet another tribute to retro games. This time, Exploding Rabbit’s decided to use their own characters so that they can actually profit off the game. Although the game seems quite similar to Super Mario Crossover, it has original gameplay and content. Even if you’re not convinced, as least help them out as a token of appreciation for bringing Super Mario Crossover to the world.
http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/explodingrabbit/super-retro-squad?ref=categoryMinimum Contribution for Product: $15Expiration date: July 18, 2012