I can't honestly claim to be an old-school fan of Shadowgate, because when it was first published for the Macintosh in 1987, I was -2 months old. The original game was one of the first dungeon crawlers, advancing the player from room to room in a text-driven role-playing game that focuses on puzzles over combat, ruthlessly killing the player if he or she makes a misstep or doesn't keep enough torches around. It was kind of like Dark Souls, but with a greyscale color palette. Shadowgate is simple by modern PC and console standards, but its intricate worldbuilding and devious puzzles have made it a minor classic in the genre.
Stop me if you've heard this one before: an ambitious group of hardware creators has an idea for an Android-based gaming console, but they need your help to complete it. Yes, the ZRRO sounds a lot like many other Android set-top boxes that have cropped up over the last few years. But wait, there's more! This one includes a touch-based controller... that works a lot like a remote smartphone. Without the screen.
OK, maybe that's being a bit unfair. ZRRO's Pad does use some interesting technology to track the position of your thumbs as you hold them above the controller (up to 1.2 inches from the touchpad), and displays both of them with a pair of custom cursors.
There are a lot of weird convergence devices that have come and gone (and often gone nowhere) on fundraising platforms, but the Beam is probably unique. It's a combination Android-based computer and pico projector that fits in and is powered by a standard light bulb socket, allowing users to set up a small projector and/or media machine in some unconventional places. The campaign has reached and surpassed its $200,000 funding goal on Kickstarter with more than three weeks left before the end of the campaign, meaning it will (hopefully) go into production and be ready for backers in October of this year.
It's Friday afternoon, you've been breaking your back all week at work, and you can't wait to kick back with a cold, frosty beverage. You can't bring yourself to walk into the regular bars where your choices consist of Coors and Coors Light, and your favorite beer house just ran out of the Fuzzy Baby Ducks IPA. You could pick up a sixer from the store, but that just doesn't have the gravitas to impress your friends when they swing by later. Hey, you should homebrew your own beer! But, who has the time to learn and set it all up?
The MOTA SmartRing has reached its $100,000 funding goal on Indiegogo, so the leagues of people who pledged support for this Bluetooth-connected notification ring can now look forward to receiving their finished product in the spring of next year. And by leagues of people, we mean roughly thirteen hundred, of which around a hundred folks just want T-shirts. A thousand people said they were willing to pay at least $60 to own one of these snazzy rings, which isn't much when we're talking about hardware.
Pebble's Kickstarter campaign resulted in close to 70,000 people calling dibs on one. By comparison, the SmartRing appears to have as many pre-orders as a college yearbook.
The excitement around the Pressy Kickstarter campaign, which shows a tiny device and app that occupied a headphone port to add an extra hardware button to your phone, is reaching a fever pitch. Like so many ambitious Kickstarter projects before them, the creators have missed their original March ship date, but it looks like they're closing in on the finish line.
According to the latest update sent to backers, production has begun at Pressy's Chinese hardware partner, and the first of 40,000 Pressy buttons will be shipped starting on April 28th. Delivery is expected sometime in mid-May. But that's only the first of two big items of news that came with this update.
A multicolored lamp that's controllable via an Android app isn't a new idea. Neither is a Bluetooth speaker, or a specialized USB device charger. But combining them all together seems like a pretty nifty approach, and more than 400 Kickstarter backers would seem to agree. The Luma lamp, which combines the features of the Phillips Hue and similar multi-color, connected lamps, a Bluetooth speaker, and a basic charger, has reached its $55,000 Kickstarter goal with almost a whole month left in the campaign.
The "million color" multi-colored light can be controlled with the Android and iOS app, which also allows the Luma lamp to be used as a gigantic notification light and to turn on when you're in proximity to the device.
Remember Piper, the crowdfunded home automation tool we featured almost half a year ago? Well the campaign is over and the gadget is on sale now. Once you get yours in the mail, you'll need to set it up and start using it, which is where the official Android app comes in. Piper Mobile is a free download, compatible with all Android devices running Gingerbread or later.
Piper is a little gadget that combines a wide-angle webcam and microphone with a Z-wave controller. The WiFi-connected box allows you to view your home from your phone, pan the camera and listen in to the mic, making it a relatively inexpensive security camera or pet minder.
We've seen at least one device that could be called a "smart ring" already: the wildly successful NFC Ring. But the Smarty Ring, currently accepting funding on Indiegogo, takes the idea about five steps further. It's a smartwatch, more or less, that's made into a ring form factor. Though it's not quite as capable as something like the Pebble, and nowhere near as powerful as the watches from Sony or Samsung, the idea is surprisingly attractive.
Basically, the Smarty Ring is a bit of curved circuit board, an LED screen (or two), a tiny battery, a diminutive speaker, and a Bluetooth 4.0 radio sitting inside a deceptively nondescript stainless steel ring.
When I was a kid, "robot" meant something that you had to wind up (or if you were rich, something you plugged into your Nintendo Entertainment System). Startup company Play-I wants to change that with Bo and Yana, a pair of toy robots that use a tablet or smartphone as both a controller and a programming tool. The company's crowdfunding campaign started yesterday and has already hit almost 80% of its quarter-million dollar goal.
The idea is simple: kid-friendly robots with kid-friendly programming. These aren't simple RC cars in fancy plastic shells, they're fully interactive robots that will require creative thinking and problem-solving from kids in order to reach their full potential.