There was a time, a few months ago, when I would check Kickstarter and Indiegogo every couple of days for new projects. I was fascinated by the ingenuity of entrepreneurs and creators and I wanted to keep an eye on all the new ideas that were just ripe for production. I haven't lost that interest, but after investing in dozens of crowd-funded projects — most of which resulted in really great products that I use and love, thankfully — I'm a bit less obsessed and more selective in my choices.
Sometimes crowd funding campaigns get a little carried away making promises in an effort to attract contributors. As problematic as these projects are, they aren't usually complete nonsense. The Dragonfly Futurefön, on the other hand, looks impossible. For $400 you get a phone that docks to a computer running Windows for a dual-screen mobile computing experience. Sound crazy? Well it already has over half a million dollars on Indiegogo. Yeah, I'm worried for humanity too.
As a frequent swimmer and a gadget lover, I have spent a lot of time researching activity trackers geared towards those of us who spend more than a couple of hours per week in the pool. The problem is that I never found anything priced acceptably, capable of monitoring the factors that are important for swimmers, and that would sync this data with my Android devices. The Garmin Fenix 2 might be the closest thing to what I want, but it costs at least 4 times as much as a Fitbit One.
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.
Update: Portal has been removed from IndieGoGo after a patent troll issued a DMCA takedown notice. Organizer and creator Arubixs is fighting back. This should be entertaining.
Over the past year or so, we've seen project after project overpromise and under-deliver on Kickstarter and Indiegogo. There's a deep and cruel streak of cynicism running through the world of hardware crowdfunding, but you can't say that it's undeserved: look at the travesty that is the Kreyos smartwatch, the disappointment of the iMpulse controller and the Pressy, and almost laughable vaporware like the Smarty Ring, now six months overdue without even a working prototype to show for it.
We've seen Android thrown into plenty of things over the last few years: ovens, refrigerators, set-top boxes, TVs, and a lot more. While some of those ideas are worth pursuing, there are certain ideas that just make sense. The Skully AR-1 motorcycle helmet is one of those ideas.
To describe it over-simplistically, it's a smart helmet. But if you drop all the buzzword garbage and actually take a closer look, you can see that it's much more.
Do you like buttons? The successful Pressy Kickstarter last year made it clear people were really jazzed about getting one configurable button on their phones, but what about four of them that connect via NFC? That's what the Dimple is, and it's currently raking it in on Indiegogo.
Well I'll be gosh-darned. The Rufus Cuff, a super-sized smartwatch-smartphone hybrid powered by Android, has met and surpassed its ambitious $200,000 crowdfunding goal. It appears that at least a thousand people or so are excited enough by the prospect of a gigantic touchscreen wrist communicator to lay their money down. I'm going to assume that at least 800 of them are extremely dedicated Turanga Leela cosplayers.
The Rufus Cuff is technically a smartwatch, because it relies on a Bluetooth-connected Android device or iPhone for data when not in range of a WiFi network.
The Rufus Cuff isn't some dinky little bracelet with a tiny processor and a fuzzy LCD watch face, claiming that it's somehow "smart." This Android-powered accessory has higher ambitions. The mere act of strapping it on will take wearers one step closer to becoming a Power Ranger or the pilot of their own Enterprise class starship. Owning one won't make you cool, it will make you powerful.
This cuff still pairs up with your Android device like those other smartwatches out there, but it comes with an LCD screen large enough to handle plenty of tasks on its own.
Typically, AP refrains from covering crowd-funding projects that have not yet reached their funding goal. Sometimes, though, there comes a campaign that is just too good to pass up. These campaigns usually fall into one of two categories - either the yet-unfunded campaign is unbelievably awesome, or it's really weird and kind of ridiculous. We'll let you decide which bucket the HeadWatch falls into.
On the surface, the HeadWatch looks pretty much like any current smartwatch - it receives notifications, can manage phone calls, and has a big square display and unfashionable wrist strap.