Innovation. The process of finding new ways to use old things and developing creative solutions for everyday problems. If you’re looking for innovation, you don’t have to look much further than Kickstarter. This is where inventors, authors, game designers, musicians, and other creative entrepreneurs pitch their projects in hopes of gaining funding from the public. Admittedly, there are a lot of mundane projects on the site such as CDs, comics, and a movie about a guy who vomits to magically conjure up items. However, every so often a promising project pops up that has “innovation” written all over it. Here are 5 of them:
1. Wrist Charge
The Wrist Charge is a hybrid between a phone charger and a slap bracelet that allows you to take your charger with you wherever you go. Each end of the bracelet is equipped with a USB input, one end for your phone and the other for your computer or an adapter for an outlet or car charger port (not included). Wrist Charges are injection molded and come in three models: the iPhone 5 model, the iPhone 4s (and lower) model, and the Android model. The Wrist Charge team has been working on their product since June of last year and anticipates finishing this October. They currently have 198 backers and have $3,749 pledged for their project — a far cry from their goal of $50,000. Anyone who pledges $15 will receive a free Wrist Charge for their phone, which is half of what Wrist Charges are expected to retail. There are still 37 days left in the pledge period (it ends August 24th) so check them out if you’re interested!
The WigWag is a programmable sensor that creates an intelligent and responsive environment. Just scan the QR code or NFC tag, connect the sensor with a device, and program what function the device will do during certain conditions. For example, you can program a Sensor Block to detect moisture, light, and temperature then place it by a plant so you’ll receive a notification when the plant needs water. You can also sync a WigWag with your kitchen so it turns everything off at a certain time or you can set it up to send you a text if it senses activity outside of your house. There are three WigWag products: the Sensor Block, the Relay, and the Glowline — all of which are capable of doing different things. By combining the products and using more sensors, you can create an even more intelligent environment. One of the more interesting (and useful) possibilities is setting up the Sensor Block and Relay to detect when your front porch is icy and have the technology respond by turning on your porch light and sending a warning Tweet through your Twitter account. There are currently 630 backers of this project and it has already exceeded its goal of $50,000 pledged. But there are still 31 days to go in the pledge period (it ends August 18th), so if you are interested in this product and want to receive a discount check out the WigWag Kickstarter page.
Parents and teachers have been asking for this kind of technology for years, and now it is finally here: a pen that notifies you when you make a spelling mistake and points out flaws in handwriting legibility. The Lernstift Pen has a computer inside that runs on Linux technology to notify kids and adults (we make mistakes too) of spelling errors. Additionally, the pen recognizes handwriting patterns and can be calibrated to an individual’s writing style to help the user write more legibly in his or her own handwriting. There are a handful of apps designed for the Lernstift pen, such as the statistics app that allows parents to track their child’s progress, an app that allows anyone to share their sketches and notes on Facebook and Twitter instantly, and an app for digitizing hardcopy as a PDF or DOC file. As an added touch, the tip of the pen can be quickly changed from a ballpoint to a fountain and vice-versa. This project currently has 189 backers and $18,888 pledged so far (the goal is $120,000). There are 22 days left in the pledge period (it ends August 9th) and for 99 Euros you can reserve your very own Lernstift pen instead of buying one for 125 Euros when the product finally hits the shelves. Check out its Kickstarter page here if you’re interested.
4. FEZ Game-O
The FEZ Game-O is an open-source handheld console that allows anyone to program their own games and applications, regardless of their programming experience. The console is meant to teach beginners how to create programs and allow individuals to design apps and video games. It features a Cortex-M4 168Mhz microprocessor, 192 KB RAM, a 320 x 240 16-bit TFT display, and runs on three triple-A batteries, so the FEZ Game-O is pretty small. But the big feat it accomplishes by teaching people how to create programs, applications, and video games more than makes up for its size and power. You can learn how to create an app with this device then take that knowledge and create apps on a more powerful device, which opens a whole new door of possibilities when everyday people are able to program their own applications. There are currently 50 backers on this project and it already exceeded its goal of $5,000 pledged. For $80 or more you can reserve your own FEZ Game-O, but if you’re interested you only have 27 days left — the pledge period ends August 14th.
Yes, a second solution to our phone charging needs made the list, but apparently there are a lot of people out there trying to innovate our communications technology. SolePower is a specially designed insole for your shoes that generates power to charge your phone with every step you take. But it’s not just for phones, SolePower can also be used to re-energize music players and GPS devices, which makes this product ideal for joggers, hikers, and restaurant workers who spend most of their free time texting. SolePower is water-proof and requires between 2.5 and 5 miles of walking in order to fully charge an iPhone. So this product is not for everyone, namely anyone who doesn’t walk several miles a day. But that doesn’t make this product any less innovative. There are currently 622 backers of this product and it has already passed its goal of $50,000 pledged. For $75 or more you can own your very own SolePower insoles and always have back-up power for your devices just a hundred-thousand steps away. But hurry! There are only 21 hours left in the pledge period (it closes July 18th at 12:36 pm EDT) so check them out ASAP.