Cool Kickstarter Kicks (By Matthew Deboysere.

Biweekly I go through Kickstarter and try to find some interesting projects that you just must back. I have backed 22 projects since February 2011. My strategy is simple: I just cruise through the pages until I find something I like. Sometimes I search for keywords. Earlier this week for example I tried “laptop” and some awesome stuff popped up.

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Take for example the Dart. It’s a universal laptop charger, the size of a lip stick. It costs you 90 USD and you’ll get a charger by 2015. It’s a great idea, but this Kickstarter project resembles the main issue I have with Kickstarter: it’s most of the times just an idea. The charger delivers 65W and puts out 18 to 21V. So it won’t charge certain tablets or stronger laptops. The word “universal” is also something that needs some in-depth research, as you need licensing for the Macbook plugs for example (and even Macbooks have two different types of plugs right now). Buying the standard version will cost you 90 USD, but 199 USD for a European Macbook charger? I don’t think my charger is that big anyway…

It’s a great example of an awesome idea that’s not ready yet to be sold, but it’s worth investing in these type of projects. It’s because of the funding they receive of their backers, that they can actually go further and finalize their projects. Kickstarter isn’t always about asking financial aid to finish something, but to actually help create something.

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The story of the Airbar is something completely different. Those guys have tested and finished their prototypes and are ready to launch. I have to agree: when you are looking for a cooling device for your overheated notebook, they always tend to be oversized, heavy and they don’t seem to cool at all. Jordan Meyers created the Airbar, which he hopes to sell through Kickstarter. For 75 USD, you’ll receive a slick bar which lifts the back of your laptop by an inch for some comfortable typing, while sucking in air. Meyers choose some smaller but more expensive fans than the lower end fans that most cooling pads include. And to be honest, it even looks great too. I’m afraid it won’t meet its goal, but it’s worth a shot. Because really, how cool is a cooling gadget? No hipster is going to get this.

Last but not least is something more general about crowdfunding and why I like Kickstarter more than Indiegogo or other funding platforms. The campaign advisors of Kickstarter are very strict. If you don’t meet their requirements, you won’t get in. It’s that simple. Indiegogo allows everyone to enter and get started. They call themselves the World’s Funding Engine. I call them the crap sellers. Not to say that Kickstarter has the best projects, but I do want to say that Indiegogo has the worst. While searching for “laptop”, I found nine projects of the first twelve called “I need a new laptop, help me buy it.”

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What I did find on Indiegogo that I wanted to mention, is the Rufus Cuff. It’s not a laptop project, but it’s a oversized smartwatch. It costs you 269, but it looks really awesome! I don’t think it will become more Star Trek than this, except if in the future we will get beamed up by Scotty. The Rufus Cuff allows you to text, call, Skype and take pictures on your wrist. It will even notify you when you left your phone behind. You can surf the web, do fitness exercises with the GPS, gyrometer and other built in analysis tools. It runs on a full Android version so you can install all apps on it. You only can’t call directly with it, as it needs a Bluetooth connection with your phone. It’s water resistant so you can text and call while in the rain or in the shower. Be quick though, as the campaign ends in less than a week.

Matthew Deboysere is a video game journalist for several Belgian media. Is the co-founder of G.Mag, a free digital gaming magazine, but left for a new adventure. Previously wrote for GUNK and 9lives. Loves video games with a great story that reduces him to tears. And cat videos.

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Bike-wise Kickstarter Kicks (By Matthew Deboysere)

Biweekly I go through Kickstarter and try to find some interesting projects that you just must back. I have backed 21 projects since February 2011. My strategy is simple: I just cruise through the pages until I find something I like. Sometimes I search for keywords. Earlier this week for example I tried “bike”. I am someone who never takes a bus and doesn’t have his driver’s license, so whenever I need to be somewhere, I go by bike. And I like to pimp my modern stallion with all these exclusive gadgets I find on Kickstarter.

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After the “Better Bicycle Bell, made in the USA”, which I received two months ago and is really loud – although nobody cares, stupid tourists – I ordered the Zondo Firefly Bag. I ride my bike during nights a lot and sometimes I just don’t feel safe. During the weekend there are a lot of drunk people behind their steering wheel and I tend to ride near the beach because cars aren’t allowed there. But with the Zondo, I have a compact and really cool looking backpack which you can use for casual riding or for professional use. It has a pocket which can hold your bladder bag in case you need to take a pee on your bike – no thanks – and it has a switch that lights up a strip on the front side of the bag.

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The Zondo will be made in the United Kingdom and only costs you 40 GBP if you want it in any colour you like. If you want the basic blue one, then they ask you to pledge 30 GBP, which is actually a great bargain. The problem is that they just reached the 50 percent mark, and they only have 18 days to go. It’s not a product that a lot of people need, because mostly bicycle lights should suffice, but if you want to feel more safe – and need a new cool rucksack, then this is something to go for. 

Another interesting bicycle project on Kickstarter is the Fietsklik line of transportation accessories. The Dutch people of Fietsklik have invented The Click that goes over your bicycle rack. It needs some basic mounting, but once you’ve found the right spot you can click some awesome accessories on it. As a miniature wargaming enthusiast, I have a large backpack with all my figurines ready to go, but I also have a big crate with other stuff that I usually need. So I am particularly looking forward to the Crate. You slide it on the Click, push it locked and turn the key to secure it. It can hold all your groceries and even a big crate of beer! They have tested it for several years and it looks really legit – although we will never forget we are paying to support an idea, not to buy a product. Sometimes they fail. But I feel confident about this one.

The people at Fietsklik also want to launch three types of bags that you can attach to the Click easily. The Click allows you to attach three accessories at the same time – two bags and the Crate – but also is looking into a child seat. They have finished the prototype and are looking into getting it checked and certified. You can pledge to get one, but you will receive the seat only at least in April 2015. All the other accessories will launch in July 2014.

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If you pledge 99 USD, you will receive the Click and the Crate, which is an awesome deal. The crate also can be folded up to be more compact and has an extendable handle and wheels. Ideally you will shop with your Crate and mount it quickly on the back of your bike. Cool! Need more space? It will cost you 149 USD but you will receive the Click and two accessories of your choice. That can be two crates, or two bags, or one of each. And for 199 USD you will receive the Click and the Crate, and can choose two bags. If you’re quick, there are still some early birds available. Fietsklik has already surpassed their target. They are at 150 percent right now. It’s a solid investment if you need easy transporting on your bicycle and hate tying several bags on your steering wheel.

Links.

 Matthew Deboysere is a video game journalist for several Belgian media. Is the co-founder of G.Mag, a free digital gaming magazine, but left for a new adventure. Previously wrote for GUNK and 9lives. Loves video games with a great story that reduces him to tears. And cat videos.

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