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Kicking and Funding: Best of Kickstarter 2013

Kicking and Funding: Best of Kickstarter 2013

GADGETS

The Sansaire is just want the geeky chef ordered. For the kitchen nerd who just has to have the latest piece of culinary tech without the premium price, the Sansaire brings Sous Vide cooking to the average home cook for just $199, (compare with top models that start at twice that). To the uninitiated, Sous Vide cooking is what DigitalTrends.com recently described as, “the bomb – the nexus of cooking and science.” Basically, the method prevents cell walls from bursting, keeping meat succulent and delicious. So read up on the science behind the steaks, and then get ready to serve them up in style, (bacon is so last year).

You can quit drooling over all of those massive 3-D printers on reddit. The Boston-based Wobble Works created 3-D printing at the tip of their fingers, literally, with the 3Doodler. Utilizing ABS plastic, the pen-like device draws on air or on surfaces. They’ve collaborated with wire artists on Etsy to showcase the device’s possibilities, and offer some great stencils on their website, as well as plastics in a range of colors.

Buckyballs meet Bic: The Polar Pen is made entirely of magnets. For those that were still mourning the recall of everyone’s favorite magnetic timewaster, this Kickstarter came in at exactly the right time. An instant inspiration-builder, you can doodle an adventure on paper, tap through your touchscreen with the stylus nub, or construct a compass by taking advantage of its modular capabilities. Tap, build, or draw- a multifunction tool for the multitasking geek.

FLICKS

Veronica Mars fans made history with the nerd rallying cry heard around the world. Sure, it was a controversial move for some- big name stars looking to fans’ wallets to fund what they could certainly do themselves, right? But in the wake of its smash-hit campaign, it was clear the fans weren’t having any of that naysaying. With considerable insider updates and access for contributors, Mars’ Kickstarter base has formed a sort of crowdfunding family around a project they love so much. (Now if someone could get around to a Fringe movie, we could sleep better at night).

If Veronica Mars could challenge traditional Hollywood funding, then The Lizzie Bennet Diaries project turned web distribution on its head. In a tale of web series gone good, the net-show-as-told-through-vlog was able to secure a DVD production run for itself and pack it with extras for its viewers. Originally starting with a goal of $60,000 the show ended up earning almost half a million dollars from its fervent base.

Folk Hero and Funny Guy, in addition to having one of the more entertaining Kickstarter pitch videos, has some great nerdy pedigree. Director Jeff Grace first captured geek hearts with his sketch group The Vacationeers and their Google Maps video. Google saw the sketches and brought the group on board to continue making videos for them, as well as making them one of their early Youtube partners during the very infancy of internet video advertising and curated channels.

GAMES

As you wish,” said card game purveyor Albino Dragon when they delighted eager fans with their officially licensed Princess Bride decks. The 2-person outfit also expanded the line to offer chips, coins, and dice so you never have to play a game without on-theme everything. Bigger donors can also enjoy perks like magnets featuring quips and quotables as well as art prints.

The Omni is by far one of the coolest gaming projects to come out of crowdsourcing. Add some more reality to your virtual worlds- walk, run, crouch, jump through your favorite game, naturally and with your own body as the controller. It works with any keyboard enabled PC game, and brings your favorite adventure worlds into your living room like never before.

Gamers rejoice! The Gamestick is here to let you take your games with you, and bring games to a whole new demographic. The revolutionary idea: a console experience for under $80, all in a portable USB sized device. Download your favorite Android games and experience them in full HD on your television at home. Moving from the dorms to an apartment? Its size also makes it ultraportable, which no doubt is part of what made it such a huge hit.

GEAR

Early last year, when we just began to hear the first whispers of consumer smart watches, the folks behind the AGENT were looking to bring you the world’s smartest watch. The watch was tested for a year before breaking the million dollar mark this past June, easily surpassing its $100,000 goal. The bluetooth enabled watch is sleekly designed, supports wireless charging, syncs to your other devices and runs apps to fit your life. From heart rate monitors to bluetooth enabled door locks, the AGENT can automate and digitize your life in new and exciting ways.

GoldieBlox: inspiring a generation of future geek girls with toys that encourage engineering and building. Frustrated by all of the frilly pink and princess stuff, the creator of Goldieblocks set out to make a toy that challenged young minds, not domesticate them. After a delightful advert that went viral, (and not just for the legal hoopla), the internet responded with rousingly enthusiastic results. (Though, of course, there’s nothing wrong with a little Princess Peach cosplay among con-going adults, if that’s your prerogative).

Planet Money tracks the global journey of the shirt on your back. In a story of tech meeting social consciousness, a team of reporters affiliated with NPR and This American Life take you on the economic odyssey of the clothes you wear. The shirt has a small code that you scan with your smartphone. From there, you’re taken to an interactive page to see images of everyone who’s worked on the shirt and follow its path from the cotton farmer in the field to the cargo ship crew that brought the shirt to the US.

GENERAL NERDERY

Code Monkey Save World combines two of the internet’s favorite forms of geekery: comics and the songs of John Coulton. A graphic novel inspired by the tunes of the aforementioned nerd minstrel, the project was unique in how much content each new donation height generated. Page count increases at various levels, and even a brand new Coulton album recorded just for hitting the $200,000 mark amounted to fan service at its best.

It’s no secret that Nikola Tesla is a nerdy cause célèbre, especially in the wake of The Oatmeal’s campaign for a Tesla museum. Enter Northern Imagination, and their proposal to honor the oft-ignored inventor with a Tesla Statue in Silicon Valley. The finished statue actually functions as a free public wireless hotspot,and is also home to a time capsule to be opened in the year 2043.

Did we miss any? Tell us on Facebook or Twitter! (And if you’re looking for a new flick to Kickstart right now, have you considered Space Janitors or Paul & Storm?)

By Anam Syed

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