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Top Kickstarters of the month - April 2016
Kickstarter continues to be a great platform for creators, inventors, and developers to showcase their unique ideas and products, find supporters and create a community, and if things work out, have their dreams come true. On the other side, from the consumer point of view, it’s a fantastic way to be at the forefront of the cutting edge, and help great products see the light of day with their financial backing.
Today we will be taking a look at a few such projects that are hopefully going to make a big difference. Let’s get started!
Project #1 – Rocketbook Wave: Cloud-ready microwavable notebook
Even with current generation laptops featuring touchscreens, and some smartphones and tablets coming with styli, many, like me, do prefer using normal pens and paper to jot down notes or make sketches. Unfortunately, there is no organized way to save these notes on our mobile devices, or back them up to the cloud. The creators of Rocketbook Wave are hoping to address this concern with their product, a cloud-ready microwavable notebook. Of course, “microwave-friendly” isn’t the first aspect that comes to mind when talking about a notebook, but we will address that feature a little later.
Rocketbook Wave combines the use of a notebook and an app to instantly save any notes you write on paper to the cloud, using your phone. Once you are done taking down a note, simply scan the page using the free mobile app, and it instantly records the note, enhances it, and uploads it to any destination you choose as default. Instead of just capturing images of the notebook, the app enhances the images to remove any background information, like the notebook itself, and other imperfections, and what is getting saved is just your handwriting and a clear white background.
Each page of the notebook comes with dark borders to allow for the app the find and scan the page quickly, in any environment or with any background, and each page also comes with a unique QR code which helps maintain the page number, allowing you to scan the pages in any order, but still have them the right way around in the cloud. There are also symbols at the bottom of every page that you can mark, and each of the seven can be set up to be a pre-determined cloud save location, such as Evernote or Google Drive.
Of course, the issue with using a notebook is that you will eventually run out of pages, and there is also the fact that you don’t really need the notes in the book anymore, as they are now saved to the cloud. That is where the microwave comes into the picture. If you use Frixion Pilot pens, that are available at many office supply stores, you can erase the entire notebook by putting it in the microwave for about 4 minutes. The special thermochromic ink that these pens use become clear under heat, and the Rocketbook Wave is microwave safe. So all you have to do is put the notebook in the microwave, and once you see the Wave logo on the notebook turn from blue to white, the notebook is now clear and ready for more note-taking. Granted, the usage isn’t unlimited, but you can get around 10 re-uses, which is pretty great.
The creators of Rocketbook have already shipped close to 30,000 units as part of an earlier campaign, and bring in that experience on the logistics front with their second go. This second campaign will also raise funds to invest more in the app, and add support and integration for Box, iCloud, and Slack, among others. Even though Rocketbook is well past their funding goal of $20,000, having already raised over $570,000 so far, you can still bring in your own support to the table.
Project #2 – Kaptivo: Make any whiteboard smart
Whiteboards are found everywhere, in our classrooms, offices, and even our homes, and are great to communicate ideas in the room, but they certainly aren’t suited for the connected world we now live in, with things like conference calls, where not everyone important is always present in the room. Also, instead of focusing on what is being discussed, we often spend our time copying down what is on the board, and we’ve all been in that situation where at the end of class, we take a photo of what is on the board. Kaptivo is intended to help address all of these issues.
Essentially, Kaptivo is a camera that can be mounted at the top of any standard whiteboard, and requires a simple installation process that doesn’t take much time. No special pens or boards are needed, and whatever you now write on the whiteboard will be captured by the camera and broadcast to others, whether they are in the room or not, using the Kaptivo app, with clean and sharp images in real time. Kaptivo fixes angle distortion, removes glare, and even erases out arms and hands, leaving you only with the writing over a white background. It’s not only the final image that is seen either, but using the app, you also rewind and move through the video capture to find exactly what you need.
If the final product can deliver on its lofty claims, Kaptivo can definitely be a game changer in the home, classroom, or office, and the fact that it can work with existing whiteboards and pens is a huge bonus. Light Blue Optics, the creators of Kaptivo, are currently seeking to raise $75,000, and they could use your help, having raised around $27,000, with 17 days to go.
Project #3 – RippleBuds: Noise blocking earbuds with an in-ear mic
Any successful kickstarter aims to address a common problem or inconvenience that we face in our everyday lives, and wish there was an easy solution for. One such product is RippleBuds, that is hoping to solve the struggle that we often come across when trying to communicate clearly through voice calls in noisy environments, such as when your out and about on a busy street, or inside a noisy restaurant. Till now, this involved speaking really loudly into the phone, pressing the phone harder to ear, or getting tangled in your earbuds.
RippleBuds are very small wireless earbuds that also sport a wireless microphone. With the wireless mic pretty much inside your ear, there’s no way for it to actually pick up what you are saying from your mouth. What this device does instead is pick up the noise coming from inside your eardrum. RippleBuds creates a two path for sound waves, that lets you hear and speak using just a single bud. As sound waves travel from your body to your moth, they also exit through the eastacian tube in your eardrums, which RippleBuds can capture and transmit to the caller very clearly, before it can be lost in the background noise. You don’t even have to talk very loudly for the person at the other end of the line to hear you, which is fantastic.
With over $600,000 already pledged, RippleBuds is one of the most popular kickstarters of this month, and has already earned over 12 times it original fund raising goal of $50,000. If it works as expected, this could be an incredible device to have, and is certainly worth backing.
Project #4 – TrapTap – a wireless speed trap indicator
Lastly, we have a product that can not only help you save a lot of money in the long run, but can also play its part in saving lives. TrapTap is a small, wireless device that you can place anywhere on your dashboard or steering wheel that indicates when you are close to any red light cameras, school zones, and speed traps, while relying on the user community to mark the locations, especially of mobile radar traps.
Granted, this may sound quite familiar, and is available with quite a few mobile apps. However, that does require using a phone in the first place, which can be distracting anyway, and that is what TrapTap avoids. When driving, all this device does is light up red when approaching a red light camera or school zone, or blue when getting close to a speed trap. You can even have it set up to blink when you are near a speed trap only if you are actually speeding at that moment.
In North America, drivers spend over 8 billion dollars on speeding tickets each year, and speeding does result in fatal accidents as well. TrapTap is intended to help avoid both these situations, and is certainly a useful device to have. The device is already past its fundraising goal of $85,000, and you still have a little over a month to back this project as well.
What do you think of our featured kickstarters and the first of our new monthly series? Are there any other Kickstarter projects we’ve missed out? Let us know your views in the comments below!