Five Killer Kickstarters

Posted: April 30th, 2013 | Author: | Filed under: Startups | 7 Comments »

Dream of striking Kickstarter gold, but lack inspiration?  I’m here to help.  Don’t forget to hook me up with a few freebies when you get your assembly lines rolling.

Optimal Notebook

Lightweight, distinctive looking, with a built in holder for a standard pen.  Bonus points for features like:

  • Water resistant paper
  • A cover that can be personalized (laser blasted, embossed, available in different colors)
  • Pages that can be customized (ruled, patent notebook, page numbers, or a mix)
  • Cheap enough I can order a dozen of them
  • Some sort of variety pack that clocks in at <$50 that would make a nice gift

Lots of notebooks out there, but it’s cool to have something different from the pack for a product that you carry with you all the time.  And what are notebooks for, if not expressing yourself?

Tablet-Powered Laser Show

Closed loop galvos and ILDA format playback from a microSD card.  Translation: draw pretty pictures on your phone/tablet/computer, and it will draw them on the wall.  Bonus features:

  • Single color version under $100
  • Multicolor options 
  • Maybe a cheap version with open-loop scanners for beam patterns and lissajous patterns
  • Companion, open-source apps to let you animate – either design a show, or draw on a tablet and have the show display your drawing in realtime
  • External, standard battery connector so you can run it for hours on a cheap hobby LiPo

There are a few outfits out of China starting to play in this space, but I’m pretty sure their software is going to be hopeless.  It’s an area where some Kickstarter innovation could really transform a project.

Combination Airboat, Car, Snowmobile, and Airplane

Someone on RC Groups invented a completely amazing combination airboat, car, snowmobile, and airplane.  Air Hogs did a very respectable toy version called the Storm Launcher (now discontinued) that was a blast to drive and terrifying to fly. Then they basically disappeared.  I have one. I built another one. They’re amazing.  Most fun RC gadget I’ve ever played with.  And they’d make for a great Kickstarter video.  Bonus features:

  • Gyro stabilization (because it now costs less than $20, and these things are buggers in the air without a little help)
  • Two motors, so you can steer with differential thrust – more effective than rudders for turns when it’s driving on land
  • Waterproof container for the electronics
  • Ridiculously overpowered for driving on the grass, taking off from still water, carrying cameras, etc

Watch this horribly transcoded commercial for the original Storm Launcher and I bet you’d be backing this bad boy at the $99 level.

Fashionable button up shirts that you can wash

Kickstarter’s got some sweet looking shirts.  But none of them include care instructions.  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that they’re not machine wash- and dry-able.

All the department stores carry these 50/50 cotton/rayon shirts that are basically unwrinkleable.  The fabric’s kind of chinzy, but you can bang them through the washer/dryer cycle over and over again, wad them up in your suitcase, and they still work.    There’s probably nicer versions of these fabrics.

I see no shortage of fine Kickstarter apparel humanely plucked from organic plants and mammals of all sorts, but I want something that I can put in the dryer after my children regurgitate hummus on it.  That still looks good (after I get the hummus out).  Bonus features:

  • Super duper custom fit
  • Buckets of color options
  • I got nothing else on this one.  It’s a shirt.

Please, hook me up, Kickstarter.  I’ll buy the 5-pack.

A way to replace all my keys with one sleek thingamabob

Thanks to Elan Lee for pointing out Keyport, who did exactly the thing I described below.  I will be acquiring one shortly.

I have a bunch of keys, on a keyring.  This is absolutely unacceptable.

How about something that replicates the business part of the keys – the bit with the bumps on it – and lets them slide safely in to a sleek, common head unit?  You could use a service like Shloosl (not a typo) to fabricate the keys so you don’t need to part with the originals to make the production work.

Imagine something like the picture on the right, but with all of your key bumpybits inside instead of just one.  You might be out of luck with your fancypants car keys, but your door, mailbox, and whatnot?  Put them all away tidily!

Goodbye unacceptable keyrings.  Hello overfunded Kickstarter project.

A 3D printer that’s imperceptibly different than the 147 other 3D printers on the market

Just kidding.  You got that one covered, Kickstarter.

 

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  • http://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco Wade Roush

    Dan: Regarding item 4, fashionable shirts that you can wash, see Pistol Lake and Pickwick & Weller. Just wrote about them today: http://www.xconomy.com/san-francisco/2013/05/01/tech-meets-the-t-shirt-at-pistol-lake-and-pickwick-weller/

  • wsul

    Hey Dan, I think you forgot to include “A very thin wallet”.

    But really, the tee shirts one — we have you covered with your Kickstarter order which will be shipping soon. Let me know how the fit is and what colors you’d like to see when you get em.

    The problem with rayon/poly as found in a lot of tee’s including American Apparel etc. is that while it does hold the shape well, it pills a lot and has a very different drape than 100% cotton.

    Low quality cotton will ALWAYS change dramatically when washed, but high quality cotton that has been garment dyed/washed will have an extremely nice hand, drape, and maintain form well.

    Even the best 100% cotton tee shirts will change a bit over time — but that is what makes a tee shirt yours! In a day of two wash shirts, there is something so fucking awesome about a tee shirt you’ve broken in over a year or so.

    Also, unfortunately, 100% will always wrinkle more than a synthetic blend.. but again, a characteristic I welcome.

  • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

    Oops, I wasn’t clear. I mean button up, collated, long sleeve shirts. You guys are rocking the t shirt situation.

  • wsul

    Ah! Yeah, and we’re focused on mastering the cotton we work with and using it for other casual shirts.

    A few friends that aren’t doing exactly what you want, but really killer button ups nonetheless — blanklabel.com and ministryofsupply.com.

  • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

    Great article! I made a major omission in that one: what’s missing is washable button up, long sleeve shirts. You nailed it for t-shirts.

  • http://www.danshapiro.com/blog Dan Shapiro

    Exactly who I was thinking of in the first paragraph.

  • Candly

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