For many tech startups, Kickstarter is a great way to raise funding and get off the ground. Each week, TUAW takes a close look at recent Apple-related Kickstarter projects for those of you interested in supporting some entrepreneurs who are eager to build the next big thing. Send us information about your Kickstarter project by using the tips and feedback link at the top of this page, and include the word "Kickstarter" in the subject line.
Infinite Loop Tablet and Smartphone Stand
Of the many Kickstarter projects that I saw over the last few weeks, none was as elegant as the Infinite Loop Tablet and Smartphone Stand.
Not only is the project a play on the location of Apple Headquarters (for now at least) at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino, CA, but it's a beautiful idea. The Infinite Loop comes in both MiniLoop (for smartphones) and InfiniteLoop (for tablets and Kindles) sizes, uses suction cups or clips to firmly embrace your device, and can be used in a variety of ways and with many different devices. Want to prop up your iPad on an airplane seat tray? Attach it to a car headrest? The Infinite Loop can accommodate you and then wrap up into a small space.
Tim Gushue's project has about a month to go, and is about 13% of the way towards funding. Pledge US$19 or more and you'll get a $29.95 MiniLoop, and for $35 or more you are pre-ordering the $44.95 InfiniteLoop.
iBamboo Electricity-free Bamboo Speaker for iPhone 4
Apparently there are many Gilligan's Island fans with iPhones, since the iBamboo speaker for iPhone 4 follows the castaway mystique of bamboo construction. Fortunately, it already has sufficient backers to receive funding on July 9, 2011.
If you pledge $25 or more to the project, you can receive one of these lovely and unique au naturel battery-and-plug-free speakers wrapped in a canvas bag. iBamboo is a project that really brings a smile to my face, and I'm tempted to back the project just to have something different and natural on my tech-filled desk.
Another Kickstarter project that has received funding is MyPadLife. Billed as the most functional iPad case ever, Saad Alam's design was created out of the need to use an iPad and exercise at the same time. He apparently had the same idea as our very own Erica Sadun with her DIY iPad car kit, but he has turned MyPadLife into a full-fledged, well-designed product.
It's made out of a neoprene material with three different straps that are used to attach your iPad to everything from a treadmill to a kitchen cabinet. Pledge $25 to get one of the first MyPadLife cases from Saad, and enjoy the freedom of watching or using your iPad without holding it.
Air Guitar Move for iPhone
Now here's an amazing idea: a motion-sensing guitar pick that works with two included iPhone apps to help you rock out. Air Guitar Move is from a team of designer/developers who created Thumbies (a game controller for iPhone) and the V-Beat music toys.
Air Guitar Move needs a bit of backer love right now. With 17 days to go on Kickstarter (as of this writing), the project is only about 35% of the way towards reaching its funding goal. TUAW readers who are into Guitar Hero, Tap Tap Revenge, and similar air guitar games can get one of the first Air Guitar Move "ultimate picks" by pledging $39.
Does the world need another social networking app? The guys behind Red Cup think so. The idea of the app is to be a location-based app for introducing yourself to others who are at the same venue.
Red Cup is a project not only in search of backers, but in search of developers. The four guys on the Red Cup team consist of three law students and one PhD candidate, none of whom are developers. The team's project video is well done, but vague. When they talk about about wanting their backers to "have a say in how the app works," this tells me that these guys have an interesting idea, but little knowledge of how the app development process works.
Guys: come up with an idea (you've done that), develop requirements, produce many mockups, refine, refine, refine, and then approach the Kickstarter table for money. Obviously the Kickstarter community agrees with me on this one; Red Cup currently has $760 pledged out of $15,000 required with 12 days to go. Oh, and guys? It's going to take a lot more than $15,000 just for infrastructure to run this social network.
Impactband for iPod touch 4G
While this isn't really a Kickstarter project, it's the brainchild of Matt Geyster of BaseoneLabs, whose Rustic Case (funded and in production) and Artistree Stylus (still seeking funding) projects have both been featured in previous roundups.
Matt realized that while there are a lot of cases for iPhones and iPod touches, there was nothing similar to Apple's own iPhone 4 bumpers for the iPod touch, so he thought up the Impactband for the 4th generation iPod touch.
If you've seen the videos on the BaseoneLabs site, you know that these bands do a wonderful job of protecting iPhones. Matt asked me to throw his iPod touch around just to give it a try -- I finally did despite fears that I was going to be sending back a cracked and scratched device. Even after flat drops onto concrete and stone and light tosses into the air, the iPod touch worked like a champ and had nary a scratch.
What you see above is a pre-production version of the Impactband. I like the feel of the material -- kind of "grippy" -- and there's just enough of a lip around the front and back of the device to keep them from damage in the case of a flat drop. The Impactband for iPod touch 4G sells for $29.99 and is expected to ship in a few weeks.
We have a winner! One of my biggest gripes with any iPad stylus -- other than the fact that I think it's unnecessary -- is that they're easy to lose. Jack Malone came up with the idea of the SnapStylus, a prefabricated stylus outfitted with magnets so that it sticks to iPads.
An iPad 2 isn't required; the SnapStylus works with the original iPad and will also snap onto your official Apple Smart Cover. With 17 days to go, the SnapStylus is ready for launch with almost double the required backing. If TUAW readers back the project with $10, they'll get a SnapStylus when it ships in the near future.
Sometimes a Kickstarter product looks unappealing from the start, and that's the nicest description I can give to The Finger. Comments in the TUAW newsroom ranged from "uuuughhg" to "it looks like the T-1000's spearfinger" or "Voldemort's wand."
It's supposed to be a dual-ended iPad stylus. The original color (above) was kind of a brownish-black, but (as one commenter noted to inventors Kyle Scheele and Shawn Matthews) "You might want to consider other colors so it looks more fun and less like a hard turd whittled to a point." They've now thrown bile green, blood red, and a sickly purple-blue into the mix.
Kyle and Shawn note on Kickstarter that The Finger "started as a joke," and it looks like it will end as one, since they have only raised $914 out of $50,000 needed with just 15 days to go.
Creepy. That one's going to give me nightmares for a week. Of course, this digital representation of TUAW's Mike Rose (courtesy of MakerBot) was enough to give me the willies:
Let's end on a more pleasant note, shall we?
Swoop the Owl - Mobile Plush for iPhone and iPod touch
Swoop the Owl is a clever idea that combines a personalized plush owl with an iPhone or iPod touch. Why would you want to do that? If you like to sleep while listening to music on your iPod touch, or if you have kids who are constantly misplacing the overpriced toy, just stuff it (or an iPhone) into the clear plastic "belly" of Swoop, and your problem is solved.
Unfortunately for kids of every age, Swoop doesn't look like he'll make it out of fledgling mode without the help of a lot of backers. With 17 days to go, Jim McGaw's project has only $1,415 pledged out of a total of $7,500 required to start production.
I think we need to start a "Save Swoop the Owl" campaign!