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Crowdfunding Roundup: Sensors, battery packs, trackers, and a poll


Each week, TUAW provides readers with an update on new or significant crowdfunded Apple-related projects in the news. While our policy is to not go into detail on items that haven't reached at least 80 percent of their funding goal, this update is designed to give readers a heads-up on projects they might find interesting enough to back.

  • And we're back for another week of fun! To start off with, take a look at Verve 2, a tiny connected device that can be equipped with all sorts of sensors that can then be used to control the world around you. Those sensors run the gamut from a force sensor to a temperature module, with a lot of other capabilities in between. It looks like Verve 2 will follow its predecessor by achieving full Kickstarter funding -- the campaign is at 58 percent with 38 days to go.

  • Revocharge is another iPhone external battery pack, this time with a difference -- it features wireless charging through a magnetic stand. The company will have iPhone 5 and iPhone 6 cases available, although they do admit that "design is subject to change." Revocharge is about halfway funded with 36 days to go.

  • Since the Rachio Iro smart sprinkler timer hit the market with a bang earlier this year, we've seen a few similar projects that hope to also provide a way to save a precious resource -- water. The latest Kickstarter to keep your landscaping green is Eve, which combines a controller with smart wireless sensors that check soil moisture at two different depths. The project is 17 percent funded with 32 days to go, so unless you get out there and add your support, Eve and Adam (the moisture sensor) might not make it out of the garden...

  • Lightfreq bills itself as "The love child of Philips Hue and Jambox". This isn't a new idea; we reviewed the AwoX Striimlight early this year and it too is a mixture of LED light and Bluetooth speaker. However, the Striimlight left a lot to be desired, so it's a good idea that someone is revisiting the idea. And Lightfreq is going to make it to market, 294 percent funded with about two weeks to go in the campaign.

  • Kill me now. It's AirStand, yet another universal iPad stand. But hey, these guys even show it working with an 11-inch MacBook Air, so maybe it will be worthwhile. I'm just amazed with how many iPad stand campaigns there have been since we started the crowdfunding roundup. This campaign is just 17 percent funded with 57 days to go, so it has a chance. Check it out in the video below.

  • Despite public awareness campaigns showing the safety hazards of driving while texting or using other apps, people are still being killed and injured by using their phones in the car. Buoy wants to stop that. The device requires that your phone be placed into a dashboard dock while driving. If it's removed, it sends out a gradually louder audible alert. It's a good idea, but the project has a long way to go before it becomes reality. Frankly, I think they should sell this as an aftermarket device that requires the phone to be in the dock before it lets the car move, but that's an idea for another Kickstarter campaign. Slightly over zero percent funding with 35 days to go...

  • The bad news: it's another wall and car mount for iPhone. The good news: Hopscotch is inexpensive, rather handy, and it's 67 percent funded with less than a week to go in its campaign. What's so different about it? Take a look at the video:

  • It's deja vú all over again! Here's another external battery pack project. The KERO Power Annex is actually kind of a nifty design, using microsuction adhesives to attach a thin and lightweight to your iPhone. This eliminates the bulk of regular battery cases and makes the battery pack easy to remove. It's inexpensive, and some of the combo backing packages give you a keychain USB to Lightning cable that can be used with the Power Annex. It's 30 percent funded with 19 days to go.

  • And if there's one more Kickstarter category that we seem to see way too often, it's tracking systems -- you know, those Bluetooth-connected chips and dongles that are supposed to keep you from losing your wallet or keys. The Smart Wallet locater and charger is essentially a wallet (a small one, I might add) with Bluetooth LE location circuitry and a 1000 mAh battery built in. Lose your iPhone? The app will tell you where you last had it. Lose your wallet? The iPhone will tell you where you last had it. Lose both of them? You're out of luck. The Smart Wallet is 42 percent funded with 17 days to go in its campaign.

  • Qblinks are tiny Bluetooth-enabled buttons that can both notify you of incoming messages or calls and act as a remote button for your iPhone or iPad. They're colorful, playfully designed, and will be relatively inexpensive. The campaign is 54 percent funded with 10 days to go.

  • This last project is probably -- in my mind -- the best of the bunch this week. Space Simulator is an amazing spacecraft simulation for mobile devices. Want to simulate flying the Apollo Command and Service Module (CSM)? No problem! How about doing a Space Shuttle mission? With realistic controls and readouts, the game should be a blast for any space enthusiast. But just like real space flights, there's no Buck Rogers without the bucks -- the Space Simulator campaign is sadly at only 2 percent funding with about three weeks to go. It's a Kickstarter Staff Pick, so go support it, OK?

That's it for this week. We'll be back next Thursday for another roundup of crowdfunded projects that you can support or ignore. Many thanks again to Hal Sherman for providing some tips about new and exciting projects, and if you're aware of any other crowdfunded Apple-related projects, be sure to let us know about them through the Tip Us button at the upper right of the TUAW home page for future listing on the site.

And now for something completely different -- we're going to let you vote on which of this week's crowdfunding picks you think is the best. Just make your pick and then let your friends know via Twitter and/or Facebook.

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