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Crowdfunding Roundup: OpenHome Labs, Starfish, and Bleep


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.

We start off this week with a fascinating announcement from Indiegogo, which announced a partnership yesterday with OpenHome Labs, "a program that helps connected home start-ups succeed by accelerating their development and go-go-market process." OpenHome Labs was developed by Icontrol Networks, a company that is going places in the connected home market. You may remember their Piper security cam and home automation hub from our review earlier this year. There are currently three Indiegogo campaigns running under the auspices of OpenHome Labs:

  • Bttn, an internet-connected push button that triggers an action or chain of actions
  • Reemo: a wrist-worn product providing gesture control of devices
  • Zen: A new connected thermostat

Kudos to Icontrol and Indiegogo for creating OpenHome Labs, and best of luck to current and future crowdfunding campaigns.

  • Here's a funded project with a little over a day to go. Starfish is a weight-activated child seat sensor that connects to a smartphone to alert parents who may -- and it does happen occasionally to the best of parents -- leave their infants in the car. 111 percent funded with about 30 hours to go!

  • And then there are the Kickstarter campaigns that fill us with an overwhelming feeling of deja vu. In this case, the ACE-1 UltraClean BioMass Cookstove reminded me of something... like the very popular BioLite camp stove. Uses available grass, sticks and twigs as fuel? Check. Generates electricity while cooking to power your devices? Check. Gives back by providing stoves for use in Africa? Check. The only thing the ACE-1 may not have in common with BioLite is funding. It's 6 percent funded with 45 days to go.

  • If you've read the TUAW crowdfunding roundups for any period of time, you know that there are bazillions of campaigns seeking money to develop the perfect iPad stand. I've generally found mod tot them to be either too look-alike or too weird, but here's one that is absolutely stunning. It's called YOHANN, and it's the brainchild of two Swiss designers. It's 163 percent funded with three weeks to go.

  • Here is another funded project on Indiegogo. The Bleep smart charging cable includes a built-in flash drive so whenever you plug in your iPhone. A lot of people must like this idea in addition to me; it's already 142 percent funded with 51 days to go.

  • Everyone seems to want us to stop sitting down at our desks to work. Stand Stand lets you take a standing desk anywhere. Want to look like a total tool in your local Starbucks, standing up and working? Stand Stand's portable, so you can accomplish your wildest dreams. It's about half funded with 46 days to go, so it looks like you'll start seeing hipsters lugging these around soon.

  • And we have another winner, and another project this week that really shows some amazing innovation. Mozbii is a stylus for kids that has a sensor built into it so it can pick up colors from the real world. It comes with a coloring book app, and hopefully when the campaign is successful the developer will come out with even more apps. Frankly, I think this capability might be useful for designers... adult designers. Mozbii is 136 percent funded with just over three weeks to go.

  • You know what the world could use more of? Fitness trackers! Fitness trackers that you wear on your wrist! That's a really innovative idea that nobody has thought of, right? Now there's Jaha, a fitness band designed to locate and challenge other Jaha wearers in your vicinity. Of course there's an iPhone app that goes along with this all, so you can use the magic of GPS to track your walks and runs -- and nobody else does that. Sigh. Surprisingly, this campaign looks like it will be successful and bring yet another meh fitness band to the world. Help us, Obi-Wan iWatch -- you're our only hope. It's 77 percent funded with just less than three weeks left in the campaign.

  • Today's world is full of nifty neat new products that are smartphone controlled. You can get air conditioners, slow cookers, and a ton of other products that can be remotely adjusted via apps. Table Air is an idea whose time has obviously not come -- a desktop air purifier with a controller app. It's currently standing on a tabletop in embarrassment of having only raised $1 of a $5,000 goal. But that's OK, Binky -- there are still 25 days during which clean air fanatics can vote with their dollars.

  • Let's end this week on a high note. If you wear glasses or sunglasses, you know the frustration of not being able to remember where you left the damned things. Me? I probably lose two or three pairs of sunglasses a year. With LOOK, you'll have a small Bluetooth-equipped sticker that you can attach to those glasses as well as an app with which to search for them. I like this project, which just started yesterday. It's got a ways to go, though -- only 1 percent funded with 60 days to go. Please help a middle-aged man -- me -- to find his sunglasses. Back this campaign.

And that, my friends, is another week's worth of the good, the not-so-good, and the downright stupid in the world of crowdfunding. 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.

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