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Crowdfunding Roundup: A hybrid smartcam, a robot to play with your pets, and more


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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.

  • Webcams are great for watching what's going on at your home or office, but what if your Internet service goes out? Or what if you'd like to temporarily place a camera somewhere that doesn't have Wi-Fi handy? That's where link-U comes in, a hybrid smartcam that - when outfitted with a mobile data SIM - can use the cellular data network to send images. link-U also has an internal battery, so you can send video for up to 8 hours. This one just hit Indiegogo and has already raised 11 percent of its goal with over a month to go.

  • Remember seeing those design concepts for a reversible USB charging cord a few months back? The idea is simple: make a USB cable that can be plugged in either way and still provide the connectivity and power that your connected device requires. Well, apparently a lot of people love the idea, as the BelayCords campaign on Kickstarter is currently 7,085 percent funded with 25 days to go!

  • Have you ever wondered what you could do with a used iPhone? Rico is a whimsical smarthome device that turns your old phone into "the brains and eyes" of a security device. It's 32 percent funded with three weeks to go, so if you'd like to give your old iPhones a new career, back this campaign on Kickstarter.

  • Most modern cars have a built-in Tire Pressure Management System, which is useful for validating that yes, you DO have a flat tire. FOBO Tire consists of valve stem caps that go on each of your tires, transmitting constant tire pressure information to your phone. It's a great idea, since most TPMS's won't tell you exactly what the pressure is in each tire, nor will they inform you as to which tire has just gone flat. Apparently a lot of people like this campaign, which is 535 percent funded with about a week to go.

  • Playing with our furry kids while we're away is a popular crowdfunding theme, with the Kittyo remote cat toy/feeder/monitor killing it earlier this year with over 900 percent funding. Now here's a little robot that will keep your cat or dog amused. Pawly can be driven around your home, amusing your pet and letting you talk to them remotely from your smartphone. With three weeks to go, Pawly is 32 percent funded.

  • What's more important than pets? Your kids. And when they get sick and are running a fever, it's often a good idea to monitor their temperature. Fever Smart is a reusable patch that you place into the armpit of a sick child, and it transmits your child's temperature to your iPhone. You get continuous readings in an app, plus alarms if a certain level is reached. The campaign is funded at 137 percent of goal with two weeks to go, but there's still time to be an early bird backer.

  • You may have seen the TUAW review of the Desktop Chair by MOKU, a beautiful wood laminate stand for an iPad. Now MOKU has a campaign on Kickstarter for the Desktop Stool, which works with either your iPad or MacBook ... or even both at the same time. With three weeks to go, the campaign is currently 50 percent funded.

  • If there's one thing that's annoying about external battery packs, it's that they usually take forever to recharge. Wouldn't it be great to have a battery pack that could get enough of a charge in five minutes to be able to fully recharge an iPhone 5? That's the idea behind Pronto, a fast-charge battery pack that can get enough juice in an hour to recharge that same iPhone 5 nine times! This is from Power Practical, the same geniuses behind the PowerPot. A lot of people want this product - it's already nearly 200 percent funded with a month to go.

  • Sexual assault and other violent crimes are a problem worldwide, and the Whistl smartphone case is a possible solution. Combining a loud alarm and using the LED flash of your phone to deter a criminal, as well as providing ways to have others monitor your progress and even have an app notify the police if you don't respond, Whistl can be a literal lifesaver. At this time, the project is 21 percent funded with just under a month to go.

  • Ambi Climate is a Nest-like smart thermostat that works with wall and window-mounted air conditioners with infrared remote controls to cut energy usage and make your life more comfortable. It's a popular campaign - with 35 days to go, the project is at about 240 percent of its funding goal.

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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