Online crowdfunding platforms — such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo — can make you an overnight success if you play your cards right.
Whether it’s bankrolling a movie continuation of a cult TV show, or getting a VR prototype off the ground (before being sniped by Facebook, of course), funding large projects with pledged donations can work if the scale is right.
Of course, for every Oculus, there is a Smarty Ring waiting to gobble up cash from optimistic backers. Blindly giving money to nonexistent technology isn’t enough to make it real, no matter how many angry comments you leave.
Here’s some items that managed to see the light of day:
With the third iteration of the Micro Drone, Extreme Fliers have given their handheld quadcopter an optical hardware overhaul. The new unit’s camera module is capable of streaming HD footage to your device at 30 frames per second, so you can capture sweeping landscapes in stunning 720p, or take the most convoluted aerial selfies imaginable. But aside from being a flying photographer with a palm-sized footprint, this drone offers stereoscopic 3D views with any smartphone VR headset.
If you’re looking to break into the nascent drone racing scene, or just want to recreate the speeder bike chase from Return of the Jedi, the Micro Drone 3.0 can be had for $145 in the Mashable store.
Although Kickstarter is usually a place where ambitious entrepreneurs compete for eyeballs to get funding for unique items like espresso-making phone cases, Bernie Sanders action figures (actually funded), and charity kimchi binges, it can also be the perfect way to sell thoughtful reinterpretations of everyday stuff. The Bomber Barrel Duffel Bag dispenses with gimmicky virality to give you a no-nonsense carryable that’s elevated by its attention to details. It’s made from ripstop nylon to provide a lightweight, weather-resistant shell reinforced with military-grade clips and emergency paracord zipper pulls. Pick up one of these Bomber Barrel Duffel Bags here for 65% off the list price, just $69.99.
With most smartphones unable to last more than two days on a single charge, a dedicated light source is essential for camping and other outdoor adventures. The LuminAid PackLite Lantern has an ingenious inflatable body that’s totally waterproof to keep your gear illuminated when flash-flood disaster strikes. It can be charged quickly over USB, but it also contains a high-efficiency solar panel that can refill the battery in just 10 hours. This packable light shines for up to 24 hours on a single charge. Grab one here for $19.99.
Let’s be real, caring for fish mostly requires daily sprinklings of odd-smelling flakes. But if you aren’t particularly motivated to keep their underwater environment clean, that neglected tank will quickly become Hotel California. Since siphoning out several gallons of water every couple weeks is a giant hassle, especially in small dwellings, the EcoQube offers a self-sustainable alternative to a typical fish tank. This aquatic ecosystem is small enough to fit on your desktop, and grows fresh herbs with zero effort. You can get one here in the Mashable store for $99.99—44% off retail.
Ticwatch 2 offers a refined smartwatch experience that doesn’t try to do too much. Instead of treating this wearable as another platform to be enriched entirely by third-party developers, Mobvoi’s in-house TicwearOS integrates essential services directly. And it works equally well with Android and iOS devices, so you won’t be further chained to the Apple or Google device ecosystems. This watch also features standalone GPS and fitness monitoring to allow for completely phone-free workouts. The Ticwatch 2 is available here for $169.99.