10 Kickstarter projects you will be buying in 2014

13th Jul 2014 | 10:00

10 Kickstarter projects you will be buying in 2014

The tech contenders we're backing to be big

Crowd-funding sites like Kickstarter not only offer innovators and idea generators the means to get their project off the ground, it also offers us tech fans to get in on something at the ground level.

Everyone's looking for the next big thing in tech, the chance to be a pioneer for a newfangled gadget, game, service or solution. Kickstarter gives us that chance and lets us get ahead of the crowd.

Over the last couple of years, we've seen Android games consoles like Ouya and smartwatches like Pebble get their breaks on Kickstarter, while thousands of other products are now in development thanks to tech fans clubbing together.

2014 has been no different and projects from the ground-breaking and revolutionary to the 'damn, that's so simple I wish I'd have thought of it' are raking in the currency in cash and belief.

Here are 10 of the best projects coming out of Kickstarter in 2014:

1. The Universim

Price: from $10 (about £6, AU$11)
Funding goal: $320,000 (about £186,890, AU$340,412)
Funding achieved: $387,345 (about £226,221, AU$412,053)
Expected delivery: October 2015
Closed

universim

Bored of life on earth? Fancy setting up your own galactic colony and running the show like an omnipotent being? Enter The Universim, a glorious revival the planet-management genre, for Mac, PC and Linux.

The idea is to start a civilisation and help it grow through the ages, guiding it along your chosen path, helping the inhabitants to develop tools, skills and weapons through your own research. If two clans declare war on each other, you can broker a peace or sit back and watch the carnage. If a natural disaster or an alien visitor lands, you'll need to come up with a strategy to deal with it.

Best part? If the civilisation does something that displeases you it generates wrath, which you can unleash on them in the form of a tornado. It's good to be God.

TR says: Kickstarter has a vibrant gaming community and more than a hundred of games funded by campaigns on the site are now playable on Steam. This could be one of the best yet.

2. Earin

Price: £79 (about AU$144, US$135)
Funding goal: £179,000 (about AU$, US$)
Funding achieved: £829,673 (about AU$, US$)
Expected delivery: January 2015
Closes 23 July

Eearin

Meet Earin, the world's smallest pair of earbuds. They're wireless, they're rechargeable, they're Bluetooth enabled and they're really, really tiny. These individual buds comfortably fit in the ear, don't fall out when running thanks to the 'concha' lock and can still manage to produce awesome sound. The battery lasts for almost three hours and can be recharged via its own USB capsule. The price of such audio freedom? £79.

TR says: Earin just reached a $700,000 stretchgoal, meaning there'll be a dedicated app to optimise battery life and a waterproof version. Could they be the ultimate sports headphones?

3. The Micro 3D printer

Price: from $199 (about £116, AU$212)
Funding goal: $50,000 (about £29,202, AU$53,183)
Funding achieved: $3.4m (about £1.9m, AU$3.6m)
Expected delivery: January 2015
Closed

Micro printer

3D printing! Everyone's doing it these days. Actually, they're not because the damn things are still prohibitively expensive for most people. The folks behind The Micro, the tenth-highest funded project in the history of Kickstarter no less, aims to change all that with "the first truly consumer 3D printer." It's just 7-inches tall and can print items 4.3-inches in size, making it ideal for figurines, jewellery, small parts and objects. The plug and print device also comes with its own software and filament spools are cheap enough to make this an entirely affordable endeavour.

TR says: Most 3D printers are hulking, great beasts, but we love the Micro. This is your gateway into the wonderful world of 3D printing.

4. Ca7ch Lightbox

Price: from $119 (about £70, AU$127)
Funding goal: $80,000 (about £46,743, AU$85,092)
Funding achieved: $207,516 (about £121,249, AU$220,674)
Expected delivery: October 2014
Closes 19 July

Kickstarter

The Ca7ch Lightbox is a great little tool for taking mobile photos without touching your smartphone. The impossibly small, 8-megapixel camera clips on to the user's clothing and can sync with Android and iOS via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Pressing the only button takes a snap, which syncs it back to the phone, which sends it to the cloud, where you get unlimited storage. You can also use the phone to programme pics and videos at regular intervals, while the powerful clip-on it magnet means so you can attach it to items of clothing like baseball caps without risking loss.

TR says: This is great for capturing memories in those moments you just don't want to be holding your phone, say at concerts, riding on a rollercoaster, paddling in the ocean or holding a pint.

5. Bloomsky

Price: from $99 (about £58, AU$105)
Funding goal: $75,000 (about £43,821
, AU$79,755)
Funding achieved: $76,736 (about £44,836, AU$81,601)
Expected delivery: December 2014
Closes 28 July

Bloomsky

"That bloody forecast!" we hear you cry as you arrive at the office in sodden Bermuda shorts, "My iPhone weather app promised sun!"

The folks behind Bloomsky Weather Station and iPhone app want to end those damp-trousered blues by crowd sourcing the weather for you. The 5-in-1 device measures temperature, humidity, air-pressure, UV and also has a rain sensor. All of the data is fed back to the app in real time.

If you're on the move, the app pulls in real-time data from the nearest basestation or one close to where you're heading. The station also has a HD camera taking frequent pictures of the sky, so you can check out the weather at any time.

TR says: Our only concern with Bloomsky is that the Brits on the TR team will have less to complain about. Otherwise, hyper-local weather data is alright by us.

6. Avegant Glyph

Price: from $500 (about £292, AU$532)
Funding goal: $250,000 (about £146,072, AU$265,851)

Funding achieved: $1.5m (about £876,332, AU$1.6m)
Expected delivery: December 2014

Avegant Glyph

If you think this looks like a pair of headphones with a massively thick headband, well that's sort of what it is. However, within that flip-down headband, the $500 Avegant Glyph personal media viewer hosts some pretty mind-blowing display technology.

The Virtual Retinal Display has no screen. Instead it uses 2 million micro-mirrors and patented optics to project sharp, true-to-life, solid images directly into the back of your retinas. It can interface with any HDMI device, making it perfect for immersive VR, console and mobile gaming experiences, while it's also great for video, including 3D. Crucially, it isn't that much bigger than the headphones you're already carrying around.

TR says: Outside of the Oculus Rift it's one of the great hopes for VR thanks to the head-tracking tech. As far as we're concerned, no long flight will be bearable until we have a Glyph in our travel backpack.

7. PocketScan

Price: from $79 (about £46, AU$84)
Funding goal: $50,000 (about £29,211, AU$53,170)
Funding achieved: $419,751 (about £245228, AU$446366)
Expected delivery: December 2014
Closes 16 July

Pocket Scan

It isn't often, but once in a blue moon, we regret chucking away that lumbering flatbed scanner. Although the space was saved, there's still an occasional need to scan in signed documents, photos, book pages, artwork, newspaper clippings and the like.

Enter PocketScan. It allows you to move across any surface (kind of like you're painting it) and instantly see the results rendered on your screen. Beyond that scanned text and tables can be opened and edited in Microsoft Office (astounding!) and printed text can be translated (even better!). Photos appear crisp, bright and colourful, rather than the reflected mess you see when you use a camera to ditigise a printed shot.

TR says: A scanner that fits into your pocket and can move printed text into Microsoft Word? Sorry, Mr Flatbed, I think we're done here.

8. Damson Headbones

Price: from £50 (about AU$91, US$86)
Funding Goal: £50,000 (about AU$90,954
, US$85,584)
Funding achieved: £95,688 (about AU$174,063, US$163,787)
Expected Delivery: October 2014
Closed

Damson Headbones

Wouldn't it be great if the experience of using headphones was more like listening to the radio? An experience where you could hear and enjoy your music without blocking yourself off from the outside world or risking death every time you cross the road?

From the British developer of the Damson Twist speaker comes Headbones, which sit not in your ears, but on your temporal bone. The device users bone conducting technology to send the sound directly to the inner ear via vibration, while keeping the ear canal free to experience ambient noise.

TR says: Want to listen to Katy Perry in the office, while still engaging with your colleagues? Become a headboner.

9. KOR-FX gaming vest

Price: from $135 (about £79, AU$144)
Funding goal: $75,000 (about £43,817, AU$79,755)
Funding achieved: $138,614 (about £80,981, AU$147,403)
Expected delivery: September 2014
Closes 24 July

KORFX

With all of the talk about virtual reality gaming at the moment, wouldn't a gaming vest offering haptic feedback that allows you to feel your environment be a nice little accoutrement to that? Say hello to the KOR-FX.

When an enemy tank approaches, you feel it as you do in the real world, when shots are fired, you'd better believe you feel it, as 'acousto-haptic' vibrations generated from the in-game sound echo around your chest cavity. The KOR-FX vest is plug and play and will work with any existing systems via a 3.5mm jack. When combined with a device like the Oculus Rift, it might be one of the final pieces of that fully-immersive gaming world science-fiction has been promising for decades.

TR says: We can't wait to strap on a VR headset and KOR-FX vest and become so fully immersed in our gaming experiences that we scream when being shot by virtual enemies.

10. The Q

Price: from $89 (about £52, AU$95)
Funding goal: $100,000 (about £58,422, AU$106,341)
Funding achieved: $64,818 (about £3786, AU$68,928)
Expected delivery: December 2014
Closes 16 July

Kickstarter

The first smart lighting system that integrates light and sound, eh? Well, colour us intrigued. Belled Technologies has devised a lighting system that syncs with the music you're streaming from a connected device and puts on a little light show in time with your favourite tracks.

The energy-efficient LED bulbs connect up to the Wi-Fi-enabled Q Station Router. From there you can compose your own lighting designs based on the beat and your mood, via the free app for iOS and Android.

TR says: With home automation from Nest and this party-starting intelligent lighting we're looking forward to living in the home of tomorrow.

Let us know which projects you have pledged pennies to in the comments below...

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