Top crowdfunding gadgets

Last time we took a look at one of crowdfunding’s best known ventures, the Oculus Rift, in advance of its launch in the first quarter of 2016.

The popularity of the virtual reality HMD is easily measured not just by the success of its Kickstarter campaign, but by the media interest accrued over the length of its development and rush by big brands to create a competitor for the consumer market.Crowdfunding as an alternative finance system in this way is a reasonably accurate measure of public enthusiasm for the ideas offered up, and is a reflection of the changing way in which we’re using the internet today.

Our perception of the internet as a free-to-use social space is well exemplified in the passing of legislation, across several countries throughout the West, that declares internet access an integral part of modern communication and therefore a fundamental basic human right.

As our online presence has become global, so has the breadth of platforms on which we are aggressively advertised to –  a topic touched upon in this week’s (rebroadcast) episode of Gimlet Media’s hugely engaging ‘show about the internet’, Reply All, which I’d recommend to any netizen or podcast enthusiast.

The targeted advertising born of this environment has left many millennials feeling frustrated as their sacred space is increasingly monopolised by corporations determined to tip the balance in their favour through lobbying for legislation that will impinge upon net neutrality and continue to push towards digital media that is focused on consumption over information.

Crowdfunding – backer generated demand

In the face of this, crowdfunding platforms are beginning to find their place in the mainstream as the internet savvy consumer uses their purchasing power to invest not just in independently developed products but ultimately in the teams of people developing them, giving legitimate power to startups in a way virtually unimaginable across other media spheres.

However, bringing a good product to the arena is only half the battle, and crowdfunding campaigns are not launched without considerable risk.

A winning strategy is one based on exceptionally high standards of visual presentation. To secure backers you must create faith not just in your idea, but also in your ability to successfully deliver the promised goods; at first glance you must be able to create the imaginary experience of the final product, be it music, art, film, or gadgetry, through your campaign.Money and time will be spent on product design and development; prototyping; on graphic design and creating a strong brand identity; and, arguably the most difficult aspect of the proess, creating product awareness and desirability in a market as saturated as the internet.

Yet, with a 56% fail rate on Kickstarter, even well presented ideas are not guaranteed success, especially if there isn’t any demand for your product. Further constrictions upon chance of getting your idea funded and out there are user demographics; if your product is aimed exclusively at a female market, you may struggle to garner interest from a largely male audience.

These statistics, whilst showing the limitations of the current crowd funding consumer market, do provide an interesting insight into the wants of the demographic most represented, and it is with this in mind we’ll look at some of current tech gadgets currently raking in the backers, on offer for people perhaps a little like you and me – on our laptops plugged in at our local coffee house, fulfilling stereotypes with accuracy that would only be bettered, on my part, by the ability to grow a beard.

Mobile office gadget powerhouse

Maximising your worktop space, the Apex laptop stand is ergonomically designed to better your viewing posture and alleviate associated aches and pains. If that doesn’t do it for you, the prospect of lifting your laptop out of the splash zone of coffee shop spills just might.

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Apex laptop stand – image source: Kickstarter.

If, like me, you’ve become accustomed to working in dual screen on your desktop, the screen real estate of a mobile office setup can feel pretty inhibiting to productivity. This wicked slick kickstarter, Slidenjoy, will extend your screen via USB with fully HD IPS panels. There’s even a triple screen option available, but that’s dangerous territory as anyone knows once you go bigger it’s harder to go back.

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Slidenjoy screen extender – image source: Kickstarter.

Should you be lucky enough for your work to take you further afield, or if you just can’t leave it behind when you’re going away, the G-RO carryon might be the one for you. Highlights of its numerous features on offer include ‘a battery with enough juice (23,000 mAh) to charge your phone, tablet and laptop all at once’ with the charging port placed inside the laptop compartment,  plus a location tracker and proximity detector.

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G-RO luggage – image source: Kickstarter.

How about turning your smartphone into a high-precision 3D scanner? Or making the most of this gen’s smartphone cameras by using Phonedrone to get aerial footage for your next project?

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Phonedrone, a cloud-connected aerial vehicle – image source: Kickstarter