I’m a sucker for clever representations of the periodic table of elements, so of course I just love the Element Blocks Kickstarter project. Think of it as a physical version of the table with elements you can actually pick up and hold. Element Blocks includes four blocks: iron, copper, aluminum, and titanium, along with a machined display stand. The blocks are about an inch on each side and are at least 90% pure, and their element symbols and weight are laser engraved. The project has already reached funding levels with about two weeks left to go, and you can get yourself an Element Blocks set for US$38.
Check out Pebby, a pet toy that is raking in the pledges at Kickstarter. The company behind Pebby isn’t using these words, but think of it as “Sphero for your pet.” I bet Sphero is thinking that, too, but that’s for them to worry about. Anyway, this ball has a camera in it for recording your pet’s adorable antics or remotely monitoring said pet. That’s all well and good, BUT IT HAS LASERS, TOO! With an automatic “play” mode, Pebby will occupy and exercise your pet all on its own. And did I mention lasers? The play mode can activate those lasers and drive your cat to adorable antics! And boom! Video those antics at the same time. It charges in a cradle, and it can return to that cradle on its own. That means less stepping on it in the dark. Oh, and it pairs with a dongle you put on your pet, which helps Pebby interact with it. Watch the video to see Pebby in action. This is a brand new Kickstarter, and it’s already raised $68,000, well past its $50,000 goal. As of this writing, there are still Super Early Bird Special pledge levels of $124 that will net you a Pebby Smart Ball, Smart collar, and Wireless Charging Dock.
I’m something of a typography and print nerd thanks to my time in the printing industry, but I can’t hold a candle to my friend Glenn Fleishman’s devotion and knowledge on the topics. That’s why I’m so excited about his new Kickstarter campaign called Hands On: the Original Digital. Glenn is hand-crafting an amazing book about the history of print and typography as only he can, and he’s creating 100 numbered and signed letterpress books. You can follow along as the project goes from design to print to binding on the special backer’s website, which no doubt will be a fascinating process. Pledging US$100 or more gets you the limited edition book, plus the ebook version and more. Lower pledge levels get you the ebook along with other perks. When I checked last about half of the printed books were spoken for—and yes, I’ve already pledged for mine.
I’m all about how Apple ditches legacy technologies. Headphone jack? Haven’t missed it on my iPhone? Floppy disks? LOL. FireWire? OK, I miss that one (or the 5th generation we should have had by now), but I get it. Besides USB-C is pretty nifty. Magsafe, though, is a bit harder to understand. It has saved my MacBook Air uncounted times, and it’s so easy to plug it in. But, MagSafe is gone. So be it. There’ve been a few third party magnetic USB-C adapters, and I saw one on Kickstarter that’s getting some traction. It’s called MagNeo, a magnetic USB-C adapter that allows charging, data, and video, too. That makes it useful for applications beyond charging-only, which may be why it’s already raised $115,000. It’s a two-piece device machined from a solid piece of aluminum. One half goes in your MacBook or MacBook Pro, and the other half goes on the end of the cable you want to use it with. Watch the short video for more. Funding options start at $59 as of this writing.
Apple shipped AirPods. Sort of. Bryan and Jeff think it was a terrible idea to ship them before Christmas if Apple couldn’t meet demand, which is exactly what’s happening. They also weigh the merits of Kickstarter and discuss the state of augmented reality and its future.
A bearded fellow named Bruce Talbot has a nifty project on Kickstarter called Control. It’s a wooden ergonomic grip for Apple Pencil. It comes in three colors, Black Limba (which is actually the light-colored one), Ebony, and Padauk (the darker, reddish color). I’m a terrible artist, but I love Apple Pencil. I can’t imagine making it more comfy to hold will make me any better, but it would make it more fun. The device is designed to accommodate different grips and can sit anywhere on the barrel. Mr. Talbot has an existing business called ninepen that makes wooden pen products, including fancy ones designed to hold nibs. He’s trying to raise $16,500, and has a long way to go as of this writing. Funding options start at $23.
There’s a project on Kickstarter called HyperDrive that raised more than $341,000 in two shakes of a lamb’s tail. It’s a USB-C hub from Sanho for MacBook Pro with Touch Bar. It’s similar to the 5-in-1 HyperDrive from the same company we had a deal on a few days ago, but this new one in development has even more ports. All told, it has HDMI, USB 3.1 x 2, microSD/SD, Thunderbolt 3, and USB-C. It’s designed to plug into both your MacBook Pro USB-C ports and take the place of any dongles you might need. As of this writing, there are still a few pledge slots for $69 that will net you one, but those are going fast. Sanho has blown by its funding goal of $100,000 by 3X, and there’s still 39 days to go on the campaign. Clearly, there’s a demand for this product in the Mac community. Check out the promo video.