Specifically, plushy pillows in the shape of certain Apple products.
Anki’s Cozmo is a fun fist-size robot for education and play, and now the company is taking its compact robots to the next level with Vector. Unlike Cozmo, Vector doesn’t need your smartphone to supplement its brain, and it uses artificial intelligence to learn. It’s also designed to be more of an assistant and can learn names and faces, as well as link to the internet to find answers to your questions. The idea is to make Vector your companion instead of just a robot toy. There’s a Kickstarter so you can get a Vector for US$199.99 on October 9th, and it’ll be available to the general public for $249.99 on October 12th.
There’s a fighting robot on the Kickstarter scene called Super Anthony. It’s 15 inches tall and weighs 4.6 pounds, but it can punch with the power of a human at 99 pounds. It’s programmed with fighting moves out of the box, and you can program your own moves on your computer. Tristan Greene at TheNextWeb wrote a review of Super Anthony. He says that although the robot has a powerful punch, “I’m pretty sure a modified Roomba would take this thing down, so it’s not a street fighter.” You can preorder it on Kickstarter, starting at US$1,299 for the Super Early Bird reward.
Check out the Mac Caddy on Kickstarter. It’s a clip-on caddy designed to specifically fit on the back of current iMacs. That’s the slim edge 21.5-inch and 27-inch iMac design from late 2012 to current 2017 models. In addition to being a caddy to help reduce desk clutter, it also has a built-in camera cover for those concerned about privacy. There are cable slots on the side, as well as compartments for your stuff. The company has raised US$2,600 towards a goal of $18,000 so far, with 27 days to go. Funding is earmarked for tooling to put the Mac Caddy into production. As of this writing, there are Early bird slots available for $30 that will net you a Mac Caddy. As someone with a messy desk, it instantly resonated with me.
Bryan Chaffin got a demo of the MOD-t—at a coffee shop, no less—and was quite impressed with the $300 self-contained 3D printer.
If you were excited about the prospect of having your own personal robot flying around your house you’ll have to keep dreaming because the Aevena Aire Kickstarter project has officially shut down.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a command line cowboy or a total newbie to Terminal. There’s an awesome tool called XikiHub looking for funding on Kickstarter. The founder of XikiHub says it is the social command line, and the project looks really cool. It’s based on Xiki, a command line platform. XikiHub will give you a friendlier and more powerful Terminal. What’s more, the platform will get even better over time. Users can contribute commands for high-level interfaces like git and changing the desktop background. XikiHub will also support repeating recent commands and searching the community for help to remember which commands do what. This social repository for commands is also open source. The developer uses a multi-pronged security approach, and will have a low tolerance for abuse, spam, or social media marketing. This will be one of my rare backings on Kickstarter. Hopefully, you’ll back it, too.
As a fellow who earned his living in front of a computer, I’ve been interested in all the recent approaches to changing how we work. It’s hard to know if these things will prove a fad, but things like standing desks are growing in popularity. Enter FlexiSpot, a new project on Kickstarter that is part exercise bike (with a desk) and part standing desk. It seems clever to me, and the company is past the halfway point in its funding goal of $50,000, with 26 days to go. The seat is adjustable, as is the height of the desk. You can also slide the desk back over the seat so you can use it as a standing desk. There are a few Early Bird funding options left at $349 that get you a FlexiSpot. Delivery is estimated for November of 2017.
AstroPad Studio maker Astro HQ launched a Kickstarter for their new Luna Display on Tuesday and within hours it blew past its funding goal several times over.
I’m not a big gamer, but Jettomero: Hero of the Universe is one I can really get behind. You play the role of a giant clumsy robot who wants to keep the universe safe while learning about its own mysterious past. The art has a wonderful comic book feel, the original soundtrack is great, and the game just looks like a giant bucket load of flat-out fun. Developer Gabriel Koenig has nearly finished the game and has a Kickstarter to handle the final costs of bringing it to market. It’s going to be available for Mac, Windows, Linux, and Xbox, and it can’t come soon enough.
Zachary and Kelly Weiner are the brilliant minds behind The Holy Bible Abridged Beyond the Point of Usefulness, and now they’re back with a new book: Science Abridged Beyond the Point of Usefulness. The book explains every scientific field with only a couple sentences each, and it’s awesomely funny as well as spot-on accurate. It’s a Kickstarter project that’s already reached funding, but there are still a few hours left to sign up for your copy. Some pledge levels include the new book Soonish and their abridged Bible book, too—and they’ll even sign your copies.
Are you a fan of Apple’s Final Cut Pro? Or curious about the controversial history of the Final Cut Pro X update? Check out Off the Tracks, a Final Cut Pro X documentary that just hit its crowdfunding goal on Kickstarter. The documentary features interviews with key industry figures and filmmakers, including Randy Ubillos, the creator of Final Cut Pro and iMovie. The documentary won’t be completed until early next year, but you can reserve an early copy for a pledge of $25.
It’s designed to teach kids the fundamental building blocks of how computers work, and it’s super cool.
3D printing is poised to be affordable by a lot more people, and there’s a project on Kickstarter speaking to this trend. It’s called Neva, and it’s a $399 3D printer from established 3D printer manufacturer Dagoma. Actually, there are $299 Early Bird pledge level available as of this writing that will net you a Neva, but the retail price for the device is set at $399. In addition to being inexpensive, it’s designed to be operated with just one button. They’re also made in California, and the bases themselves are 3D printed. The video below is a tad weird in that the narrator tells you lots of things and then says, “but we won’t” tell you that thing. It’s interesting anyway. The project blew past its funding goal of $50,000 in a few hours (earning more than $10,000 in pledges while I wrote this Cool Stuff Found). That speaks to the desire that many people have to be able to 3D print on their own desk.
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.