Announcing Hardware Studio

Let’s face it: Some Kickstarter projects are trickier to execute than others. If you want to bring a new piece of technology into the world, for example, you need to think about selecting components, pricing them, connecting with the right factory, and so on.

All of that is easier to figure out than it was just a few years ago, thanks in part to the paths blazed by Kickstarter-funded hardware creators. But we think it could be a lot easier. That’s why we’ve teamed up with two industry leaders in this area, Avnet and Dragon Innovation, to develop something new: Hardware Studio.

The idea behind Hardware Studio is that independent hardware creators could use some help mastering the challenges of design and manufacturing well before they launch on Kickstarter. The first piece of this effort is Hardware Studio Toolkit, a new community site with valuable tools and tutorials for tech and design creators, along with contributions from Dragon and Avnet engineers, Kickstarter staff, experienced creators, and industry experts.

The second piece is Hardware Studio Connection, which will allow creators working on more advanced projects to get personalized advice, feedback, and services from engineers at Avnet and Dragon. Creators can apply for this program through a simple application, and participating projects will have the opportunity to be highlighted on Kickstarter.

We’ve chosen two terrific collaborators for this. Dragon Innovation are a team of hardware manufacturing experts who bring years of experience and smart software to helping companies make things, while Avnet is a global technology distributor with expertise in helping customers design and make their ideas and bring them to market. Kickstarter has had a relationship with Dragon for several years, and both Dragon and Avnet have guided dozens of Kickstarter creators through the manufacturing process.

Hardware Studio is set to launch in September. You can find out more and sign up to be notified of the launch here. Along with Dragon and Avnet, we look forward to helping many more innovative hardware projects come to life.

Handpicked Happening: MST3K’s Joel Hodgson

This edition of the Happening newsletter is brought to you by Mystery Science Theater 3000 creator Joel Hodgson. In 2015, with the help of 48,270 backers on Kickstarter, Joel and his team raised $5.7 million for a reboot of MST3K — making it the most-funded Film project in Kickstarter history. “Using Kickstarter gave us the same level of creative freedom we had when we first started the show almost thirty years ago,” he says of the reboot, which is now streaming on Netflix. Here, he shares some insight into his creative life. (Sign up to receive Happening in your inbox here.)

Fan art by Benjamin J. Colon
Fan art by Benjamin J. Colon

 

MST3K is back! What should everyone know about the reboot?

Well, if you already knew MST3K, I hope you'll be pleased with the feel of the new season. But you know, if you've never seen MST3K, don't worry: you can jump in anywhere, in the new or old seasons. We didn't want to make the show a love letter to the past — we actually wanted to make it a love letter to the future.

As someone who works in so many different creative fields, what are your go-to resources for creative motivation?

Music. Hunter S. Thompson said it really well:
“Music has always been a matter of Energy to me, a question of Fuel. Sentimental people call it Inspiration, but what they really mean is Fuel. I have always needed Fuel. I am a serious consumer. On some nights I still believe that a car with the gas needle on empty can run about fifty more miles if you have the right music very loud on the radio.”

Keeping notebooks. Ever since my freshman year of college, I've kept a hardbound blank notebook with me. I take notes and draw pictures of ideas as they occur to me, even if I don't know the purpose of the ideas yet.

Transcendental meditation. I started about eight years ago, just prior to starting the journey to bring back Mystery Science Theater, and I still do it twice a day. The way I describe the benefit is: Imagine your life if you landed two really good naps every day.

Who is your dream collaborator, and what would you make together?

I'd love to spend a couple of weeks working for Penn & Teller, coming up with ideas for their live shows. Honestly, I would take my vacation time to go work for them. But the sad truth is that they’re such creative dynamos, they really don’t need the help.

Four standout projects

A Trip to the Moon Coloring Book
The magician Georges Méliès is known as one of the earliest fantasy filmmakers. He also reinvented the entire filmmaking process, from printing his own film stock to creating his own studio, and everything in between.

1977 EPA Graphic Standards System Reissue
The EPA can always use a little help, especially these days, and a physical graphics manual is an incredibly valuable innovation that a lot of people never get to see.

The MicroMill: A Desktop CNC Milling Machine
Projects like this can really change the ways we rapidly prototype ideas, explore unusual craft projects, and even fix things around the house.

Paperhand Puppet: 18th Annual Puppet Performance
Puppetry is this wonderful, primitive art form that's constantly being reinvented, and this looks like a lovely project.

Three requirements for crafting a great movie riff

Respect: Collaborate with the movie, don't just mock it. It's really hard to make a movie, even a bad or cheesy one, and it deserves some respect.

Humility: We tend to shy away from sardonic know-it-all types. They're not that much fun to work with, and the goal of a good riff is to point attention to the movie, rather than the person writing the riff.

Fascination: All of our writers bring all of their personal fascinations and interests to the table, so we end up with a really varied set of references and topics in the final riffs.

Fan art by Todd Nauck
Fan art by Todd Nauck

 

Recommendations

In & Of Itself
Derek DelGaudio is an amazing performer who is re-inventing the way that magicians and audiences work together to create mystery. If you're in NYC, go see this.

Bob Dylan x Bill Flanagan
Bob Dylan seems to have reached the point in his life where he's willing to reveal some of his tricks, techniques, and influences in this interview. Totally worth the read.

"God in Chicago" by Craig Finn
On this wonderful track from the album We All Want The Same Things, Finn (from The Hold Steady) tells a beautiful and haunting story that starts to behave like a memory.

Trouble Boys: The True Story of the Replacements, by Bob Mehr
The Replacements got inside my heart somehow, and Bob Mehr does a really apt job of describing the world that they inhabited while they were doing it. It’s a modern tragedy, for sure, but the good news is that almost all the players survived to tell the tale.

Fan art by Emily Kardamis
Fan art by Emily Kardamis

Etc.

Songs that inspired the new season of MST3K, curated by Joel Hodgson (register here to read the playlist's backstory).



Psst! Sign up to receive Happening in your inbox here.

Kickstarter at the 2017 Bay Area Maker Faire



We love it when people use Kickstarter to make creative tools — devices, kits, and platforms that open up new possibilities for makers, artists, and anyone looking to bring their ideas to life. So for this year’s Maker Faire in San Mateo, California, we invited a few of our favorite creators to showcase their creativity-enabling inventions alongside some of the remarkable things people have made with them.

These projects cover a wide range of creative pursuits, from drawing on paper to building circuits (or doing both simultaneously), beginner-friendly weekend projects to powerful tools for prototyping. With more than 100 Kickstarter-funded projects on display across Maker Faire, we’re sure you’ll find something that sparks an idea for your next project. Maybe you’ll even feel inspired to share that project on Kickstarter!

Discover new creative tools at the Kickstarter booth

Circuit Scribe


Bring your paper creations to life with light, sound, and movement using this conductive-ink pen that lets you draw working circuits. Their new series of kits — now live on Kickstarter — can help you get started with projects ranging from a palm-sized paper drone to a functional calculator.

 
NeoLucida


Trace what you see with this modern version of a nineteenth-century camera lucida. The new NeoLucida XL, currently live on Kickstarter, features a larger viewing area, making it even easier to create detailed drawings.

 
Maslow


Build amazing things using this large-scale, open-source CNC machine. Its innovative design makes digital fabrication newly accessible to a broad range of makers, woodworkers, and artists.

 
Teensy


Create robots, musical instruments, and interactive projects of all kinds with this small but powerful Arduino-compatible microcontroller that’s become a favorite in the maker community. 

Kickstarter talks

How Indie Hardware Gets Made
Saturday, May 20, 1:30 p.m., Make: Live Stage
Presenters: Julio Terra (Kickstarter), Bob Merriman (Avnet), Scott Miller (Dragon)

Join representatives from Avnet, Kickstarter, and Dragon Innovation as they discuss changes to the hardware ecosystem that have made it easier than ever for independent hardware creators to bring their ideas to life.

Building Community Around Science Projects
Saturday, May 20, 11:15 a.m., MAKE: Live Stage
Presenter: Clarissa Redwine

Kickstarter offers science enthusiasts, explorers, and innovators a unique opportunity to connect with audiences and gather resources to bring their ideas to life. Learn how to build an inspiring narrative around your science project.

Reinventing Creative Tools
Saturday, May 20, 2:30 p.m., MakerPro Stage
Presenter: Zach Dunham

Kickstarter’s mission is to help bring creative projects to life, and many Design and Technology campaigns on the platform share this same philosophy. Join us for a conversation with the creators behind NeoLucida and Maslow to learn more about their explorations in reinventing classic creative tools, and the communities they’ve built around them.

3Doodler Pen Live Teardown with Fictiv
Sunday, May 21, 2 p.m., MakerPro Stage
Presenters: Clarissa Redwine and Sylvia Wu

Come get a glimpse into how the world's first 3D-printing pen was designed for manufacturing. We’ll open up the 3Doodler live on stage and talk about the intent behind its internal components.

A few projects from Bay Area creators to explore

MegaBots
Science fiction will become reality when MegaBots, Inc. unveils its Mk.III fighting robot at Maker Faire. This mechanical marvel, built by a team in Oakland, is set to engage in a giant robot duel later this summer with Kuratas, a mecha developed by the Japanese company Suidobashi Heavy Industry.

Giant Cardboard Robot Arms
For a more DIY take on giant robots, check out these cardboard creations. They’re just what you need to dominate the world — or this year’s halloween costume contest.

MonkeyLectric
Safety may be first, but fun is a very close second with MonkeyLectric’s animated bike lights. Find them in Maker Faire’s Dark Room, where all manner of glowing, light-up projects have a chance to shine.



Inspired to make something yourself? Start a project of your own, or explore live Design and Technology projects on Kickstarter.

10,000 Art Projects Funded on Kickstarter

Thousands of artists and arts organizations have used Kickstarter to connect with a global community and create some incredible projects, from major museum exhibitions to bold public art installations and collectible limited editions. Today we're pleased to announce that there have been over 10,000 successfully funded projects in the Art category. Here are a few numbers behind that milestone:

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Announcing Kickstarter's Creators-in-Residence Pilot Program

Back Row L to R: Carlos Rojas and Hannah Choe // Front Row: Rekha Shankar, Stephanie Ching, and Ellen Martinez
Back Row L to R: Carlos Rojas and Hannah Choe // Front Row: Rekha Shankar, Stephanie Ching, and Ellen Martinez

As part of Kickstarter's mission to help bring creative projects to life, we're always looking for ways to help artists and creators find the support and resources they need to make their ideas a reality. Today we're happy to announce a new pilot program that aims to do just that — the Kickstarter Creators-in-Residence program.

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Happy 8th Birthday, Kickstarter

Kickstarter launched eight years ago today — April 28, 2009. Each birthday I’m reminded of our winding path to existence.

Roughly eight years before Kickstarter’s launch — 16 years ago — our founder Perry Chen first had the idea. For eight long years, Perry worked at bringing this idea to life. Along the way he met co-founders in Charles Adler and me. Through years of determination and effort, Kickstarter was born.

Our 2009 launch is now the midpoint in our history. Since, nearly 125,000 creative projects have been successfully funded and more than $3 billion has been pledged to independent artists and creators. The $3 billionth dollar was pledged just this week! Kickstarter continues to astound us.

Here are some things we were proud to bring to life during the past year in service to the community of creators who call Kickstarter home.

The Creative Independent
Two years ago we reincorporated Kickstarter as a Public Benefit Corporation. In our Charter, we committed to create resources that help people bring their creative projects to life, and that connect people around the creative process. Last year we created The Creative Independent to do that.

 

The Creative Independent is a resource of emotional and strategic advice for artists from other artists. Each day it publishes a new interview or essay exploring a different area of the creative process. Our goal is to only publish information that could be useful to others for their creative practice, or as inspiration for more creative thinking. The Creative Independent has no advertising. It is intended as a resource.


We’re immensely proud to use our voice to share generous insights from artists about the craft of creating. Some great places to start include Henry Rollins’ inspirational push-up regiment, Anohni’s challenging thoughts on commercialization, Cynthia Daignault on not commodifying your art, and Nikki Giovanni on trusting your own voice.

Kickstarter Live 
Creators are sharing the creative process and early stage ideas in a new way with Kickstarter Live, launched last year. Through Live, backers are also getting to know the creators they’re supporting personally. It has been a positive space for community building and knowledge sharing.

Nearly half a million people have tuned in to watch creators share intimate musical performances, live product demos, gameplay tutorials, dance rehearsals, and more. The success rate for creators who engage with their communities on Live is more than twice the site-wide average (75% successful). Check out upcoming streams here.

New Communities 
Backers come from more than 220 countries and territories. Hello to all of you, around the world!

One of the first projects to launch from Mexico City — Sotomayor, a group that fuses electronic sounds with Afro-Latino rhythms.
One of the first projects to launch from Mexico City — Sotomayor, a group that fuses electronic sounds with Afro-Latino rhythms.

For creators, Kickstarter is available in twenty countries. Last year we opened up in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Mexico. More than 1,000 creators have shared new creative projects from those regions. Welcome!

We also opened our first international office in Vancouver, Canada, this year. We’re hiring, if you or someone you know is in Vancouver and would love to work at Kickstarter. 

Community Accolades
Our community continues to impress with their accomplishments. Here’s a small sampling of what they achieved in the past year:


  • The Design Museum in London unveiled a new exhibition celebrating Kickstarter design projects; 
  • Two Kickstarter-funded films were nominated for Oscars
  • Five creators garnered six Grammy nominations, winning two; 
  • More than 225 alumni showcased innovative products at the Consumer Electronics Show; 
  • De La Soul release their first album in more than a decade and it debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Rap Album chart; 
  • Joel Hodgson revived his cult classic, Mystery Science Theater 3000, with the help of 48,270 backers and just last month it premiered on Netflix becoming a hit once again; 
  • Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls sold more than 100,000 copies worldwide and became the #3 Best Selling Book for Children in the UK (#4 was Harry Potter); 
  • And The Amplifier Foundation worked with artist Shepard Fairey to create the first public art project on Kickstarter to raise more than $1M with We The People.

It remains an incredible privilege to serve you. We are deeply grateful for this experience.

Sincerely,

Yancey Strickler
Co-founder and CEO
Kickstarter, PBC

$3 Billion Pledged to Independent Creators on Kickstarter

Every five seconds someone backs a Kickstarter project. More than 12.7 million people around the world have taken a chance on new creative ideas here, pushing 123,587 of them one step closer to reality. All this just added up to an exciting milestone — as of last night, $3 billion has been pledged to independent creators on Kickstarter. It’s a big figure, but stepping back, what it represents is much bigger.

By design, Kickstarter offers creators the freedom to take risks and realize their creative vision. And it offers backers the chance to be part of a community that’s passionate about bringing new creative ideas to life. Together they’re pushing creative culture in new and ambitious directions. As we reflect on how artists, creators, and innovators have raised billions of dollars in support of creative ideas at the earliest stages of development, here are three trend lines that stand out and trace those shifts.

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A Melodious Milestone: 25,000 Funded Music Projects

Music is core to Kickstarter’s DNA. In fact, it’s how we got our start. In late 2001, Kickstarter Creator and Chairman, Perry Chen, was living in New Orleans when he had an idea to bring a pair of DJs down for show during Jazz Fest. He found a great venue and reached out to their management, but since he didn’t have the required funds the show never happened. That led him to imagine a way for audiences to pledge support for creative projects at their earliest stages. Eight years later Kickstarter launched as way to do just that.

Today, we’re celebrating a milestone that reminds us of our musical roots — 25,000 successfully funded music projects. The 22,702 independent creators behind those 25,000 projects have recorded albums, funded tours, founded labels, premiered documentaries about iconic musicians, created new instruments, and beyond. Two million people from around the world have supported those artists to the tune of $175 million.

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