40 Ideas to Inspire Your Project of Earth

How would you explain the diversity of life and culture on Earth to someone — or something — from a far-away planet?

In 1977 Carl Sagan and his team created the Golden Record — a collection of scenes, sounds, music, and greetings representing life on Earth — and launched it into space on NASA’s Voyager 1 and 2 probes. Intended as a message for other intelligent life forms who might encounter these spacecraft and wonder about their origins, the record was also an exercise in self-discovery and reflection.

Four decades later, we’re still inspired by the imagination, optimism, and curiosity that went into creating this terrestrial time capsule. So we’re asking you to contribute to making something that represents life on Earth in 2017 by putting your own imaginative idea out there for others to discover. We know, we know — representing a whole planet is a huge undertaking. That’s why we’re inviting our entire community to take part. Combined, these projects will form a portrait of the Earth today: our accomplishments, challenges, hopes, and dreams, conveyed through a diverse collection of creative projects.

What can you create to represent your little corner of the universe?

To help get your ideas flowing, we’ve collected 40 past Kickstarter projects that touch on Projects of Earth’s key themes. Take a look and begin planning — then sign up to receive creator updates and start building your project.


Exploration

“Making the record provided us with a unique opportunity to view our planet, our species, and our civilization as a whole.”  —Carl Sagan, Murmurs of Earth

Unscrambling Africa
Four friends from Nairobi, Kenya hit the road to explore and document thirteen cities across southern Africa through art and photography.

The Great American Farm Tour
A family of six piled into a converted school bus to meet people across the United States using backyards, homesteads, and farms for sustainable food production.

Let’s Sail Around the World!
Emily Richmond embarked on a solo voyage around the world and invited backers to follow along.

OpenROV Trident
You don’t have to travel to space to discover a vast realm full of strange lifeforms. This swimming robot opens up underwater exploration to everyone.

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Creating a Visual Archive of South Central L.A. with Artist Lauren Halsey


“[South Central L.A.] is a dream world. It’s beautiful. It’s powerful. It’s the most creative place I’ve ever been in the world.” —Visual artist Lauren Halsey

Through art, Lauren Halsey is working to challenge narratives of South Central L.A. Earlier this year, the she launched The Crenshaw District Hieroglyph Project on Kickstarter, a public art installation empowering residents of South Central L.A. to share their own stories. Once constructed, the installation will invite visitors to carve “hieroglyphs” into a series of blank panels, creating a visual archive of the neighborhood. The space will also be used to host community events — from outdoor concerts with local musicians to meetings that facilitate dialogue around the neighborhood’s rapid gentrification.

“As people are being pushed out of their context, their neighborhoods, their narratives, I think we need the platform to tell our stories,” she says of the collaborative project.

In the video above, Halsey shares how she got motivated to share her own story.

Inspired to bring a project of your own to life? Get started here.

Announcing Kickstarter Gold: Bold New Takes on Iconic Projects

Some of the most inventive projects in Kickstarter history are back — with a twist.

3Doodler. Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls. Music for Cats. Chineasy. These are just a few of the iconic projects whose creators are launching new campaigns today as part of Kickstarter Gold. Now through July 31, a group of over 65 exceptional artists, designers, musicians, and makers will be back on Kickstarter, putting new spins on ideas from their past projects. Whether you’re just discovering their work or you’re a long-time fan, you’ll have the opportunity to support some of Kickstarter’s most inspired creators — and collect exciting rewards that aren’t available anywhere else.

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Our Messaging Tools Just Got Better

More than 27,000 messages a day pass through Kickstarter’s messaging system. That’s a lot to keep up with, especially for active backers and creators. So we’ve rolled out something new on the Kickstarter site: a revamped messaging system that makes it easier to manage the flow.

You’ll notice that your message box has a cleaner look and some new features. A popup menu on the right lets you choose from different views of your messages — including new Spam and Archive options. And you can archive messages from here with one click.

When you’re looking at a message from a creator, you’ll now see more information about their project and your pledge on the left side. The buttons up top let you archive messages that you want to save for later, or report messages as spam.

Speaking of spam, creators have told us they get too many unsolicited pitches from marketers and other service providers. So we've added a new service that should automatically flag those messages and keep them out of your inbox. If the system doesn't catch a spam message, you can improve the filters and help everyone out by tagging it manually. You can also go to your Spam box to review messages and mark them as “not spam” if need be. 

 We’ve just made these new messaging features available to all of our users. We hope they improve backer-creator communication and make your inbox a better place to be!

Launch a Project of Earth: August 20 – September 5

Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were. But without it we go nowhere. — Carl Sagan

For the fortieth anniversary of the Voyager Golden Record’s launch into space, we invite creators to launch new projects inspired by its scenes, sounds, music, and greetings. Read on for the details, and sign up to receive updates about the initiative.

 

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Instructables Invention Challenge

“To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.”
-Thomas Edison

Have you ever looked at a brilliant Kickstarter campaign and gone, “Why didn’t I think of that?” Well, it’s time to put your imagination to work and invent something of your own. We’re collaborating with the how-to experts at Instructables to bring you the Invention Challenge, a chance to share your brightest ideas and invent something to share with the world. To enter, create something that completes a task, solves a problem, or just makes life more fun, then post an Instructable explaining how you did it before July 31.

To celebrate the most ingenious inventions, we’re offering some creativity-enabling prizes that got their start on Kickstarter. You could win a Nomad CNC mill, a Robo 3D printer, or a Teensy microcontroller — great prototyping tools to help move your idea forward. So brainstorm, iterate, and turn that proverbial pile of junk into something exciting and new. Maybe you’ll even feel inspired to take the next step and bring your idea to life on Kickstarter.

Here’s a bit more about the Kickstarter-funded creative tools that you could win.

Nomad CNC Mill
Cut wood, metal, circuit boards, casting wax, and many other materials with this desktop CNC mill. While this versatile machine would be a welcome addition to any makerspace, artist's studio, or jeweler’s workshop, its enclosed design means that it’s quiet and clean enough to use at home.

Robo C2 3D Printer
3D printers can help you make amazing things but sometimes getting them to work is a project unto itself. Robo’s easy-to-use, Wi-Fi–connected machines are designed to let makers focus on seamless creativity rather than technical troubleshooting. 

Teensy 3.6 Development Board 
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. 


With a lot of hard work and some help from backers on Kickstarter, these creators turned their imaginative ideas into real inventions that now help people pursue their own creative dreams.

Want to enter the Invention Challenge but need some inspiration? Sign up for our Invent newsletter to see the latest in design and tech on Kickstarter. And check out Instructables’ Invention Class to learn more about the process of bringing your ideas to life.

 

‘Spa Night,’ the Award-Winning Film that Almost Didn’t Get Made


When the investors in Spa Night, Andrew Ahn's first feature film, unexpectedly backed out, Ahn was suddenly faced with the possibility that the project he’d poured his heart and soul into might never get made.

But he wasn’t about to give up on the story he’d been working for years to tell — an intimate, atmospheric exploration of immigrant and LGBTQ identities, set against the backdrop of Los Angeles’ Koreatown. So in October 2014, Ahn launched a Kickstarter project to fund pre-production. With the support of 592 backers, he raised $62,915 to bring Spa Night from script to screen. 

“The most difficult thing in creating a film, or any sort of art project,” Ahn said, “is that you just have to get out of your own way. Kickstarter gave me that extra energy and motivation to just do it.” 

The film premiered at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, where lead actor Joe Seo won the Special Jury Award for Breakthrough Performance. Spa Night also took home the John Cassavetes Award at the 2017 Film Independent Spirit Awards, where Ahn delivered a moving speech about the importance of telling stories that reflect the diversity of the United States.

Watch the video above to learn more about Ahn’s path from Kickstarter creator to award-winning feature filmmaker. 

Inspired to bring a project of your own to life? Get started here.

MAKE Vinyl with Kickstarter and Qrates

Today Kickstarter is extremely excited to announce a new collaboration with Qrates — an award-winning, one-stop service for creating and releasing vinyl records. The initiative, called MAKE Vinyl, helps music creators access more tools and resources to successfully fulfill their projects and develop their careers. Through MAKE Vinyl musicians enjoy support from the Qrates team, which has expertise in budgeting, designing, pressing, fulfilling, and distributing vinyl records. The Kickstarter Music team will help set up your projects for success with pre- and post-launch tips and if needed, feedback on your projects before they’re live.

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