There must be something in the air these days, because a whole bunch of new Kickstarter projects are looking upwards — to the air, to the sky, and sometimes even as far as outerspace. We've rounded up a handful of our favorites, which you can check out below, but be sure to hit our Browse pages for even more.
Smart Air Kites is a project that is equal parts public art and open-sourcing of citizen technology that aims to provide local residents with a window into the quality of their air. They'll host group workshops and corresponding kite flights where special, pollutant-detecting modules will be attached to their winged contraptions. Detection levels are then displayed through LED lights that change in color according to their readings, creating a "constellation of air quality indicating lights in the night sky." Pretty nifty.
Doug Reilly wants to build an ultra-lightweight and compact telescope that ca be carried on a cargo bike for spontaneous and sustainable sidewalk astronomy. In addition to creating the telescope, though, he'll be hosting public astronomy events he calls "Star Parties" once a month, in rotating locations around the city of Geneva, NY. Each will be documented online with time-lapse sequences, comments from participants, and other ways to invite interaction from supporters who couldn't make the trip. Inspiring.
Final Frontier Designs are a couple of dudes who are working to build a lightweight, (relatively) inexpensive, and super functional spacesuit for future commercial spaceflight. They've already come a long way together, placing second at the 2009 NASA Astronaut Glove Challenge in Titusville, FL at the Astronaut Hall of Fame, and completing two suit prototypes while working together as residents at Eyebeam in New York City. Phew!
Poetess Katie Haaheim is about to redefine the term "print distribution." With Kickstarter, she's going to launch a series of tissue-paper balloons loaded with poems folded into tiny paper airplanes. When the balloons reach altitude, they'll tip, sending showers of lovely poetry into the sky and down onto people below. The event will culminate with the publication of a chapbook that contains her airborne poetry, words on the launch event and stories from the people who may get in touch with her afterward (each of her poetry airplanes will also contain her contact information).
The ArduSat will be the first open platform inviting the general public to design and run their own space-based applications, borne from a team of aerospace engineers and one "high-energy physicist." Options for space exploration include the ability to control on-board cameras, broadcast personalized messages back to Earth, and hunt meteors. And for the very brave among us, there's stuff like mapping the Earth's magnetic field and starring down the eye of a hurricane. Space is the place!
"Guy" might look like your everyday human, but he's actually an alien. And he lives in Bakersfield, alongside an entire community of other aliens from Jupiter. No, this isn't real life (we think). It's a sci-comedy with "a bump of social commentary," centered around the wanderings of Guy and his son Toby as they navigate Anti-Evolution activist groups and the perils of daily life. For the chuckles, it doesn't hurt that Guy arrived on Earth in the form of a cross-dressing hippie.