Tech Weekly: Forces of Attraction

Magnets, how do they work? We might not know for sure, but we do know there are a number of projects in our Technology category putting them to good use. From a portable wireless phone charger to a veritable magic wand for your guitar, this week's projects are both wildly inventive and incredibly attractive.

ON - Magnetic Portable Wireless Charging for iPhone and S6

We put a man on the moon, but we still fumble with cables to charge our cell phones. The folks behind ON think there's a better way. The device consists of two parts: a charger, and a case for either your iPhone or Galaxy. The charger contains a 5000mAh battery, recharges from the wall, and interfaces wirelessly with the case to charge your device using the Qi inductive power standard, at home or on the go. 

Wond, the String Exciter - Sustain and Control in your hand

Paul Vo knows guitars. He developed the technology inside the Moog Guitar, the Moog Lap Steel, and ultimately created the Vo-96 Acoustic Synthesizer. Now he's back on Kickstarter with the Wond, an electromagnetic device allows you to coax totally new sounds out of your acoustic guitar. Unlike the Vo-96, the Wond is handheld, which means you can use it with any of your stringed instruments. Just pick it up, squeeze the pinch zone, and the magnets inside make those strings vibrate, resulting in some pretty sweet sustains.

Imbue - The Magnetic Tea Infusing Vessel

Nothing against bags, but loose leaf tea is where it's at. The only problem is that it's kind of a tough proposition when you're on the go. But the smartly-named Imbue is a tea infusing vessel that's designed to simplify that process. Just scoop some tea into the strainer, connect it magnetically to the handsome wooden lid, pour in some hot water and flip. Steep for as long as you like. Plus, the lid is leak-proof, so feel free to toss Imbue in your bag and take your tea to go.

Space Coffee Cup

The single best thing about gravity is the way that it keeps our coffee in our cups. But that only works here on Earth; Astronauts are not so lucky. The team behind the Space Coffee Cup thinks they may have the answer though. They've come up with a cup design that operates on the principles of capillary flow. The idea is that properties like shape, wetting condition, and surface tension can keep that coffee in this vessel and off your space shirt.

IKAWA | Home Coffee Roaster

Speaking of coffee and space age technology, we're in love with the IKAWA, a first-of-its-kind digital micro roaster for the home. Everyone knows that fresh coffee is the best, and it doesn't get fresher than home-roasted beans. Just toss some green coffee beans into the top, select the roast recipe on your smartphone, and watch those beans go. In no time at all you've got a super fresh roast ready to go. And if you're feeling adventuresome, go ahead and tweak that recipe for a bold new flavor experience.

Rediscovering the Forgotten Work of Craw

If you are a music fan, you’re probably familiar with the phrase “I’ve heard of it but haven't heard it.” Now that the internet is a thing (the internet is sticking around, right?), you probably hear it way more than you used to. Everyone knows a little bit about everything, even if they’ve never actually heard the thing in question. Musician/journalist Hank Shteamer took it upon himself to excavate the early catalog of Cleveland post-hardcore band Craw, a quietly influential group that somehow managed to do what is now almost impossible: be forgotten.

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This Week In Kickstarter

Welcome back to our approximately twice-fortnightly rundown of some of the lesser-known things that've been happening in and around our world. Right now it's serious summer vibes at Kickstarter HQ: the windows have recently been washed so the light is coming in all nice, and we swear we can smell a hint of sunscreen in the air. It's making us feel like we're finally alive, so in honor of that, here are this week’s highlights, broken down for the five senses:

35.4% of the existing McSweeney's issues.
35.4% of the existing McSweeney's issues.

Things to read, watch, play, and otherwise look at: Our favorite internet weirds McSweeney's launched their project. True to their wildly varied style, the project includes something for everyone — you can back for print goodies, swag, and emailables galore (shouts to the phrase "didge bund," which we sincerely hope will catch on in the digital fulfillment world). 

You know who's universally beloved? Grandmas. This project is a webseries that features grandmas telling stories and sharing their recipes — and it's filmed by their grandchildren. (Also, it reminds us of old-school KS favorite Oma & Bella.) 

And we have to mention Yooka-Laylee, because 3D buddy platformers are back, in a big way. 

Name socks for all three of you.
Name socks for all three of you.

Things to feel: How could we make rolling up your pants legs in the springtime even better than it already is? Well, for starters, it would certainly help if our ankles were more colorful. Take a look at these socks from Bryt (especially if your name is Sam, Charlie, Jesse, Eden, Frankie, Natalie, Noah, James, or Poppy.) And if it's your circulation that's keeping you from enjoying funky sock designs, don't worry — the peeps at Top & Derby have your feet covered too. Next up: sandals. 

Combining scents is a highly scientific process.
Combining scents is a highly scientific process.

Things to smell: Atelier des Martyrs is making scented candles happen in combinations like Lime Blossom Tarragon Petitgrain. And our old friends Commodity Perfume, which ran a Kickstarter project for their fragrance line in 2013, are launching a try-at-home service. It's pretty much Warby Parker for your nose. Well, we guess glasses sit on your nose too, so let's say it's the olfactory Warby Parker. 

Things to listen to: Did you know there's never been a book that comprehensively covered and celebrated both the TV show and the music of the Partridge Family? Johnny Ray Miller wants to fix that. And if your tastes run less seventies soft-rock and more Cleveland post-hardcore, you'll be glad to know that music writer and all-around cool person Hank Shteamer is running a project to bring back three albums by the band Craw. We talked to Hank last year and you canread that too

Hypnotic kolache.
Hypnotic kolache.

Things to taste: Do you love butter, but hate its container? This is the project for you — a Chapstick-like butter dispenser that keeps your hands grease-free. And if you live in Montclair, NJ, here's a lot of amazing-looking bread for you to liberally butter. 

And finally, unless you're from the Lone Star State, you might not be familiar with kolaches. Well, if Chris Svetlik has anything to say about that, the good people of Washington DC will soon find out how great they are. But just for good measure, we also asked the resident Texan here at Kickstarter HQ for a one-sentence description. His reply? "Texan-Czech pigs in a blanket." That's one way to look at it. 

3 Fragen, 1 Projektgründer: Interview mit Axel Pfaender

Kickstarter is now available for creators and backers across Germany — and we're sharing tips from some creators in Germany to celebrate!

Axel Pfaender ist der Projektgründer der Berlin Boombox, und vereint klassisches Boombox-Design mit neuester Technologie. Die Berlin Boombox — hergestellt aus recycelter Wellpappe, mit einem kinderleichten Aufbau — ist “ein Lautsprecher für alle,” kompatibel mit fast jedem Smartphone und MP3-Player.

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Guest Post: How to Think About Rewards

Sarah A. O. is a repeat creator and consultant on many projects across the arts, including performance festivals, music venues, dance, and photography (here is her latest project, a sci-fi graphic novel in collaboration with 50+ artists). In short, Sarah has a pretty good idea of how to put a project page together. We asked her to write a guest post for us about how to plan and structure good rewards for your project.

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Talking Shop: Framing Science through Art

Year zero was a long time ago, but that's where Rachel Sussman's "The Oldest Living Things in the World" project begins. From photographing a 13,000 year old eucalyptus specimen to an 80,000 year old clonal tree colony, Sussman's work captures an incredibly diverse breadth of living things that were here long before us, and will hopefully be here long after.

Sussman considers her work a study of Deep Time, a concept she describes as creating a more personal relationship to timescales outside of our typical human experience. 

Recently Sussman visited Kickstarter HQ to discuss the project, her path to becoming a professional artist, and offer her advice for photographers and anyone trying to approach art as a career.

Here are a few of our favorite moments:

@9:41 "I think with creative work, regardless of whether it's art or not, we all want to have this sort of lightning bolt of inspiration. And I'd love to tell you that I was standing in front of the tree and got this idea, but that's not how it happened."

@16:42 "I think there's quite a mythology that can get built up about being the artist that makes it and breaks through. And more times than not, it's really going to be yourself pulling yourself up by your bootstraps."

@29:12 "Working through fear and doubt, and not giving up, is more important than what camera you have, or should you switch mediums. To me it's always about the idea."

Be sure to watch the full video above, then take a look at the project page or Sussman's website.

Tech Weekly: Out of This World

Space: the coolest frontier. We all want to go—to boldly follow in the footsteps of legends like Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and the other ones. While consumer space flight may still be a few years off, that's not going to stop some intrepid creators from shooting for the moon. Our Technology category is brimming with space-age modern marvels like the ones you see below.

Vulcan I: Rocket Powered by 3D Printed Engine

According to the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space, "The next logical step in human civilization is not only to explore, but to evolve into a spacefaring civilization." SEDS is a group of undergraduate students at the Universtiy of California, San Diego, and their project is called Vulcan 1. The mission is to design, print, and test a fully 3D-printed rocket engine. If all goes well, they'll launch the Vulcan I in June, and take the record for highest flight of a rocket powered by a 3D-printed engine.

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