The Kickstarter Blog

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  1. Connected Everything: Our Tech Predictions for 2015

    RocketSkates are carrying us into 2015.
    RocketSkates are carrying us into 2015.

    It’s fascinating to follow tech projects on Kickstarter and watch people build pieces of the future. Thousands of projects have made the leap from the workshop to the mainstream in a few short years. So we thought it would be fun to look at the year ahead through the eyes of the people who have checked out more tech and design projects than anyone else. John Dimatos, Julio Terra, and Nick Yulman are Kickstarter staffers devoted to these projects, and the time they’ve spent talking to creators and tracking trends makes their perspective unique. Here are their predictions for 2015, which build on the things we’ve seen bubbling up on Kickstarter in 2014.

    Squink lets you create circuits like this one at home.
    Squink lets you create circuits like this one at home.

    John Dimatos

    DIY circuit boards. Techniques, products, and kits allowing you to prototype circuit boards that are one step closer to production level, along the lines of Squink, Circuit Scribe, and Cartesian’s EX¹.

    A factory on your desk. First came 3D printing, and now comes the spread of CNC milling — computer-controlled sculpting and carving. The Othermill, the Nomad CNC, and Carvey are the first of what are likely to be many inexpensive options for precision machining with easy-to-use software, opening up this technology to a much larger creative audience.

    New flavors of 3D printing, using advanced materials and composites. We’ve seen magnetic filament, carbon fiber and flexible filament. What’s next?

    More stuff made of carbon fiber, a material that’s still largely untapped. It’s popping up in wallets: Common Fibers, RCFibers, Carbon Leather.

    Edyn monitors your plants and controls watering.
    Edyn monitors your plants and controls watering.

    Julio Terra

    Connected everything. More smart Bluetooth and Wi-Fi devices, in the footsteps of the Pantelligent frying pan, the Noke padlock, the Edyn garden waterer, and the Point home monitor.

    Smarter, smaller drones. We saw a lot of fun drone projects this year, including Hexo+. Watch for drones to get more sophisticated as their software starts to solve harder problems, like collision avoidance. And we’ll see more tiny drones like Zano and the Pocket Drone, shooting photos and video, everywhere, all the time.

    Wraparound video. The 360-degree video camera projects we saw this year, like the 360cam and Joey, will make more of an impact next year, especially as the gear for viewing immersive video gets cheaper and more accessible.

    Health tech for monitoring your every twitch will be pretty big. The Stethee heart monitor and the Quitbit stop-smoking device are recent examples.

    DIYVR takes a keep-it-cheap approach to virtual reality.
    DIYVR takes a keep-it-cheap approach to virtual reality.

    Nick Yulman

    Oculus for everybody. The mainstreaming of affordable virtual- and augmented-reality viewers and control interfaces, going beyond hardcore gaming applications. Viewbox and DIYVR are early efforts at this. Increased attention to audio and haptics in this area as well.

    Touch screen burnout. More simple, single-purpose physical interfaces and notification systems that provide some relief from touchscreen/hands-free fatigue. More attention to choices of design and materials for these controls and displays too. These will let people set up their own tactile interfaces for different smart-device functions and make them feel good to use. Recent examples: Pressy, Spin remote, Palette, Ditto, Notti.

    People movers. More innovation in personal transport and vehicles — electric, hackable, smartphone-connected things with wheels, along the lines of Onewheel, Acton RocketSkates, and Whill.

  2. 20 Questions with Cool Sports Stories For Kids' Ben Miller

    Ben Miller's Cool Sports Stories For Kids is a hilarious collection of semi-fake stories about athletes that are absolutely not for kids. When we got a copy of the zine in the office, we crowded around it like we'd discovered a new species of animal. After we laughed for a good 30 minutes, we decided we would hit up Miller for our 20 Questions series to see what he was all about. Turns out, his job somehow involves fishing, and somehow that's boring? Who knows. There's a lot of good stories below, read on:

    Tell us about the last great meal you had:

    I ate a can of chili last week. Later I found out that it was expired by two years.

    First movie you saw in a theater:

    I can't remember. But I saw American Beauty in high school. I asked out my friend's ex-girlfriend on the phone. Apparently he was at her house at the time. After I asked her to the movie, she said, "Hey, Jonathan's here" then put him on the phone. It was really awkward.

    An experience you'll never forget:

    When I was five years old during a moment of silence in church I yelled "butthole" real loud.

    Music you loved as a teenager:

    '90s college radio. My sister DJ'ed at a college radio station when she was in high school. I used to listen to the shows on the radio and tape them on a cassette. I was like 9 or 10 or 11. I grew out my hair and some redneck kid in my class started calling me sheepdog because of it. It's hard to calculate how big of an impact that music had on me.

    First book you remember being really affected by:

    Skim by Mariko Tamaki. This is a graphic novel that I think is intended for Japanese teenage girls. I had read just a couple of graphic novels at the time and decided to grab it for some reason. Anyway, this book is strange and really well done and it got me interested in graphic storytelling.

    How do you start each morning:

    I drink a bunch of coffee and write and try to come up with ideas for an hour.

    Favorite app?

    Twitter. Hit me up: @kfctacobell

    What's your computer desktop/phone lockup screen?

    A hot air balloon that says Samsung on it. I'm sorry.

    Your favorite personal item of clothing:

    Hunting cap lined with rabbit fur. I know it's wrong to buy fur but I got it secondhand. That's not as bad, right?

    What do you carry with you every day?

    A fishing license. I have to go fishing for my job sometimes. I hate it. It's so boring.

    Favorite place to eat:

    My apartment. I live with two friends who are Asian American and there's always a hot pot going or homemade spring rolls or a buttload of seafood.

    Place you wish everyone could visit:

    I'm taking Amtrak to LA from Philly in a couple months, but the long way. Through the Rocky Mountains and like up in Montana and North Dakota then down the coast through Washington and Oregon. I haven't done it yet, but I'm already recommending it.

    Person in your field whose career/life/work you admire:

    I like going to comics and zine festivals. I always end up being surprised by someone really talented that I'd never heard of.

    Who did you learn the most from?

    My mom told me, "If there's nothing you're passionate about then be passionate about finding a passion." Nobody wants to hear their mom use the word "passion." I really wish her word choice was different. But it was great advice and I've learned a lot from her.

    Favorite thing about the place you live:

    I grew up out in the country so I love being in a big city (Philly).

    Favorite time of day and why:

    Lunch time. Sometimes I eat my lunch before 10:30 because I can't wait.

    Favorite thing to work with:

    Watercolor pencils

    What is the last thing you made?

    I'm working on a little animated project. I made some promotional drawings for that yesterday. It's called E Coli High and Episode 1 is ready to drop any day now -@EColiHigh

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