Every year, Kickstarter gives us a multitude of fascinating projects, some of which reinvent or reinvigorate a stale concept, while others offer something wholly new. This year was no different. While the rest of the tech industry is in a bit of a lull, with legitimate innovation hard to come by, Kickstarter is continually hosting intriguing ideas. Most of them go unnoticed, many of them are unneeded, but every so often you’ll find a project that captures the imagination of thousands of people.
There were many options to choose from this year, making the list a tall task but ten stood above the rest. Here are the 10 best tech (with one, notable exception) Kickstarter projects of 2015.
Bartesian’s Home Cocktail Machine, not unlike a Keurig, works by simply adding capsules and your desired spirits. You put these capsules in the machine, select the desired drink strength, and Bartesian does the rest. Each capsule contains real, premium ingredients with no nasty artificial powders or corn syrup. Instead, they include fresh juice concentrates and non-alcoholic liqueurs, ensuring the cocktail is of the highest standard. The machine comes with recipes for Margaritas, Cosmopolitans, and Sex on the Beaches. It also has some signature cocktails of its own such as the Bartesian Breeze (mixing rum, strawberry, pineapple and lime juice, along with coconut water), the gin based Uptown Rocks, and vodka based Zest Martini. It’s a mouthwatering compilation with more available in the future through regular support and updates.
The IKAWA Home Roaster aims to provide a delicious cup of coffee every time, thanks to being the world’s first digital micro-roaster. Roasting your coffee is a simple matter of pushing a button. A range of top quality green coffee beans are provided, along with roasting recipes via an affiliated smartphone app. You can brew the coffee however you like, such as Cafetière, Espresso, AeroPress, or Filter. The IKAWA Home Roaster goes further than that though, allowing you to experiment. You can easily adjust recipes, changing the duration, temperature, or even air flow, to make coffee exactly how you like it. It’s all done through a simple to use app so no previous knowledge is required. Once you’ve arranged your favourite recipe, you can even share it with others within the community, and vice-versa, discovering new ideas and techniques.
Monkey is a gadget that enhances your regular intercom system, allowing you to have a form of smart lock without any need for a whole new system to be installed.With it, your intercom can detect you through your smartphone, allowing the door or gate to automatically open without you needing to do anything. That’s ideal when you’re carrying a pile of items and haven’t got a spare hand. Using a similar method, you can also use your smartphone to open the door remotely, from anywhere in the world. You can set this on a timer too, meaning your door will automatically open when someone calls at the right time.
Perhaps the year’s biggest Kickstarter surprise, Joel Hodgson’s sudden revival of cult classic Mystery Science Theater 3000 isn’t a tech project, per se, but is one of the biggest Kickstarters in history, and is thus deservedly on the list. Pledgers raised nearly $6 million to assure that 2016 brings 14 new episodes, plus a holiday special. As one of the most beloved cult shows of all time and, perhaps, the best sci-fi show ever, MST3K’s return is a huge deal. With new host Jonah Ray, of the Nerdist podcast, as well as Patton Oswalt on board, the new season is shaping up to be monumental.
Portable batteries have been around for years, offering users the freedom to leave home without a charger for an extended period of time. HeLi-on takes it a step further by including a solar panel that rolls into the device and can be pulled out when needed. It removes any strings there could be with a portable battery, users can simply throw it in their pocket and go, without having to charge it beforehand. When a charge is needed, simply pull out the solar panel and the HeLi-on will charge your device or itself, saving the charge to use for later on.
HUDWAY Glass is an accessory that turns your smartphone into a Heads-Up Display, immediately making things safer. The device is quick to set up and works with many different apps, including the designers’ own—HUDWAY and Speedometer. In each case, you can use it to view relevant information such as what speed you’re doing, navigational directions, speed camera warnings, and more. It’s stylishly done too with HUDWAY reducing glare, lack of reflection during daytime, and doubling of the image.
Ario is effectively a smart lamp. Connecting via WiFi, it works to keep your body clock in sync, no matter how bleak it might look outside, ensuring you’ll feel healthier. It changes light direction and color dynamically throughout the day, adjusting accordingly. It’ll also track the time, even when switched off, so it’ll adjust when you turn it on no matter how long it’s been. It’s a more personal service than that too, learning about you and what you want, so you’ll always feel like you’re getting the right kind of lighting for your mood. It’s based on over 15 years of research from Harvard Medical School, NASA and the NIH, so you’re sure of a good product.
The Polyes Q1 is a 3D pen that allows users to bring their creations to life, without the hassle or danger found in most 3D pens currently on the market. the Q1 uses photo-polymers as ink, which solidify when exposed to LED light. This means no foul odor from melting plastics, or hot parts that could potentially burn users. Polyes’ pen even has a child-safety switch to guarantee little ones won’t be harmed by the LED.
Streaming boxes are slowly pushing the world of television forward, but CAST could revolutionize the entire game. Unlike an Apple TV or Roku, CAST lets users live stream or mirror any content from their device to those of their friends and family, anywhere in the world. With thousands of channels available at your fingertips, CAST turns the solitary world of entertainment streaming into a connected web of viewers, with only one box needed for all your friends and family to watch together. For more on the remarkable device, check out our interview with CAST’s creators.
Smartphones get a little better every year, but nothing mammoth has changed in recent memory. Nextbit is looking to rectify that with its Robin smartphone, the first device of its kind that uses the power of the cloud to offer users unlimited storage. Robin is designed to be effortless, working in the background to ensure you always have the apps you need while the ones you don’t get pushed off into the cloud. It also features a distinct design that separates it from the smartphone field visually, the latest version of Android and respectable specs. It comes from the heady minds that worked on Nexus devices, the HTC One series and more, meaning the Nextbit Robin is more than just a niche product. It’s a serious player that could shake the industry.