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Smart concepts on Kickstarter (photos)

What are some of the smartest projects made possible through crowdfunding?

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Topic: Innovation
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1 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The next step in bike lighting

Revolights, a Bay Area design project, aims to offer an alternative to traditional bike lighting systems. 

Using two thin LED rings -- white in the front, red in the back -- using clips, these are mounted directly on to each bike rim. A tiny, USB-chargable polymer lithium-ion battery powers the lighting through a thin wire, and a small magnet is secured to the fork.

The lights are placed on both back and front to give the rider better vision, and so not only can car drivers see them, but the cyclist will have a better idea of what obstacles are on the road.

According to the team, almost 70 percent of all nighttime accidents are caused due to poor visibility.

The Kickstarter campaign managed to reach $215,621 in funding, based on a $43,500 goal.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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2 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The Robotboat

The Roboboat Mark VI is part of a fleet of anonymous robots that are being launched to data collect in the world's oceans.

The team say that even one boat will make a lot of difference to data collection, tracking ocean currents, climate change and water resources -- information necessary in creating informed policies about the world's oceans. However, without crowdfunding, research and development of unmanned boats takes far longer.

Five boats have been developed and deployed over the last several years.

The Kickstarter campaign managed to reach $83,424 in funding, based on a $80,000 goal.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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3 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

SmartThing

SmartThings is a project fringing on the 'Internet of Things' concept -- a way to connect the world around you to a digital device.

The SmartThings hub and accompanying range of apps, installed on your mobile device, connects your household with your smartphone. The open-source programming can be used to control your door (sense if someone enters or leaves), heaters, or TV and lights to fool thieves.

According to the developers, you can customise any device in your home depending on weather conditions -- such as turning your heater on when it's cold, or leaving the sprinklers off when it rains. In addition, you can keep an eye on drawers with precious items, and be alerted when they are opened.

SmartThings is an open platform, and the company recently teamed up with other Kickstarter projects to add more products and uses to the hub. 

The Kickstarter campaign managed to reach $1,209,423 in funding, based on a $250,000 goal.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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4 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The world's lightest electric vehicle

Booster Boards, claiming to be the world's lightest electric vehicle, is a company that creates longboards complete with 2000W lithium ion battery that propel users forward with 2.6 horsepower motion.

But how does it work?

"You start with a handheld remote with throttle and braking control and a battery gauge readout. To charge it, simply plug in the included charger just like a laptop, phone, or any other device. If you run out of charge, or you just feel like pushing, go for it - it still rolls like a normal longboard (but with a little bit of drag). That's it... it's that simple."

Each board lasts six miles without needing to swap or recharge your battery. Electricity cost is approximately $5 for every 2000 miles, and you can go up to 20mph.

The Kickstarter campaign managed to reach $467,167 in funding, based on a $100,000 goal.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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5 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Printing with light

Lumi is a design team determined to take photography off the screen and onto fabric.

Based on Inkodye -- a type of dye that develops its color through sunlight -- photographs can be printed on any natural fiber, including cotton and silk.

Inkodye is currently available in red, orange and blue. Once printed on supplied transparent film, you transfer the print to fabric, which is then washed with detergent after you achieve the level of color you're after. 

Images can be taken with a standard camera or smartphone, where an accompanying app (currently available for iOS) can tweak, save and sent photos. 

The Kickstarter campaign managed to reach $268,437 in funding, based on a $50,000 goal.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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6 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Become a window farmer

WindowFarms, vertical food gardens, is a New York-based campaign which aims to let people grow their own food in the often limited space of New York City apartments.

Made from 'environmentally friendly' plastic and wire, each holder can either hang from your window on hooks, or stand on their metal base. Each Windowfarmer can purchase a number of baby plants -- from vegetables to fruit, or herbs and medicinals. There is also a community support forum for budding farmers to discuss the system.

A classic four-column windowfarm will cost you $269.

The Kickstarter campaign managed to reach $257,307 in funding, based on a $50,000 goal.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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7 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

A smart way to find your car

Find My Car Smarter is an app for the iPhone 4S which caters for the time -- more often than not -- that you complete your shopping and completely forget where you left your car.

Alternative apps require you to launch it and 'pin' the location before running off to finish your errands, but thanks to either the branded accompanying Bluetooth device or a compatible Bluetooth device, you need to pair the product and your phone once before simply launching the app whenever you forget your car's location.

When you start your car, the Find My Car Smarter App wirelessly connects to a Bluetooth device, powered by your cigarette lighter. The Bluetooth device automatically turns off, and so the App realizes that your car is parked and then activates the GPS on your iPhone momentarily to save your car's location.

If you lose your car, launching the app then plots a map for you and leads you back to it. 

The device is now priced at $40.

The Kickstarter campaign managed to reach $40,177 in funding, based on a $10,000 goal.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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8 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Control your lighting with your smartphone

LIFX is a new multi-colored LED lightbulb that can be controlled through a smartphone application.

Created by Phil Bosua, LIFX ''smartbulbs' replace your existing bulbs and apparently last 25 years each. Controllable through an Android or iOS device, you can change your lighting to any color on the spectrum, and can be dimmed depending on your mood. 

In addition, you can automate your lighting system so the lights dim when you are drafting off, or slowly brighten when it's time to get up.

The Kickstarter campaign managed to reach $1,314,542 in funding, based on a $100,000 goal.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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9 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

An alarm which forces you to get up

The Ramos alarm clock is curently on my watch list once it becomes commercial -- as when Winter sets in, most of my alarm clocks end up broken, or I become immune to the call.

What makes this different? It forces you out of your warm, cosy nest to another part of the house, where you must input a code to quieten it. 

The alarm comes in two sections; the standard, wooden alarm, and an accompanying, separate keypad which can be hung up in any area of the house you like. 

The Kickstarter campaign managed to reach $153,585 in funding, based on a $75,000 goal.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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10 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

The Parallella project

A supercomputer for everyone?

The Parallella project, inspired by projects including the Raspberry Pi, wants to offer parallel programming to the average consumer. The parallella board is open access, based on open-source development tools and costs under $100. 

The Kickstarter campaign managed to reach $898,921 in funding, based on a $750,000 goal.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com
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11 of 11 Charlie Osborne/ZDNet

Become surveillance-free

The FreedomBox Foundation aims to develop a software platform to keep your digital activities away from prying eyes.

Designed to run in small, cheap 'plugin servers' no bigger than a standard power adapter, FreedomBox software wants to replace centralized, governmental connections in order to thwart censorship and surveillance attempts.

If a government pulls the kill switch, then your modifed plugin server could serve as a backup Internet connector.  

The Kickstarter campaign managed to reach $86,724 in funding, based on a $60,000 goal.

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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