The Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch is the latest piece of innovative tech to emerge from the Korean manufacturer. Yet these types of ideas, which push creative and technological boundaries, are sometimes born outside of the manufacturer think tank.
Before Samsung’s take on the concept, the Pebble smartwatch was conceived and since its launch, has sold over 85,000 units as of July this year. More interestingly, the concept was funded not by a big name in the tech industry, but via the crowdfunding platform, Kickstarter.
Helping to bring creative projects to life, crowdfunding is a method of raising capital for new ideas, whether it’s the next iPhone 5c or simply magnetic earbuds. As it increases in popularity, there are now more than 500 active platforms aiming to spur innovation in various sectors.
With websites like Kickstarter helping to influence the behaviour of tech giants and shape the technology of today, we take a look at some of the ingenious creations to come out from crowdfunding.
Giving mobile devices the ability to capture and understand the world in three dimensions, Structure Sensor bridges the gap between the 3D scanners used by architects and those by Kinect gamers.
The diminutive scanner hooks onto either an iPad or Android tablet and gets to work obtaining 3D information about the world around you. As well as being powerful enough to capture precise data, the gadget can also be used to play augmented reality games.
Already exceeding its capital target, Structure Sensor could be the blueprint for mobile 3D scanners, as technology currently focuses on apps to aid smartphone scanning.
Before Google Glass came to the fore, the Oculus Rift virtual head-mounted display was making the rounds on Kickstarter.
The headset tracks movements at 1000Hz, reflecting them in real time. Designed as the next-generation virtual reality headset for immersive gaming, the crowdfunded campaign aimed to create a more effective experience that was inexpensive for gamers.
Although the Oculus Rift’s sole purpose is for 3D gaming, the impressive invention caught a lot of attention and a wave of wearable technology has since emerged because of it.
Walk into any mobile retailer or shop and there is an abundance of smartphone cases and accessories. popSLATE is a smartphone case with an E-ink screen, which offers an always on, low-powered and easy-to-read experience.
When combined with the popSLATE app, users can customise the case with images, create dashboards with information and use favourite apps at a glance.
Funded through the Indiegogo platform, the company has since developed a new version using a Plastic Logic screen for ultra flexibility and durability.
Because of crowdfunding, projects that may have continued to be pipedreams have become a reality. Although some ideas fail to get the necessary funds, the concept is seen by those who can go on to develop them further.
Sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo are filled with innovative inventions that may begin to filter into the technology of the future – watch this space.