FOMO

I’ve written a few articles on Kickstarter projects ever since I joined as a tech writer for e27. Many of these projects, especially those of the hi-tech variety, offer exciting prospects.

But as history has shown, a good chunk of these aspirational endeavours end up falling short of expectations, resulting in disgruntled backers baying for blood.

Not to say it should come as any surprise, because rewards-based crowdfunding platforms don’t offer backers much in terms of protection. And don’t expect these projects to be scrutinised thoroughly before they are launched, either.

Personally, despite writing about numerous crowdfunding campaigns, I’ve only backed one — the original Fidget Cube. It’s fairly inexpensive and I had a good time fiddling with it for a couple of weeks. It now seats in my shelf collecting dust, along with my fidget spinner.

I’m generally not keen on backing big-ticket items, because if the company bails, I would have suffered a big dent to my pocket with nothing to show for it (I’m a writer for a startup, so I’m not exactly the well-heeled type).

So to all of e27‘s readers, let me present to you 5 inexpensive Kickstarter projects that I think are both quirky and useful.

FOMOcamera: A camera as small as a badge

Wearable cameras such as GoPro and Snap Spectacles have been fairly well-received by its target audience, there’s still a considerably large market segment who would not be drawn it.Snap’s Spectacles and GoPro are still quite pricey. And GoPro sticks out like a sore thumb if you are walking down a street filming everyday situations.

FOMO has designed a wearable camera that takes the shape and size of a badge. There are no pins involved, though. There is a clip you attach to your clothes and the badge mounts onto that clip with a magnetic mount.

Although it is tiny, FOMO supports 1080p video recording and has 16gb worth of memory. It is also water-resistant. Users can choose between five template appearances or request for the FOMO to design a custom one.

What I like about FOMO, besides its size, is its simple controls; one button controls everything. You hold the button to turn it on. Press it again to record, then press it again to stop.

FOMO has raised US$91,610 to date, far exceeding its initial goal of US$18,000. And there are still 19 days before the campaign is over. Each FOMO camera currently costs US$49 if you back the project on Kickstarter.

Mark Bifold: A really slim wallet

We all know the Singapore government is eager for all its citizens to go cashless, so that would mean slimmer wallets in the future.

The Mark Bifold looks like it was designed for this impending future. The wallet measures 9.5 x 8 x 0.6 cm and has two flaps — one for cash and one for cards. The cash flap can fit six bills and it does not have RFID protection, while the card flap can fit six cards and comes with RFID protection (to protect your card details from being scanned by thieves).

The card flap also comes with a triangle-shaped hole so cards can be pushed out easily.

Mark Bifold also comes with pockets for coins (although it can only fit five), two slots for two SIM or memory cards, and a walkie pen slot.

Currently, Mark Bifold is priced S$40 (US$30) if you select the early bird version. The campaign has raised S$36,678 (US$27,300) with 16 days left on the calendar.

TOFU: A compact traveller plug and charger

All-in-one universal traveller adapters are incredibly nifty, but they can also be bulky. And that sometimes poses a problem because if you insert the adapter into a wall socket, the weight of adapter might cause it to come loose (especially if you are using those two-pin plugs because there is less to anchor it to the socket).

TOFU has designed two small-sized universal adapters that are smaller and therefore more lightweight and easier to pack. The key selling point here is that the connector plugs are all detachable.

The first universal adapter is designed for Apple Macbooks while the other is designed for USB chargers. Both adapters are small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. So the only drawback here is that the adapters are not compatible with non-Macbook laptop AC adapters.

Currently, TOFU has raised S$62,254 (US$46,360) far exceeding its goal of S$15,000 (US$11,200). For S$70 (US$52) you will get both chargers.

Quire: A drawstring backpack that is more than meets the eye

I’m not a fan of drawstring bags; I feel like it’s an awkward cross between a tote bag and a backpack and not very robust. There are no pockets so everything inside just jumbles around while you walk or run.

Quire’s version has, however, piqued my curiosity. First, the bag has two external pockets. so I can fit my water bottle inside without worrying about it spilling. But even if it does, Quire is built with water-resistant polyester so water doesn’t seep into its interior compartment. Additional there is a rain hood for those heavy showers.

Another cool thing about Quire is that it has a zip for quick access so I don’t have to open up the whole backpack everytime I need to reach in for something.

Quire has currently raised S$5,263 (US$4,200), exceeding its modest goal of S$4,000 (US$3,000). One Quire drawstring bag will cost S$12 (US$9) if you back it now.

Potato Pirates: Playing cards to learn coding

The new tech-focussed economy means that kids these days are going to have pick up some programming lessons one way or another. But most kids do not like staring at lines of codes at all day, so it’s best to introduce fundamental concepts in an entertaining way.

Games are a good conduit to teach something as dry as coding. Potato Pirates is a card game that provides such an opportunity.

How it works is that each player is given a set of cards and toy potatoes. The cards are a combination of action, ship, control, surprise and bug cards, and the toy potatoes consist of big and small ones. The small potatoes are like ammunition which allow you to carry out commands specified in each cards, so you have to plan your strategy carefully to maximise your cache.

The objective of the game is to rescue as many Potato Kings as possible and use the cards to weaken your opponent at the same time. The first to rescue all 7 kings wins the game.

The game teaches programming concepts like variables, booleans, etc. It’s fairly complicated if you know nuts about programming, but if you have played similar games such as Magic: The Gathering, this will feel similar.

Potato Pirates has raised S$37,207 (US$27,700), exceeding its S$15,000 (US$11,200) goal. Each set currently costs S$30 (US$22)

—-

Image Credit: FOMO