Courtesy of Intuitive Automata

Ten Fantasy Gadgets That Could Come True in 2013

  1. From Fantasy to Reality, With Help From the Crowd
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    From Fantasy to Reality, With Help From the Crowd

    Want a look at what high-tech gizmos you might be unwrapping at the end of 2013? We scoured crowdfunding websites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo for innovative projects that raised money in 2012. Now it's up to their designers to deliver. We talked to 10 who expect to ship their products to backers in the year ahead—and might even have them ready for sale more widely in time to put under the tree.

    Courtesy of Intuitive Automata
  2. ArduSat: Take Your Own Pictures From Space
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    ArduSat: Take Your Own Pictures From Space

    Amount raised: $106,330
    Launch date: July 15, 2013
    Cost: Not yet available
    Cool factor: Pilot a satellite—space camp not required

    On July 15, 2013, the team behind ArduSat plans to launch two satellites into space. The satellites, which are 10-centimeter cubes, will let backers use the onboard cameras to take pictures from space or design and run space-based applications, games, and experiments. Kickstarter backers paid as little as $150 for the chance to take 15 photos and as much as $10,000 for the Platinum Partner package, which offers one full week of satellite use, among other perks. Founder Peter Platzer's ultimate goal is for the ArduSat to be accessible to schools and space enthusiasts, so he's hoping to be able to keep costs within reach of the general public.

    (Corrects the measurement of the satellites)
    Courtesy of NanoSatisfi
  3. ATOMS Express Toys: High-Tech Building Blocks
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    ATOMS Express Toys: High-Tech Building Blocks

    Amount raised: $183,232
    Due to ship: June 2013
    Cost: From $10 for a single component to about $70 for a set
    Cool factor: Build a magic wand that actually makes things move

    ATOMS founder Michael Rosenblatt wanted to create a plug-and-play toy that lets kids "make things that do things." For example: a magic wand with a motion sensor that can shut a door remotely. The color-coded system of sensors and devices such as motors and lights are akin to high-tech building blocks that can be rigged to interact with other toys. At the ATOMS University in Boulder, Colo., where the team behind ATOMS invites children to learn about and play with the product, Rosenblatt says kids usually take about 15 to 20 minutes to figure out the components, then as little as 5 minutes before they're off making new things.
    Courtesy of Seamless Toy Company
  4. Autom: Your New Robot Overlord Weight Coach
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    Autom: Your New Robot Overlord Weight Coach

    Amount raised: $7,286
    Due to ship: June 2013
    Cost: Not yet available
    Cool factor: A robot weight loss coach that can't judge me? Yes, please

    Cory Kidd's research at MIT Media Lab showed that robots can help humans keep off the pounds: People were more engaged when tracking their exercise and weight loss with a robot than on a computer or paper log. His company, Intuitive Automata, has developed Autom, a 15-inch-tall robot weight coach designed for the home user. She can work with up to five people and will develop a different relationship with each of them over time. You enter your information through Autom's touchscreen and can connect such devices as a FitBit so she can monitor your progress and give you feedback.
    Courtesy of Intuitive Automata
  5. DoorBot: Connect Your Doorbell to Your iPhone
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    DoorBot: Connect Your Doorbell to Your iPhone

    Amount raised: $151,798 (as of Jan. 2)
    Due to ship: July 2013
    Cost: "Somewhere just up to $200"
    Cool factor: Never miss a package again

    The idea for this Wi-Fi-enabled, video doorbell that connects to mobile devices emerged from an actual need of the group of inventors, designers, and engineers who make up Edison Junior Design Laboratory. Working in the detached garage on Chief Executive Jamie Siminoff's property in Los Angeles, they could never hear the doorbell. When they couldn't find a doorbell powerful enough to reach their lab, they decided to build one themselves. DoorBot has an adjustable camera lens, will run for up to a year on four AA batteries, and can sync with an iPhone, iPad, or Android device. When someone rings your doorbell, you get a notification on your device. You can see who's there and talk to them over the intercom from your phone—so no matter where you are, you can always answer the door.
    Courtesy of Edison Jr Design Laboratory
  6. FORM 1: A 3D Printer for Your Home Office
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    FORM 1: A 3D Printer for Your Home Office

    Amount raised: $2,945,885
    Due to ship: April 2013
    Cost: $3,299
    Cool factor: High-res 3D printing on your desktop will make many a designer smile

    The developers of the Form 1 3D printer, Formlabs, had three main goals: higher resolution, lower cost, and simplicity. The Form 1 uses a laser to solidify liquid resin, making it more precise than the layering process used by MakerBot and other 3D printers aimed at the consumer market. (The company is facing a patent challenge over the technology from 3D Systems, another 3D printer maker.) The Form 1 still costs $500 more than a MakerBot Replicator2X but a whole lot less than the high-end professional 3D printers that can cost $25,000 or more, according to Luke Winston, Formlabs' operations manager. As for simplicity, it comes with the software to design your creation and a finishing kit to help clean up and add any last touches to the final product.

    (Corrects pricing of high-end professional 3D printers)
    Courtesy of FormLabs
  7. Memoto: A Lifelogging Camera
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    Memoto: A Lifelogging Camera

    Amount raised: $550,189
    Due to ship: February 2013
    Cost: $279
    Cool factor: A photographic memory, clipped to your collar

    The size and shape of a small cracker, the wearable Memoto is a digital camera that snaps two pictures a minute from wherever you have it clipped. Each photo is geotagged and oriented so it can be organized later by the Memoto app. The result of a day's worth of pictures will be groupings of "moments"—the software highlights 30 key frames from the day—presented on a timeline, without your having to do much more than connect the camera to your computer. Feeling social? The app lets you share your photos, so your Twitter followers can see what you have for lunch, bite by bite.
    Courtsey of Memoto
  8. Moj.io: Internet, Meet Car
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    Moj.io: Internet, Meet Car

    Amount raised: $30,565
    Due to ship: March 2013
    Cost: Not yet available
    Cool factor: Hack your Honda

    A Moj.io is a device the size of a key fob that you can plug into any car built after 1995 to connect it to the Internet. You plug the Moj.io into your car's onboard diagnostics port (below the dashboard), and from there, it's all about the apps. Mo.jio comes equipped with eight apps that can, for example, alert you if your car is being towed or if a teenage driver is going over a set speed limit. Moj.io plans to ship first to developers in March 2013, so other people can work on programs that co-founders Jay Giraud and Narayan Sainaney hope to incorporate before shipping to other Indiegogo backers in August.
    Courtesy of moj.io
  9. Muse: The Brain-Sensing Headband
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    Muse: The Brain-Sensing Headband

    Amount raised: $287,472
    Due to ship: June 2013
    Cost: $199.99
    Cool factor: It's like the Force, except it's just your brain and a headband

    The Muse headband won't get you levitating just yet, but that's not far from what the team at Interaxon, creators of Muse, have on the drawing board. Right now the sleek headband's main purpose is to get you more focused. The headband's sensors detect your brain waves and, in concert with an app, can indicate your focus and your state of mind while you work, study, or play. The first application comes with simple games you control with your mind that the company says will help exercise and improve your mind over time. Interaxon has already demonstrated how the headband lets people manipulate objects on a screen with their thoughts. The team envisions eventually using the technology to move things around in the physical world with brain waves.
    Courtesy of Interaxon
  10. Oculus Rift: Virtual Gaming Headset
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    Oculus Rift: Virtual Gaming Headset

    Amount raised: $2,437,429
    Due to ship: March 2013
    Cost: $300
    Cool factor: It brings us one step closer to the Star Trek holodeck

    The Oculus Rift is a virtual reality headset meant to let the user "step inside" a video game. The developers of the Rift thought that existing headsets are either priced too high for the general public or don't actually provide a "believable immersion" experience. Oculus VR, the company behind the Rift, launched a Kickstarter campaign to get its headsets—with higher resolution, a wider field of view, and smoother head tracking—into the hands of game developers. After raising nearly $2.5 million from more than 9,500 backers, Oculus VR started taking preorders on its site. While the company isn't giving a time frame for when the headsets will be available to the general public, the version for game makers (with developers' kit) is expected to start shipping in March to the Kickstarter backers.
    Courtesy of Oculus VR
  11. Slope: A Tablet Stand That Has a Grip
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    Slope: A Tablet Stand That Has a Grip

    Amount raised: $89,104
    Due to ship: March 2013
    Cost: $85
    Cool factor: Stick your iPad to any surface

    The sleek, minimalist design of this tablet stand is probably the first thing that catches the eye. When you've got an iPad attached to it, Slope could easily be mistaken for an attachment that came with the tablet. But Slope's firm grip really steals the show—the nanofoam on both ends of the stand is strewn with thousands of tiny air pockets that create a vacuum when pressed against a flat surface, keeping the stand anchored to whatever surface you have it on, and your tablet anchored to the stand.
    Courtesy of Dekke