Big tech from little companies: Here's the best Kickstarter campaigns from 2016

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When you look back on 2016 in the years to come, what will be the overriding memory you have? Great Kickstarter projects, of course.

From unimaginably popular “Fidget Cubes” to some impressive gadgetry and a tremendous survival horror board game, a rundown of the year’s hottest crowdfunding campaigns is sure to bring a smile to your face.

And, if you weren’t a part of them, some plans for the best way to spend any money you receive for Christmas!

Vue Smart Glasses

The problem with Google Glass wasn’t that the concept was bad, so much as that no-one wanted to walk through life looking like the world’s worst undercover agent in a bad espionage movie.

That’s where Vue smart glasses come into play with the revolutionary decision to offer some of the functionality of smart glasses, while looking… well, like a regular pair of specs. Now why didn’t we think of that?

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Kingdom Death: Monster 1.5

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Board games are kind of a niche thing, aren’t they? So what better way to dilute your potential target audience than by combining one niche with another: in this case the horror genre?

In fact, the resulting horror board game turns out to be one of the year’s biggest Kickstarters — surpassing the $1 million funding mark in just 19 minutes and currently trending toward $16 million.

In this massive cooperative board game, survivors fight for their lives against an “onslaught of bizarre and fearsome creatures.” Although if you’re one of the 14,967 (and counting) backers, you probably knew that already.

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Fidget Cube

Has there been a greater underdog Kickstarter success this year than Fidget Cube? An all-in-one desk toy solution that allows fidget-afflicted users to click, roll, flip, glide, spin and any number of other fiddly verbs to their heart’s content, Fidget Cube racked up a staggering $6,465,690 on Kickstarter from 154,926 eager users.

Most amazing of all? They only asked for $15,000. To put that in perspective, that’s a bit like asking for a paper airplane kit for Christmas and getting a Gulfstream V.

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Sisyphus — The Kinetic Art Table

One of 2016’s most beautiful Kickstarter projects was creator Bruce Shapiro’s stunning “Kinetic Art Table,” a kinetic sculpture/table in which a two-motor robot moves a magnet to pull a steel ball through a field of sand.

The result? An ever-changing automated tabletop pattern. It’s jaw-dropping stuff — and well deserving of the $1,924,018 it received from backers.

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Levitating Nixie Clock

You know that expression “time flies”? Well, it seems that Scottish electronics whiz Tony “Lasermad” Adams wasn’t content to leave it as a metaphor.

Instead, he went out and created a steampunk-inspired levitating clock using nixie tubes and magnets. Now you can look like a mad Victorian scientist and keep an eye on the time. What could be better than that?

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