This week in Kickstarter: Our 5 favorite projects

kickstarter weekly bestKickstarter is the home to the Internet’s innovative, brilliant, and bizarre sides, and for all the crowdfunding criticisms out there, there’s plenty of ingenuity to be found. We’ve rounded up five of our favorite and trending Kickstarter projects that we thought you should keep on your radar. And keep an eye on them for the upcoming holiday shopping season — should they get that all-so-important funding.  

TouchTime

touch time watchesCheck out our in-depth Phosphor Touch Time review.

With just days left in its Kickstarter campaign, Phosphor has broken the $250,000 mark with its line touch screen watches it calls Touch Time. A variety of Kickstarter watch projects have enjoyed immense popularity and met their funding marks, including the fan-favorite Pebble. But Touch Time fancies the beauty of minimalism, designed with the guidance of Nike+ designer Stefan Andren, while offering a cornucopia of interchangeable strap colors or the choice between metal and silicone. It ports basic apps that you’ll find in a smartphone, including a calendar, stopwatch, and calculator, into a 144 x 168 LCD capacitative touch screen.

iControlPad 2

icontrolpad2

We’ve seen a number of controllers that have specifically been designed for the purpose of fitting an iPhone — but what if that controller could be applied to a number of different hubs including a Raspberry Pi, robots, your computer, set-top boxes, or just about anything that can be connected to a controller supporting a Bluetooth connection? The iControlPad2is an all-in-one hackable open-source controller, and means you can fit an Xbox controller and gaming keyboard in a package that’s no larger than an iPhone 4S. “We were motivated to create this as we realized for all these ‘open’ systems there was no actual open controls which could, in theory, be made to work with anything,” co-founder of the iControlPad2, Craig Rothwell, told Digital Trends. “It would certainly save having to have a controller for every console, computer, and tablet.”

Impossible Instant Lab

impossible instant lab

Polaroid stopped manufacturing instant cameras and accompanying film in 2007, a sad day to the nostalgic among us. Today’s generation can effortlessly capture moments and instantly filter them through our smartphones, but in retrospect photography in its physical form is now a dying breed. With this in mind, Impossible Instant Project’s Impossible Instant Lab is worth recognizing. Preserving the love for instant photography in a form factor that’s reminiscent of a traditional Polaroid camera, Impossible Instant Lab can transform photos stored digitally on your smartphone into the classic analog instant photos that were hip even before Instagram existed. The printing process is a bit complicated, as you’ll notice from the video, but we’re willing to overlook that detail when considering the quality of the results.

SmartThings

SmartThings Hub

We’ve covered SmartThings before, but since it has broken $1 million goal and has garnered rave reviews for its innovate concept, this project is one that’s worth a second mention. SmartThings is really like IFTTT, the app recipe mix-master, but for your real life. Using the SmartThings hub, you can connect tools and gadgets from the physical world to its complimentary smartphone app. In one scenario you can set up your day by activating or scheduling your coffee maker to turn on at a certain hour and change the temperature of your home in time for your early morning shower, or it could double as a notification tool for instance to alert you that a door has been opened. On a creative note, SmartThings suggests that you can combine the Internet and the real world by brightening or dimming the lights when you get another fan or follower on a social network.

Goldie Blox

goldie blox

Goldie Blox is, considering our list, something of an outlier but it’s a project that nonetheless caught our eye. In a toy that’s specifically designed for girls from the ages of 5 to 9, former Stanford Engineer Debbie Sterling realized that men dominated her career field, and consequently developed Goldie Blox in an effort to make engineering appeal to girls. “When I was a little girl, I thought the word, ‘engineering’ was nerdy and intimidating and just for boys. I’ve since learned I was so wrong.” The toy itself is a child-friendly construction toy that encourages girls to build gears and other features while following a storyline written by Sterling. The project is the result of one year of research and testing with over 100 girls. 

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