For creatives looking to get funding for projects like movies, games, music, art and design, or technology, Kickstarter is the place to get noticed and get money. When you browse through the site you’ll come across some imaginative, innovative, and ambitious ideas that have been brought to life through the direct support of funders on the platform. In this article we’re going to take a look at some of the coolest gadgets on Kickstarter.

At the Back of the Classroom with PowerUp 4.0 

2011 was the beginning of the revolution of the paper airplane, brought to us by Shai Goitein. PowerUp was a kit to add an electric powered propellor to you favourite classroom procrastination tool. The original model just gave your folded creation a powered boost, later came a smartphone-controlled rear rudder that brought about steering, and then they added an FPV (first-person view) video camera. 

The fourth version to land on Kickstarter, PowerUp 4.0, has shed the camera but now comes with an accelerometer and a gyroscope up front with dual motors down the back. The kit charges on a standard microUSB, and 25 minutes of juicing up should yield a 10-minute flight. Whether you choose to fly a paper plane, or a lettuce leaf if you’re that way inclined, you keep control of the device for up to 230ft and can achieve speeds of up to 20mph. 

PowerUp 4.0. Image credit: Kickstarter

The tech inside the system can detect if you’re going to stall or take a dive and will adjust the thrust in the two motors to maintain a stable flight path, or you can go into autopilot on the app. This nifty feature means that you can do all kinds of aerobatic stunts such as loops, barrel rolls, and hammerheads. The app even lets you see real-time analytics, with measures like heading, turning angle, and thrust levels available, plus it can save the profile of each flight you take so you can check out the data later. 

If you want to get your hands on the PowerUp 4.0, the basic kit requires a pledge of $49 and it’ll retail for $79. If you want the full experience, the Pro kit comes with landing gear and LED lighting and has a pledge value of $79 and will be in shops for $129.

SkyTrek – the Future of Luggage

If your job has you flying around a lot and you need to keep up your productivity, you need to check out SkyTrek’s Smart Luggage. The California-based company specialises in smart, wearable technology, and are hitting Kickstarter with luggage that should take some of the hassle out of traveling for work. The SkyTrek Smart Luggage has a portable workstation and the obligatory laptop compartment. 

It’s also equipped with GPS tracking and it will prompt a smartphone alert if it loses Bluetooth connection with the device – handy to stop you losing your bag as you dash for your flight connection. Really useful is the built in scales, so you can keep track of your luggage weight and not have to worry about excess fees anymore. The Kickstarter campaign began with two sizes available: 26 – and 20-inch, and if you want to back it you can get on the SkyTrek waiting list and reserve a discount up to 45% in the Kickstarter sale. 

SkyTrek. Image credit: Kickstarter

AXIS 3D Printer Brings the Creativity

Ever marvelled at the type of things that can be 3D printed nowadays? This might not be on the scale of printing a house, but the AXIS 3D Printer will get you creating all kinds of things in plastic. There’s a massive catalog of printing possibilities on myminifactory.com or you can get designing with the simple to use TinkerCAD software. 

When you get your AXIS 3D it comes in a super easy to assemble kit, and if you start to struggle there’s an online manual with high-res images to show you the way to put it all together. The software for the printer is open-source and there’s a massive online community to turn to for support and ideas, as well as affordable and accessible spare parts. It’s compatible with hardware used in many other 3D printers, such as the hotends, build-plates, sensors, and nozzles, meaning you’ll never have to worry about long downtimes to source bits you need. It’s set to start shipping in April 2020 with a starting pledge of $125.

AXIS 3D Printer. Image credit: Kickstarter

Getting Under the Waves and Chasing Dory

Flying drones are all the rage at the moment, but we’re going to introduce to Dory the underwater drone. The Chinese based company behind the gadget, Chasing, had a massively overfunded campaign on Kickstarter. At just 7.4 inches wide, it’s 56% lighter and 65% smaller than the last underwater drone produced by the company – the Gladius Mini. The onboard camera records in 1080p and the manufacturer promises “vivid photos in all conditions.”

To keep your new favourite toy connected, it’s tethered to a 50ft Wi-Fi buoy and controlled from an app on your smartphone. The app is on App Store and Play Store and has some great functionality, including live streaming video on social media and 19 different filters to add to your video. Storage in the buoy runs to 16GB and two hours of charge gives you an hour of recording. 

The campaign on Kickstarter has pledges for a Dory starting at $349 and you can expect it to ship in October. For your pledge you get the drone, buoy, tether, and charger, or you can get a “Super Dory Dive Fleet”, a $9,000 package of 30 kits ready to ship in November.

Chasing Dory. Image credit: Kickstarter

Wrapping up

There are plenty of weird and wonderful things on Kickstarter; you can spend hours trawling through the inventions and projects people want you to fund. Here, we’ve brought together some of the best bits of tech kit that we’ve found recently. Whether you want some underwater or overwater recording action, to take your scrap paper into the skies, create your designs out of plastic, or simply make traveling a bit less irksome, hopefully you’ve found something you want to back here.