Do you know Kickstarter? if not, you should!
Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform where an amazing number of projects can be found. It is a place where Makers, Startups, Small and even Big companies can share their projects with the world and look for funding to bring their product to market. At first sight it might seem that it is only a great tool for Marketers to advertise new products or just to look for funding, but the truth is that it is also a great place to learn about technology.
Each campaign has most of the time the technical specifications of the device, some pictures and even relevant information about the technology used on the device.
Most of the IoT (Internet of things), Robotics, Electronic systems can be found in the “Design” or “Technology” section of the website.
Here are 3 Simple Steps to learn from Kickstarter, get to know new technologies and become a “Maker 1.0”:
#1 – Do not only look for the projects in your field or in which you are interested in
They is quite a LOT of projects on kickstarter and it might be overwhelming to find the right project from the start. So a little bit of patience and experimentation is required here. Some of the projects which might seem off topic can provide very useful information regarding the technology used on the system. One of the things that you might look for when searching on Kickstarter are the characteristics of the device with respect to the selling price, this might give an idea on how mature/ready to go to market a specific technology is. Let’s take a simple example here:
Recently a project called “CHIP – The world first 9$ computer” has been released and has raised around $2,071,927
The board has a 1GHz ARM processor + 512MB of RAM + 4GB of non volatile memory + WIFI + Bluetooth.
That’s a small price regarding the characteristics of the processor! Meaning that it is now possible to embed a such powerful processor in a custom design very cheaply. It might be possible to make a similar board for less than let’s say 40$ from scratch today!
They are also some useful information such as the name of the manufacturer of those processors “Allwinner Technology” which is worth checking as well.
#2 – Use the filters to reduce the results set
The one feature that I found the most useful is the “projects we love in …” at the bottom left of the page when a category is selected or for the coders who are familiar with HTML/PHP just add a variable “&staff_picks=1” in the URL after selecting a category :). Those are projects which are selected by the Kickstarter team and the technology used in those products are usually up to date.
#3 – Explore! Explore! Explore!
Exploration is key. Checking the website regularly is very important to stay up to date. New technologies are created everyday and it might take a lot of time to catch up, but it is worth being aware of what is currently available and what other people are using.
Here are my top projects in the category Robotics, Drones and IoT (Internet of Things):
12,075 backers pledged £2,335,119
IoT (Internet of things)
5,694 backers pledged $1,209,423
7,857 backers pledged $554,592
187 backers pledged $66,420