It’s perhaps the most ambitious crowd-sourcing campaign to date and the Indiegogo project to fund ‘phone of the future’ the Ubuntu Edge, has already broken records. It’s the most speedily funded project ever, raising $2 million in under eight hours, and it’s also shooting to be the most expensive - the proposed final cost is a whopping $32m.
The success of the Edge though has not been good just for Canonical (or its multi-millionaire owner) but for Indiegogo as well. Although it’s the crowd-sourcing platform often thought of as playing second-fiddle to Kickstarter (when it’s thought of at all that is) Indiegogo prides itself on being the world’s “truly open global crowdfunding platform”.
Enjoying a recent uptick in popularity with a solid run of notable projects: as well as the Ubuntu Edge, there's also been the Kite Patch that makes you "practically invisible" to mosquitos and the home security solution, the Canary. But how does Indiegogo set itself apart from its more famous bigger brother?
For a start Indiegogo doesn’t have any barriers to entry, whilst Kickstarter vets its campaigns. In some ways this is a negative (Kickstarter bans odious ‘fund my life’ projects for example), but the main danger is to Indiegogo itself, with the possibility that ‘bad’ campaigns crowd out the good ones.
One area where Kickstarter definitely lags behind its rival is in terms of international development. Whilst Kickstarter is only for projects based in the US and the UK, Indiegogo has expanded to four difference currencies (dollars - both US and Canadian - pounds and euros) and has launched localised versions of the site for countries such as France and Germany.
Speaking to the Independent Indiegogo’s head of international and business development Liz Wald said “We have contributors and campaigners from well over 100 countries and territories every week and good ideas come from everywhere, for example CulCharge - which is a new campaign out of Bratislava.”
The Ubuntu Edge has certainly boosted Indiegogo’s profile, but the site has already funded some pretty enticing projects in the past. Here’s a selection of some of the best and brightest:
Indiegogo's greatest hits:
Scanadu Scout - "the first Medical Tricorder"
$1,664,375 raised of $100,000 Goal - 1,664% from 8,522 funders
Taking its inspiration from Star Trek's tricorder - a handheld bit of techno wizardy that once wave over a body instantly identified any health risks - the Scanadu Scout measures heart rate, temperature, xoymetry, respiration and blood pressure.
The product has received some flack for its pretensions to measure 'emotional stress' but its capacity to measure multiple readings by just being placed on a patient's forehead is efficient and impressive.
StickNFind - "Bluetooth Powered ultra small Location Stickers"
$931,770 raised of $70,000 Goal - 1,331% from 12,310 funders
Not a device that needs much explaining, and for that reason it didn't need much encouragement for people to back it.
The StickNFind is a bluetooth-powered sticker that connects with a smartphone app to help you find lost wallets, key, cats and kids. As thin as a coin, the stickers also have buzzers and flashing lights in order to guide you to them, but it's the 'radar' tracking app that really looks the business.
Misfit Shine - "an elegant, wireless activity tracker"
$846,675 raised of $100,000 Goal - 847% from 7,957 funders
Milled from a single piece of aluminium, the Misfit Shine is perhaps the most attractive looking personal tracker around.
Like the FitBit and the Jawbone UP the Shine is pcaked with sensors and algorithms to track your daily activity, counting steps as well as tracking swimming and cycling. Tapping the metal pod onto your smartphone syncs up your data with an app and lets you keep track of your fitness - just don't lose the Shine itself.
Gravity Light - "lighting for developing countries"
$399,590 raised of $55,000 Goal - 727% from 6,219 funders
Like all amazing inventions the Gravity Light is simple, intuitive and begs the question - why did no-one think of this before!? Built to provide light to villagers in Africa and India where electricity infrastructure is lacking, the Gravity Light is just that - light powered by gravity.
Simply attach a weight to the device's pulley system and lift it up. As gravity pulls it back to earth the light's internal mechanics use the force to generate electricity and light up the room. A 3 second lift creates light for 30 minutes and the project has none of the downsides of either solar (expensive and dependent on planning ahead) or kersone (the usual lighting solution which can burn and produces toxic fumes).
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