Features Television

Back Pedaled: Matchstick TV dongle goes up in flames but doesn’t burn backers

Some crowdfunded gadgets are famous for shaping the market while others are infamous for never making it to market. Sadly, this often leaves backers in the lurch. In Back Pedaled, we’ll look back on these projects and what went wrong. If you’ve been burned by a gadget project that’s incurred significant delays or didn’t make it to market, get in touch.

Google’s Chromecast, a small, inexpensive gadget that connected to the HDMI connector found in most TVs, popularized a new approach to getting content from mobile devices to the big screen. The Chromecast was not the first streaming stick, but form factor inspired products like the Amazon Fire TV Stick and the Microsoft Wireless Device Adapter. Its success has attracted a broad array of content services to use the Google Cast technology it uses.


Out There: BorderBot patrols the land to dispatch intruders with inhuman efficiency

Out There is a feature that highlights weird, wacky or woeful projects.

Immigrants and other pesky intruders plague our borders and homes. (Bear with me here). Wouldn’t it be great if there was a way to patrol for such unwanted guests?

The potentially aptly named BorderBot (the product actually doesn’t have a name, but this will do) helps patrol borders and homes to keep them secure. This impressive robot can walk over blocks, as shown in the animated video (you were expecting actual prototype?). The campaign fails to detail exactly what the robot does if it finds intruders. Will it shoot them down? Will it call for reinforcements from more animated robots? Or will it turn them to ash to be whisked whence they came? Backers must donate to this campaign in order to find out! For $5,000, backers won’t actually receive the robot, but will get a t-shirt. Score.

The Portland, Oregon-based creator needs to watch the Terminator movies in order to get some ideas for immigrant handling since he’s clearly against free-range intruders. BorderBot is looking for $245,000 in funding. But really, who could put a price on apocalypse-welcoming security?


Before The Backers: three charging solutions for sun, sea and wear

Before the Backers highlights up-and-coming products that haven’t yet made their crowdfunding debut.



Poseidon Portable Charger

The search for the perfect charging solution for the many smart devices that shamelessly die each and every day is one that never ends. Every product promises peace of mind, but turn out to do anything but.

The Poseidon charger is an attempt at a charging solution that provides a week’s worth of power in an extremely compact, waterproof, drop resistant form. It may be diminutive, but its ruggedness makes it a hardy companion for any USB-chargeable device whether on the job in the city or outdoors taking in the fresh air, especially considering the Poseidon charger can hold its own charge for up to a year. Dual USB ports allows multiple devices to connect as well, recharging most of them at least two times.

The Poseidon charger is available to pre-order now for $89.00.



Buckle Charger

The most common portable charging solutions now available also feature clunky form factors and snaking wires that end up making the charging a device on the go more of a hassle than it needs to be. Thankfully, the Buckle Charger takes a rarely considered part of most people’s attire — the belt buckle — and transforms it into the charger savior we all need.

Automotive Cell Phone Accessories Displays Features Technology

Before the Backers: better batteries, a vision quest and the outer limits

Before the Backers highlights up-and-coming products that haven’t yet made their crowdfunding debut.



Car batteries are rarely thought of — until, of course, they’re dead. Of course, at that point, they’re nothing more than extremely heavy and possibly explosive paperweights. The RevAMP is a product that replaces standard lead batteries. While it may have a similar price and come in a familiar size, it has several tricks up its sleeve. For one, it doesn’t die because it turns itself off when necessary. It’s also eco-friendly, ditching the lead, acid, and the potential for explosive hydrogen for earth-friendly materials. It’s also extremely light, weighing in at only seven pounds. Don’t take its lightness for weakness, though, as it’s capable of generating 2000 amps of power over a suggested 20-year lifespan. Keep an eye on Kickstarter for this one.


Out There: Watburn turns salt water into energetic flame

Out There is a feature where we highlight wildly ambitious or dubious projects that have little chance of coming to fruition in the foreseeable future.

The quest for renewable energy sources that can replace oil and gas is underway, albeit with little luck. But wouldn’t it be nice if the world ran on a resource that’s so abundant that it makes up 2/3 of the Earth?

Now introducing Watburn. This world-changing product takes saltwater and converts it into a 5,000°C flame that can be used for welding and cutting. According to the product’s campaign, cathodes, magnets, generators and salt water all work together to turn the water into usable energy. The creator claims that this product will be the source of a new kind of clean energy. In the future, it has the potential to work with other objects and eliminate the need for fossil fuels altogether.

For a donation of $250, backers can have their own Watburn by August 2015. This Bulgarian product is looking for $25,000 on Indiegogo. While the Bulgarian product’s creator’s claims aren’t as egregious as other Out There features, his reasoning still leaves something to be desired. It’s apparent that backers who purchase this product will likely receive a clunky thing that either won’t work or will burn their hands off.

Cooking Features

Out There: SteamerWiener cooks hotdogs on a special stick, produces giggles all around

Out There is a feature that highlights weird, wacky or woeful projects.

Hotdogs are one of those foods that are fun and delicious to eat. Not just because they’re made out of mystery meat, but because they’re, well, phallic-shaped.

Now there’s a way to cook hotdogs the way they should be prepared. SteamerWiener looks like a little man with a long, sharp prong protruding from his crotch. To use, stick that hotdog on there and you’ve got yourself one funny sight. It looks like a little metal man cooking his own hotdog on a barbecue! Interestingly enough, this product actually uses a steam engine to rotate the wiener for an even cooking experience.

SteamerWiener is one of those products that would do well in the initiation packet of any fraternity. Beyond that, it’s useful only for cheap giggles from men who still delight in the sight of penises in unusual places. One of the big ones, oh yea, can be had for a donation of $69 (yes, really) for delivery in July 2015. SteamerWiener is looking to raise $60,000 in funding.

Features Lighting

Out There: Slap It butt light lets you get a piece of that double without any trouble

Out There is a feature that highlights weird, wacky or woeful projects.

So many people see a big jiggly butt and just can’t help but slap it! It’s human nature. Unfortunately, society discourages this type of behavior citing “personal space” as something that must be respected.

Now, the wet blanket of society can suck it! Slap It is a light shaped like a butt. Mount it on the wall, step back, and marvel at its beauty. It’s made from some mystery material that produces a life-like jiggle. To turn on, simply, slap, squeeze or grab. The light comes in ten different colors and a dial lets the user choose which one they’d like to see.

This British-made product will surely find success donning the sound studios of many butt-obsessed rappers. Other than that, it’s actually not a particularly shapely or alluring butt. Still, backers can get their slap on for a donation of £195 (~$295) with estimated delivery set for June 2015. Slap It is hoping to raise £58,000 (~$87,800) in funding on Kickstarter.

Featured Features

Out There: Typhoon F1 promises flying car, offers flights of fancy

Out There is a feature that highlights weird, wacky or woeful projects.

Now that it’s 2015, everyone’s wondering, “Where are those flying cars that the Back to the Future movies promised us?” Well, engineers and scientists are saying that hovercrafts and the like are still a few years away. But wait! Clearly, they haven’t perused Indiegogo’s current campaigns!

Typhoon F1 is a flying car! Woah, what?! Yes. According to the Indiegogo campaign, the Typhoon uses magnets, rotors, fans, lots of fancy words, and a lithium battery to fly around. It can take off directly from a driveway and fits conveniently into any garage. Typhoon acts like any car with a gas pedal to go, a brake pedal to stop and a steering wheel for direction. A button, yes a button, is what controls takeoff and landing. While it doesn’t resemble a DeLorean, it does look like something out of Star Trek

Now, unfortunately and unsurprisingly, the car itself isn’t available in any of the reward tiers. But for $10,000 backers can choose their own reward. Great Scott! A donation of $10,000 earns a giant question mark. Who could beat that? Perhaps losing that amount is enough to convince any backer that there’s simply no way this thing will ever come to fruition. The creator of Typhoon F1 is looking for a cool $250,000 to fund the dream.


Before the Backers: three smartwatches

Before the Backers highlights up-and-coming products that haven’t yet made their crowdfunding debut.

Choco Wear


The Choco Wear is a bendable smartwatch with a focus on fitness, able to track all the usuals such as heart rate, oxygen levels, calories burned, and sleep patterns in addition to keeping users up-to-date on calls, texts, and other notifications from a connected smartphone. What sets this one apart is its use of solar power in conjunction with a high-capacity battery and E Ink display, making it a device that pretty much never needs to be traditionally charged. Crowdfunding efforts should begin anywhere in late May or early June,