iBox nano 3D printer lets you make stuff anywhere

With 3D printing enjoying increasing coverage nowadays, more and more people are beginning to understand the possibilities. As a result, eyes widen at the concept, but not as many people have actually had hands-on experience because of the prohibitive costs. For those who currently do use 3D printers, it’s more likely someone wants to only print smaller objects, but has to shell out for a costly, large printer to get it done.

iBox Printers has created the iBox nano 3D: the world’s smallest and quietest 3D printer. Weighing in at three pounds, the device is capable of untethered resin printing over Wi-fi using any browser on any device, eliminating concerns of compatibility. The product was also conceived with the home user in mind, so there is no software to install. In addition, this product takes advantage of the large amount of open-source 3D modeling software and uses UV LEDs instead of DLP projector bulbs which last longer and use less power. The 328 micron resolution of the XY axis complements the .39 micron resolution on the Z-axis so that users can print fine detail without breaking the bank for more expensive printers. The company is looking to raise a whopping $300,000 in total. 3D printing pioneers can get their hands on one for $269.

The iBox nano 3D piques interest considering its portable, lightweight, and extremely open nature. The Pocket 3D printer has also positioned itself as a portable printer and, even if it’s form factor doesn’t quite lend itself to portability, what it produces doesn’t have a curing period like the iBox nano 3D. This is the biggest oversight: the iBox may be portable, but it doesn’t mean it will be actually usable everywhere as the resin supplied has very specific handling concerns. That might impede its practicality and may or may not be enough to turn people off, but its price point will probably ensure it won’t be much of a problem.


Pocket 3D Printer lets you make it where you take it

3D printing is steadily gaining steam. However, with printers still going for absurd amounts of money and looking like washing machines, they aren’t going mainstream anytime soon. This is the biggest roadblock to 3D printers being thought of in the same vein as fridges and microwaves but as time marches on, cost is reduced and along with that, size. Inventor Steve Middleton picked up on that trend and skipped a few levels with his Indiegogo campaign for his Pocket 3D Printer.

No bigger than an iPad mini, the device is a fully functioning, honest to goodness 3D printer that you can take along with you in a purse or book bag. At first blush, this looks to be impossible, but with the device using photo-polymer resin that is instantly cured using an UV LED at the tip of it’s printing arm. This means no heat is given off nor any cool down period to wait for after you’re done using it! Its 1 button start-up, rechargeable battery, and Bluetooth connectivity ensure users can truly print whenever you want using whichever device they’d like. The campaign is looking for $25,000 to get started with production; potential backers can grab the unassembled version for $249, and the assembled version for $349.

This isn’t the first 3D printer using photo-polymer resin coupled with UV light as we’ve seen the CreoPop before, but it’s the first that isn’t limited to a pen form factor. Potential users will get much versatility out of a product like this — imagine printing out spare parts for a device, a broken purse clasp, etc? The Pocket 3D Printer can be something special provided you don’t end up having to print parts for it instead.

Cooking Maker/Development

Candy 3D food printer is the sweetest printer ever

The Premise. Although the flexibility of 3D printing has birthed many novel ideas for the private and government sectors, it has ultimately proven to be cost-prohibitive for the consumer. This has slowed down the average person’s entry into this space, especially with regards to the many benefits promised by 3D-printed food.

The Product. Candy aims to be one of the first affordable 3D printers focused solely on food of the sweeter (and guiltier) kind. Candy uses dispensers filled with any semi-solid to create perfectly shaped cookies, flawless cake details, or a variety of other designs for both professional confectioners looking to save time and home bakers looking to impress. Its sleek fiberglass build capable of reading SD cards loaded with pre-made and custom designs fits into many kitchens.

The Pitch. London-based 3D Venture’s campaign video does a neat and tidy job of explaining how Candy works, showing off its confectionery talents in a variety of environments used by a variety of people. Simple and to the point, the accompanying material provides information about the device’s specs and and the risks involved with the campaign. The company is shooting for a goal of about $100,000 in order to begin mass production.

The Perks. With the majority of Candy printers shipping in April 2015 for $499 ($100 off the eventual retail model), those who can’t wait to satisfy their sweet tooth can score one a bit earlier in March 2015 for $799, along with two extruders. All perks give you the option of choosing any available color.

The Potential. Candy looks simple, clean, and effortless. While its printing quality is lower than that of higher-end 3D printers, it is making things that are ephemeral. The printer should find an early audience with chefs looking to add new and interesting designs to their cuisine. Candy costs half the price of another 3D food printer vying for your gastronomical attention. And at $499, Candy will be seen as a pretty sweet deal in a market still known for its exuberant prices.


Connected Objects Maker/Development Video

Slice looks to stay a cut above other living room media players

The Premise. Internet streaming devices such as Roku and Amazon’s Fire TV offer convenient streaming of movies and music on demand to your living room. Some streaming devices can play back media on a hard drive, but they’re not optimized for large personal libraries of video files and other media.

The Product. Slice is a hard drive-based media player designed to be snappy and easy to use. It’s a minimally designed black box outfitted with an array of usual ports along with a customizable LED ring that changes color depending on its current action. This adds a unique aesthetic twist to an otherwise unassuming design. It also ships with a custom-made RF remote, giving you the flexibility to be anywhere in your home and still command Slice.

The Pitch. The team behind Slice, Five Ninjas, does a great job concisely explaining such a versatile product. The campaign features a general overview video and a video walkthrough of Slice’s interface. Easy-to-digest lists and diagrams explain the nuances of the product, and there’s a pretty robust FAQ section that actually answers many common questions. Stretch goals have included Wi-Fi, an app to control the LEDs, a bigger hard drive, a thinner design with an extra USB port, and color options.

The Perks. Slice comes in two flavors. A diskless version is expected to ship in November 2014 with a contribution of £129 . A fully loaded version requires a contribution of £169 and should ship in December.

The Potential. The market has voted in favor of less expensive media streamers that deliver movies from services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. Indeed Five Ninjas’ Web site laments the loss of the original Apple TV, which stored movies on a hard drive. Western Digital has probably had the most success with its hard drive-focused living room media player since then — including one that had a built-in hard drive —  but that hasn’t seen an update for a while. One of the the product’s biggest draws besides its simplicity is its openness. Since it’s built atop a Raspberry Pi and uses the XMBC software, Slice is open and hackable, allowing more creative technical individuals to do pretty much whatever they’d like that’s within the device’s capabilities. Slice will have the most appeal to those who have large collections of movies that lack copy protection or who like a bit of a light show with their home video entertainment.

Connected Objects Maker/Development Toys

Droidles join with each other to attack your robot soft spot

The Premise. Kids get tired of even the most engrossing toys, forcing parents to spend money on video games, smartphone applications, or even more toys to keep them entertained. Most of these options become expensive quickly and lack the tactile benefits attached to interacting with real-world objects.

The Product. Droidles are small, spry little robot toys with tons of personality and charm for both kids and adults. Each Droidle has its own social media page detailing the evolving exploits of its everyday life. Each robot learns on its own through interaction with the environment around it, whatever behaviors you choose to program it with using the free companion iOS/Android app, or even other Droidles. Absolutely no programming language is needed to make a Droidle sing, dance around, follow other Droidles, or simply wander around.

For those among us who are more technologically inclined, the 100% open platform allows for much creative freedom in creating behaviors for these playthings that will ultimately be shareable on the the company’s Web site. The fun doesn’t stop there, though:

The Pitch. Hurley Research is eager to push Droidles to the masses to take advantage of the rich amount of information each will be able to sponge up from the world around them. To convince would-be backers, its pitch video talks up Droidles’ openness as a platform, versatility as a robot, and sheer uniqueness as one of the first internet connected toys along with a detailed list of all the Droidles’ components so you know exactly what you’re getting. $50,000 is the magic number for Droidles to go into production and continuing growing as a platform.

The Perks. Owing to their penchant for swarm intelligence, Droidles are meant to be used in crowds and the campaign’s perks reflect that. You can grab one Droidle for $89

The Potential. Most other robotic toys are either solely focused on entertainment or education. Droidles, on the other hand, manages to bridge that gap by encouraging active participation, a novel form of engagement, and plenty of imagination from all age ranges. Its open platform is compelling for all kinds of tinkerers as well, opening up many doors to experiment with computer intelligence on a much larger scale. Provided Droidles can charm its way into the many homes it will need to be in, we may very well have one of the first Internet of Things phenomenon on our hands.


Pouff3D is the perfect scanning companion for the home 3D printing user

The Premise. 3D printers have promising  applications in the home, but few people really have the tools necessary to get the most out of it. For those who aren’t pro computer modelers or designers, a 3D scanner would accomplish the job easily, but the technology tends to be pricy and hard to acquire for the end user.

The Product. The Pouff3D is a simple 3D scanner that works in a rather ingenious way. Almost resembling a wicker basket, to scan an object with the Pouff3D, one simply opens up the device, places the object to scan inside, and then attaches their smartphone to the interior. The Pouff3D will then move the phone automatically around the device, using a built-in light to evenly illuminate the item from each angle.

The Pitch. The video introduction for the Pouff3D is mostly to illustrate the concept than show the device in action. Wombex, Inc., the company responsible for the device, basically demonstrates how the scanner will work once it’s closer to being ready. The early bird prices are a great incentive for backers to jump on the Pouff3D bandwagon now, saving up to 40% on the projected retail cost. The rest of the campaign materials hope to clear up some of the questions, but a lot of the specifics are still being established for the prototype. Wombex needs $85,000 to finalize the design, hardware, and software before manufacturing can begin.

The Perks. The Pouff3D scanner is expected to ship out in April 2015 with a couple different available options. A drape-coated version is available for $299, while a leather-coated version will be provided for $449, both available in a variety of colors.

The Potential. This is an interesting take on the 3D scanner and could be an affordable way to transform the average, everyday smartphone into something that can be extremely helpful when it comes to 3D modeling. The minimal, modern design will blend in effortlessly in any office or studio shelf, but the powerful capabilities this device can offer for those who need it are deceptively hidden to the unaware eye. The precise details of just how great this device can be are still a little shrouded in mystery, but if Wombex can deliver on all of their promises, this could be the go-to tool for the amateur 3D printer.

Arts Maker/Development

Lix slims down the 3D scribbler to standard pen size

lixTech-addicted early adopters and stubbornly cautious pessimists can agree on one thing: the possibilities of 3D printing are awesome. Now, a 3D printing pen, Lix, allows artists to use melted and cooled plastics to draw three-dimensional objects in real time the same way a pen would be used. If this all sound familiar, that’s because the Lix follows closely in the footsteps of the successful 3Doodler, though the latter’s campaign trades silly doodles in for the trendy European art crowd. Either way, this device looks just as capable of handling 3D art of any kind, created easily and instantly brought to life. Lix leaves its mark on the art world in December 2014 for pledges of £82 or more.

Maker/Development Toys

TinkerBots enlivens your Legos, offers simple robotics introduction

The Premise. Children and parents alike love construction toys because of the way that they manage to be fun while fostering creativity in developing minds. As robotics become easier to manufacture and more cost-effective, the delight of bringing these creations to life is too much to ignore.

The Product. TinkerBots is the next in a line of robotic building toys for children, though these are designed to be easier than ever. Using an Arduino platform as its base, each TinkerBots creation starts with the Power Brain, a block that provides information and power to any product. From there, a variety of blocks can be connected, from legs to wheels, and there are even adapters to allow standard Lego blocks to be attached. A simple press of the record button and a movement of each of the parts will allow the Power Brain to record the action and recreate it, hands-free.

The Pitch. It’s easy to see that Kinematics is passionate about blending fun and learning. By framing the toy as a stepping stone to familiarizing children with technology they will most likely need in their future careers, TinkerBots is framed as an educational tool while still looking enjoyable to play and experiment with. The campaign photos provide almost an instruction manual to using and building with TinkerBots for those that need a little more guidance. To reach the market, Kinematics will need $100,000 in pledges to continue to grow the TinkerBots platform.

The Perks. Because of the inherently modular nature of TinkerBots, there are a number of reward tiers for backers, starting with the Basic Wheeler Set that will allow backers to build simple wheeled robots for $159. Those who prefer to make animal-style creations can get the Basic Animal Set for $229. Advanced, more inclusive sets are available for $299, an IR sensor set is available for $329, sets with grabbing arm attachments are $399, and the Sensoric Mega Set is $499.

The Potential. Robotics sets for children are nothing new, but TinkerBots greatly brings down the cost and complexity down a notch from something like Lego’s latest MindStorms starter kit. What makes TinkerBots so unique though is the lack of high-level programming involved. While usually that requirement is sold as a feature designed to teach kids skills, the learning by example of TinkerBots will make creating and playing that much more natural and fun, and at the end of the day, that’s what’s going to excite and enrapture children of all ages.


Novena gives hackers the portable, customizable PC of their dreams

The Premise. In some circles, it’s become increasingly commonplace to want to build  a computer rather than buy a ready-made model. Even when building, however, buyers are at the mercy of multiple manufacturers who may or may not want to add things like unwanted programs or trackers to prevent any tampering with the hardware.

The Product. Going far beyond lower-end hacker hardware like the Raspberry Pi, The Novena Open Laptop is a device designed by two men with a passion for open-source, flexible computers made to be hacked and played with. Developed entirely in-house from the ground up, from motherboard to operating system, the Novena is meant to be a powerful computing option for people who want their machine to do a lot, and who want to do a lot to their machine. With a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 4 GB of RAM, a 4GB microSD card, and onboard Wi-Fi, Novena is built to crunch some serious code.

The Pitch. From the get-go, the passion of Novena founders Andrew “bunnie” Huang and Sean “xobs” Cross regarding open-source and hacking is apparent. That passion translates to every aspect of the Novena system, from the easy-open case to the extensive documentation for the boards that makes the hardware (relatively) easy to tailor for any need. Novena wants to raise $250,000 to bring this openly designed laptop to market, mostly to handle manufacturing and finalization of the firmware.

The Perks. Hardware junkie DIY builders can receive just the Novena board and build their own case for $500. The pre-built “desktop” model is available for $1,195, the laptop for $1,995, and for those that are obsessed with style, a hand-crafted wood and aluminum case laptop is available for $5,000. The boards are expected to ship in November, with each higher tier launching in subsequent months.

The Potential. Let’s be clear, for everything the Novena can do, it is certainly not going to be a mass-market, user-friendly option. What it can do is give hardcore tech lovers a device that is flexible and accessible to any need or hypothesis that can be tested. Because everything is open and accessible, some professional knowledge of usage and safety is required, but for those who have that knowledge, this is a compact, modifiable solution for any kind of software or hardware development needs.

Connected Objects Maker/Development

Postifier notifies of letter delivery, won’t scream, “You’ve got mail!”

PostifierOne of the benefits of digital communications that we take for granted is the (optional) notification of new messages. Postifier brings what many have a love-hate relationship with to physical mailboxes via a Bluetooth-Arduino mashup. While there’s an element of “because we can” to the product, the creators appeal to the utility for those who have a hard time getting around having to go down to the driveway to pick up their mail. Another option would be to ask neighbors to pick up mail when one is on vacation. However, the Postifier uses Bluetooth, so notification is confined to a relatively short range for now. On theo other hand, the battery is expected to last around nine months. It’s not much to look at now, but should be available to backers in June 2014 for $35 AUD plus another $10 for shipping outside of Australia.