Air Strap seeks picture-perfect comfort

The Premise. If you’ve ever experienced the common vacation activity known as “the walking tour,” you may be familiar with some of the hurdles which come with trying to document it. Traveling with a camera can be cumbersome and annoying, yet having the ability to look fondly back on memories of past trips can deem the activity “worth the hassle”.

The Product. Not to be confused with an awesome accessory for your best air guitar, the Air Strap has many hopeful photographers and photography enthusiasts looking forward to a more comfortable future in photo capturing. While traditional straps rely on a single important benefit like ‘coming in the box for free’ many users have found them painful and hard-to-adjust. The folks at Custom SLR hope to remedy this with a wide, lightweight neoprene alternative that helps avoids the dreaded sweaty neck and shoulder syndrome.

The Pitch. Custom SLR keeps the campaign video simple following a photographer taking shots around San Francisco while the narrator points out the strap’s advantages — comfort, quick loosening to facilitate framing the shot, and air holes that let the strap breathe and dissipate the kind of sweat a hardworking photographer can work up.

The Perks. A $25 pledge nets an Air Strap and Laptop Strap Attachment, which is a pretty good deal compared to some of the more professionally oriented slings. From there, rewards escalate to include a number of other accessories. They culminate to include a free dinner in San Francisco (sorry East coasters, transportation is excluded).

The Potential. The camera strap is a commodity item, often thrown into the box. On the other hand, there are a number of higher-end products such as those from Black Rapid that offer a place at your side and conveniently allows you to quickly position to grab a shot. The inclusion of a laptop case adapter, though, should provide some added utility, appeal and value.


Rip Clips spare the tear on the thoroughfare

The Premise. If you’re not up for cuffing or hemming your jeans and alternate between heel lengths, your pants can drag, resulting in rips that can make your spirits drag so as well. There are a number of non-surgical approaches to addressing the losing battle that pants bottoms face when taking on rough sidewalks. These include double sided tape or clips that hem pants.

The Product. Rip Clips seeks to up the ante and your pants hems. The idea is to attach a clip to your shoes and the pants that connect via powerful neodymium magnet.Alas, there are compatibility issues and the product works only with Vans and Converse shoes for now.

The Pitch. Designers Chris Hackler and Nick Durantes take us through the a montage of lifestyle shots visits to an alterations shop, and the inside of the world’s most organized drawer complete with exquisitely spaced Rip Clips in explaining that their design will save you time and trouble in addition to tearing. Trips to the alternation shop, they note, can cost up to $26 and take up to five days. Invoking the classic infomercial refrain, they note, “There’s gotta be a better way!”

The Perks. Rip Clips depend on the attachments being on both the shoes and pants, but that may require some mixing and matching. As such, you may need to buy different parts separately. The project owners offer pants plates starting at $7 but a full set comes in at $13. That’s half of what they claim hemming can cost and the price might drop if the designers can scale up production.

The Potential. Rip Clips addresses an everyday issue. but many teens and young adults likely aren’t too concerned with ripping their jeans. It may be more tempting to market to those who would make the investment for work clothes, but these are the folks for whom alterations may not represent a lot of time and effort.

Connected Objects

PowerUp 3.0 turns your smartphone into a paper airplane pilot

The Premise. Paper airplanes are great fun, but no matter how good you are at folding them, there’s only so far they’ll go. Furthermore, it can take a great deal of effort and practice to control them with any degree of accuracy.

The Product. PowerUp 3.0 is a battery-powered, lightweight transceiver, control module, propeller, and rudder mounted on a carbon fiber frame designed to resist crash damage. The idea is to clip it to your paper plane (you provide the paper and mad folding skillz) and let it soar around as you control it with the iOS or Android app. The lithium polymer battery charges via micro USB connector, just like a phone. PowerUp 3.0 uses low-power Bluetooth wireless technology, enabling control from up to about half a football field away.

The Pitch. PowerUp 3.0’s campaign is worthy of such a fun product. The humorous pitch video explains how the PowerUp 3.0 came about as the result of a challenge to build upon Shai Goitein’s earlier experiments with propellers for paper airplanes. The 3.0 version of the paper airplane module makes things “magicaler” and Shai needs 50,000 of your “magic beans” to bring it to market. The campaign page also goes into more depth on the device’s specifications. shows some impressive raw flight footage, presents a closeup of the iPhone control app and highlights some inspired suggestions for paper airplane designs. The enticing stretch goals include an Android client at $150,000 raised, the ability to control two modules on one plane from a smartphone at $800,000 raised, the ability to have dogfights via proximity sensing at $1 million raised, and plane-mounted video capture at $2 million raised.

The Perks. While even $5 an actual paper airplane signed by the designer. At $30 and up, backers get a PowerUp 3.0 control module due in May 2014. Bonuses include an extra battery pack, extra control module, wall adapter, pilot hat, even a personalized flight jacket as the donation levels climb.

The Potential. Paper airplanes are the great toy equalizer, easy and accessible at their most basic, and this looks like a fun (and still affordable) way to extend the idea. The PowerUp 3.0 fits nicely between the paper airplane alone and model planes that need lots more talent or energy to build, or lots more money to buy. It’s also a great way to get a kid interested in model planes, but let’s be real. This is for the kid or the geek in all of us.