Arts Technology

Unleash the tablet inside with a Modbook Pro X

The Premise. Creative types know that getting the most of the digital side of their work takes a very specific build of programs and hardware to make the most of them. A simple desktop or tablet may not be enough, and in those cases a little extra firepower comes in handy.

The Product. The Modbook Pro X is essentially a reconfiguration of the beloved MacBook Pro, turning a versatile laptop into an even more capable tablet that offers the functionality of a dedicated artist’s tablet with a vibrant HD screen that uses mind-boggling high resolution. By tearing apart a MacBook and fitting it into a new case with touch-screen display that offers 2,048 levels of pen sensitivity, the Modbook Pro X gives users the flexibility of a device that can run OS X or Windows, all the apps that any MacBook can run normally, and adds ease of use and an experience tailored to artists and designers to the package.

The Pitch. Modbook Pro X isn’t for everyone, and the pitch video doesn’t try to pretend otherwise. Focusing on those who require the full output from programs like Photoshop and Illustrator, the Modbook team showcases almost exclusively the ways in which their device can make the lives of those in the graphic arts that much easier. Modbook needs $150,000 almost entirely for manufacturing costs.

The Perks. Getting a functional Modbook Pro X is going to take a little bit of coin. For $1,999, an existing, owned MacBook Pro with a 15.4-inch Retina display (from no later than late 2013) can be sent to the developers, who will tear the device down and reassemble it as a Modbook Pro X. The Keybars on the back of the device are added at the $2,299 level, while those who pay $2,689 will also get the Keyboard Stand. Anyone without an existing and compatible MacBook Pro can get a complete package for as little as $3,999, going as high as $5,689 for a top-end system with all the bells and whistles. The base perks won’t ship until March 2015, while the higher-tier items will be out as early as December 2014.

The Potential. A Retina display combined with pen controls has never been attempted before, and for some people this will be the kind of dream machine that will be pinned to their corkboard as a sports car of rigs for work and play. The high price point and requirement of owning a MacBook Pro at lower levels will shy away all of the potential backers who might just be looking for some new tech to play with.


8Scape keeps your sheet music from blowin’ in the wind

The Premise. Your preparing for your big concert and will be looking off of several pieces of sheet music. You’ve been around the block enough to know that if you don’t organize it into a binder with sheet protectors that you will be driven crazy because it will either blow off the stand or fall off when you go to turn the page. But sometimes getting three or four sheets of music to stand side by side on a piano can be a balancing act exercise worthy of a circus.

The Product. 8Scape takes the concept of a binder and sheet protectors and extends it into a bit of a different direction. The clear plastic covers and folder provide musicians with the potential to secure eight pieces of sheet music on a music stand and a total of two page turns; the added thickness stabilizes the sheets. The finished product will allow for music to be loaded in from the side, as opposed to top-down.

The Pitch. The video for the modest $5,000 campaign is a bit dry and looks something like a sales pitch. While there is something intended to be sold here, it would be nice to see it presented in a warmer, more personable and creative way – as opposed to something like you might see in a B movie or infomercial.

The Perks. There are six tiers from which backers may choose. For $30, backers get one 8scape and an expected delivery of July 2014.

The Potential. The best niche for this may actually be classical musicians, especially if there is someone available to turn pages for them. However, the way that this product was presented made page turns look cumbersome and there seemed to be a risk of the entire product falling off of the stand or piano because the design may not be sturdy enough. The concept is a great one, but it could use some polish. For now, a binder with sheet protectors (items available in any office supply store) seem like they would do better. Despite there being more page turns, such a tried-and-true system provides more stability and organization.

As for other alternatives, the campaign owners argue that just putting your music on an iPad isn’t a good option because your battery might die. That’s true, but you could also forget to bring paper along or it could get torn or lost. The 8Scape may be help prepare your music for being played, but there’s no substitute for a musician’s being prepared.


Curiositoys takes tikes beyond gift boxes and wrapping paper

The Premise. You know how at Christmas or on their birthday, kids often play with the box in which their new toy came and the wrapping paper more than the toy? Although, it does seem that they eventually get around to the toy that came with all of that. Even when parents get a new appliance, the kids will play with the box for days, sometimes even weeks.

The Product. If it’s boxes they want, then The Curiositoys can arrange for boxes to be what they get. The one drawback to the boxes that come with the toys or appliances is that they break down pretty quickly. The Curiositoys are touted as being much more durable, and that they are white encourages kids to tap into their artistic abilities and draw on them…rather than your home’s walls. However, it’s not indicated what materials are used to make The Curiositoys more durable. The toys are also supposed to be environmentally friendly. Items presently a part of the campaign include a small geometric figure, mailbox and curio pod.

The Pitch. The video for the $130,000 campaign makes some interesting claims. The Curiositoys are something of a kid magnet that allows parents to actually have friends over without multiple interruptions because the kids are fully preoccupied with their toy. Don’t video games do that? Oh, right. This gets them out from in front of the TV. Curiositoys is made of recycled materials; it is also supposed to inspire creativity – kind of like those empty boxes in which their digital and electronic toys come.

The Perks. There are a whopping 17 tiers from which backers may choose. The first level that includes a full-size Curiositoy, the Curiositoy Mailbox, is $34. Expected delivery is June 2014. For $68, a backer gets the Curiositoy curio pod and expected delivery of September 2014.

The Potential. Kids who enjoy arts and crafts or who mom and dad just think need some time away from their gadgets will be ideal for this toy. It’s also possible that grade school teachers, preschool teachers, daycares, and faith-based organizations that cater to children may also be interested in these items. Can’t wait? An item that is somewhat similar to the curio pod and  would be the Box Creations Corrugated Play House, which comes with markers.