Awesome Stuff: Ambitious Projects

from the not-your-next-nicknack dept

For our latest awesome stuff post, I thought perhaps we'd look at a few more "ambitious" projects. Many crowdfunding projects are really effectively "presales" of something that people might want: a gadget, an album, a book, a movie, an accessory, etc. However, there are some projects that are more ambitious in some sense. They're much more along the lines of getting people to support and donate to a vision. As such, they may be long shots, and those who support them might not get very much back in exchange, but it's neat to see people chase various dreams.
  • First up, we have + POOL, Tile by Tile, a crazy ambitious project to build a giant floating "pool" in the river off of Manhattan, which actually acts as a giant strainer for the river. In other words, you are in a pool, and the water is actually river water, but it's been cleaned and filtered. You have to see the photos to realize just how ambitious this project is. Here's one, but the project has many more.
    Or, you can watch the video, which is fairly impressive in its own right:
    This is not actually the first time these guys have used Kickstarter. They did another project a couple years ago to fund the filtration tests, but the latest project is to help fund the actual pool. And they have a relatively neat way of doing it, letting anyone "buy a tile" that will go in the pool, where you can put whatever you want on the tile. Most buyers will also get a "first dip" allowing them to swim in the pool before it opens to the public. They're looking for $250,000 (which seems like a fairly small amount considering everything going into this project), and they still have a pretty big way to go, and less than two weeks to do it.
  • How about bringing together a group of experts -- one in artificial intelligece, one in robot designs (making them look human), one in consciousness, one in biomorphics -- to build a better, futuristic, human-like robot. I have no idea if any of these experts really are as impressive as they claim to be, or if they'd be able to actually build this "Robot Adam Z1" to the point that (as they claim) it's the equivalent of a 3 year old child, but it certainly is ambitious.
    Given the very speculative nature of the project -- and the fact that lots of people have tried to build "human-like" robots -- it seems like they're asking for quite a bit: $300,000. And you don't get that much if you donate. The robot will remember your name at the low end. Higher up you can get a poem or a piece of artwork from the robot, or even a Google Hangout with the robot, but that's at $500 which seems steep. Given all that, perhaps it's not that surprising that they're a long, long way from the $300,000 they're asking for so far. But, since it's an IndieGogo "Flexible Funding" campaign, they'll still get the money even if it doesn't reach the goal. Of course, that might mean they don't actually get enough to do everything they want, which might be holding back some folks from donating.
  • Finally, we head back to a project for the open waters, where the makers of the world's largest amateur-built submarine, the UC3 Nautilus, are asking for help to get the sub back in the water. It's been taken out of the water for necessary maintenance, and they're looking for some funding to help. Just the fact that some folks built their own damn submarine is impressive already, and the video definitely makes it look pretty cool.
    They're looking for $50,000 and they have a very, very long way to go to get there. It may be tough to convince people to pay for a maintenance tuneup for the sub, though. I'm guessing that more people would be interested in funding an original sub, rather than fixing up an old one. Still, the whole project definitely fits into that ambitious category of this week's theme.
That's it for this week. Go out and do something ambitious yourself this weekend.

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