Crowdfunding wallet designs and various gadgets may be fun and bring about some innovative products that might not normally get funding, but a lot of popular crowdfunding campaigns are relatively straightforward development projects and shouldn't be all that risky for backers. Crowdfunding actual scientific ventures adds a bit more risk for backers because no one can really say how an experiment will turn out -- unless the experiment has been done before. Adding to the challenge for scientific crowdfunding is the jargon and scientific understanding necessary for a backer to know what a particular project is actually trying to do. If you want to support some science, here are just a few science-related projects to check out.
- There's a non-zero chance that an effective Ebola treatment already exists in the database of FDA-approved drugs. Computational models could help identify which existing drugs might be suitable targets, and this approach has worked for other diseases, finding possible antimalarial drugs and anti-viral targets. [url]
- Some biohackers wanted to see if they could extend the range of human vision by taking vitamin A2 doses for a while. They've published the data they've collected, but the conclusion seems to be that you probably shouldn't take vitamin A2 for long periods of time in the hopes of being able to see in the near infrared. Also, the participants in this study reported an increase in nightblindness. [url]
- TRUDI (Tele-Robotic Ultrasound Distance Imaging) is an ultrasound robot that allows doctors to obtain diagnostic measurements remotely. It might look a little creepy for a robot arm to go straight for a patient's neck in the pitch video, but this robot can measure other parts of the circulatory system, too. [url]
- If you ever wanted an open source real-time PCR machine, you can pre-order one for about $1,300. This isn't the first open source PCR thermocycler, but this version has a lot of nice bells and whistles, including a touchscreen and some analytics software. [url]
If you'd like to read more awesome and interesting stuff, check out this unrelated (but not entirely random!) Techdirt post