Another week, more awesome crowdfunding projects. No need to waste time with the intro, let's get right to it.
Lasertag has been around for a while but a bunch of students (high school?) have tried reinventing it for the modern era, using infrared devices that are more stealthy and have some advantages over the old game. First, they have a system of LEDs that will light up and show how many hit points you have left when hit, and second is that pretty much any IR device can act as a "gun." I'll be honest that I was never a huge lasertag guy, but a project that involves students building something cool seems pretty awesome. Of course, lasertag has always been misnamed, since I'm pretty sure it's always been IR devices rather than lasers, but it's cool to see how it's being reimagined by some students.
The project is definitely still a work in progress and looks fairly crude at the moment, but many of the rewards involve sending you the schematics to build your own out of various household items.
Okay, you say that's unfair and you want real lasers? How about the Blue Laser Lamp. While they talk about its use for home theaters and outdoors, it really does seem most likely to be useful as a nightlight of some sort. It also has a vibe that suggests that this could be the next lava lamp. Something that stoned college kids think looks awesome, but has little functional practicality. Still, it's a unique design, and I figured some folks out there might appreciate it.
The early bird pricing ($35) sold out quickly, and the project has gained a huge amount of support pretty quickly, though it still has a ways to go before reaching its goal. Given the time left, however, I doubt it will have much trouble getting there.
Finally, perhaps something a bit more useful. The first time I ever got to "play" with a 3D scanner was in 1997 when I took a class with Donald Greenberg (who I later went on to work for and consult with), one of the pioneers in 3D computer graphics and the Director of Cornell's Program for Computer Graphics. He had a massive 3D scanner in his lab, and I got to be the guinea pig in our class, getting my head scanned. Even though I recognize standard technology trends in which products get cheaper as they get much better, it still seemed ridiculous to think that there'd be a day not that far in the future where personal home 3D scanners were possible and reasonably priced. There's been plenty of talk about 3D printers, but less attention has been paid to the scanning side. So it's cool to see the Photon 3D Scanner, which is an attempt to make an affordable home 3D scanner.
The early birds sold out at $349 and $399, but everyone else can jump in at the $449 level if you feel the desperate need to scan things in 3D in your home any time soon.
And that's it for this week -- and a special thanks to folks who have started submitting examples of crowdfunded "awesome stuff." It's really helpful, since there are so many interesting projects out there these days.