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Invent, Build, Repair, Learn, Play: Kickstarter Creators at the 2017 World Maker Faire

Sep 22 2017

The World Maker Faire takes over the New York Hall of Science in Queens this weekend. Occupying the grounds of the 1939 and 1964 World’s Fairs, it channels the optimism of those historic events — the belief that bringing people from all over the world together to share ideas can help shape a better future.

Here at Kickstarter, we feel a special kinship with the folks behind Maker Faire because they share our own expansive definition of creativity. At the fair you’ll find roboticists, artists, crafters, chefs, electrical engineers, amateur inventors, game designers, musicians, and many others enthusiastically sharing their creations with the curious crowd.

Here’s a sampling of the dozens of Kickstarter creators who will be displaying their projects at the 2017 World Maker Faire on September 23 and 24.

Looking Glass Factory: L3D Cube
Looking Glass Factory adds a new dimension to pixel art and digital animation with their volumetric LED cube, which allows artists and programmers to sculpt with light and create interactive visualizations of sound and music. Because it’s built on the open-source Arduino platform, folks with a knack for hacking can customize the display and integrate it into larger projects.

 

The Fixers' Collective
 “If it is broke, fix it!” The rallying cry of the Brooklyn-based Fixers Collective may seem obvious, but as more and more products are designed to be disposable, this common-sense sentiment feels downright radical. The group hosts regular meetups to repair, rebuild, and repurpose items that would otherwise be headed to the landfill. Swing by their booth to learn more about repairing your phone, mending clothes, and other ways to turn waste into something beautiful.

Awkward Engineer Creations: Analog Voltmeter Clock
Self-described “awkward engineer” Sam Feller devised a creative new way to measure time. Inspired by the stripped-down aesthetic of vintage industrial equipment, his clock uses the indicator needles of analog voltmeters to display hours and minutes. Feller’s affection for the less-than-perfect performance of these pre-digital machines shines through in details like the “twitchy needle" mode, which mimics the look of a noisy electrical signal and reminds us that a little flexibility in our experience of time is a feature, not a bug.

ClayXYZ
Maker Faire is a great place to check out the latest digital fabrication tools — devices that turn digital designs into physical objects. This machine works like other extrusion-based 3D printers, except it uses clay instead of plastic, allowing you to create intricate ceramic vessels and sculptures. Aside from opening up new ways to create with this ancient material, there are environmental benefits to printing with clay. Unlike plastic, it can be easily reused — so if you aren’t happy with a print, you can simply dissolve it in water and load it back into the machine.

Jonathan Bobrow: Troxes
Jonathan Bobrow designed these interlocking triangular building blocks while working with the MIT Media Lab’s Playful Systems group. The origami-inspired blocks start as flat pieces of die-cut cardboard, which can be folded into 3D volumes and combined to create complex structures. Bring your kids by Bobrow’s booth to help them deepen their spatial thinking — and fort-building — skills.

Honk! Festival
As in years past, Honk, a festival showcasing activist street bands, will be curating the World Maker Faire’s musical program. A steady stream of gloriously loud ensembles — many sporting DIY instruments — will be marching around the fairgrounds.

Futureworks
Futureworks, an incubator for New York City-based hardware startups, will be featuring more than twenty projects at their booth, including quite a few that came to life on Kickstarter. These include Ravi Varma’s portable Mesa Light, Voltaic Systems’ solar backpacks, Thimble’s electronics project subscription kit (shown above), and RaceYa’s STEM-oriented toy car.

Inspired to make something yourself? Start a project of your own, or explore live Design and Technology projects on Kickstarter.

 

Launch Day for Hardware Studio

Sep 19 2017

 

Back in May we told you about Hardware Studio, a new initiative from Kickstarter, Avnet, and Dragon Innovation that’s aimed at supporting hardware creators. Today we’re very happy to tell you that Hardware Studio is live at… hardware.studio.

We’re kicking it off with some advice from people who know a few things about hardware. Eric Migicovsky, founder and CEO of Pebble Technology, writes about lessons learned from his Pebble experience. And Dragon CEO Scott Miller, who also helped build the Roomba, runs through the steps in the journey from idea to manufactured product.

As of today, Dragon and Avnet are accepting applications for Hardware Studio Connection. Kickstarter creators who participate in that program will receive personal advice from Avnet and Dragon engineers, among other benefits.

If you’re thinking about running a hardware project, or are already deep in the planning stages, we hope you’ll find Hardware Studio useful. Read on for an excerpt from a Hardware Studio post by Kickstarter's Design and Technology team about the thinking that went into the initiative and the ways that it can help creators plan ahead before they launch a project.

Why Hardware Studio? 

We’re in the midst of an independent hardware revolution. Here at Kickstarter, we routinely see designers, engineers, and startups bring creative new ideas to life, fueled by forward-thinking backers who are eager to experience new tech and get a behind-the-scenes look at how it’s made. With a greater appetite for experimentation and more nimble teams, Kickstarter creators have launched products that never would have gotten the green light from larger companies. It’s changing what gets made and who has the opportunity to make it.

But these new opportunities come with new challenges. Independent creators may have more freedom, but they often lack the resources, knowledge, and experience they need to master manufacturing. We want to change that. So we’ve teamed up with the experts at Avnet and Dragon Innovation to launch Hardware Studio, a new initiative to help creators prepare for manufacturing before they launch on Kickstarter.

More than ten thousand hardware campaigns have been funded on Kickstarter. Of course, a successful Kickstarter campaign is really just the mid-point in the journey of bringing a project to life. For most creators, the transition from gaining support for an idea with a handful of prototypes to producing a product at scale is challenging. While it’s impossible to anticipate everything that might slow down, creators who have a manufacturing plan in place before their campaigns are better equipped to address issues that might arise. Having seen so many creators go through this, we’ve identified some common challenges. Here’s how Hardware Studio will help make manufacturing less daunting and mysterious for first-time hardware creators. 

Meet the Fall 2017 Kickstarter Creators-in-Residence

Sep 18 2017

Earlier this year we announced a trial run of a new Creators-in-Residence program. As part of Kickstarter's mission to help bring creative projects to life, we welcomed three teams of filmmakers into our office as they worked on completing their films. We loved working alongside them and learning from their process as they filmed new material, edited footage, and shipped rewards to their backers.

Today we’re announcing a second group of residents that joined the program a few weeks back. Joining us in our Brooklyn HQ for the next three months are:

Sofia Geld and Rebeca Huntt
Filmmakers Sofia and Rebeca are working with their music producer, Eli, to complete the final cut of "BEBA." The feature-length film follows the life of an Afro-Latina in racially tumultuous New York City.

Robin Cloud
Robin is a comedian, writer, director and the creator of "You Can't Do That," a short film that addresses why it's not a good idea to pet black people's hair. During the residency, Robin will be working on a short called "2 Dollars," the story of a property manager whose life unravels after deciding not to contribute to the office lotto pool.

Dafina Roberts
Dafina is working on the campaign for her webseries that explores the life of six friends in New York City, “Giving Me Life (in the Land of the Deadass).”

Giving Me Life (In the Land of the Deadass)
Giving Me Life (In the Land of the Deadass)

 

Ally Shwed
Ally is a cartoonist, writer, editor, and Superbacker who just completed her fourth Kickstarter campaign. Her anthology of true online dating stories is almost complete and she already has ideas for a new project.

Matty Davis and Ben Gould
Matty and Ben are using the theater at Kickstarter HQ to develop and rehearse a dance performance that explores themes of control and empathy.

It’s Showtime NYC
It’s Showtime NYC offers performance and professional development opportunities for street and subway dancers. They’re collaborating with our Art team on the launch of their first Kickstarter project.

Ani Taj of The Dance Cartel
The Dance Cartel is in the midst of their third Kickstarter campaign, WET CLUTCH, a drive-in dance experience that reimagines heroines from the last three decades of cinema.

Wet Clutch (photo by Maddy Talias)
Wet Clutch (photo by Maddy Talias)

 

Scott Thrift
Scott is working on quality-checking more than 400 of his artistic timepieces before shipping them to his backers.

Sean J. Patrick Carney
Sean is making use of our audio recording resources to produce his podcast, Humor and the Abject.

Adam J. Kurtz
Adam is a designer, author, and illustrator, and he'll be working on packaging and shipping out the 2018 version of his Unsolicited Advice planner.

Hans Reichstetter 
Hans recently wrapped up a project to create a faux-fur Unicorn Coat. While he’s here, he’ll be thinking through some new project ideas.

Griz Coat on the left and the new Unicorn Coat on the right
Griz Coat on the left and the new Unicorn Coat on the right

 

Each of these creators will be working on something different: some fulfilling a past campaign and others working on new projects. We’re excited to work alongside them and help them more directly during the creative process. Follow Kickstarter on Twitter and Instagram for more from our Creators-in-Residence.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this program, email us at ksralumni@kickstarter.com.

Splat! Kickstarter at the 2017 London Design Festival

Sep 13 2017

“The Making of Products should:
Invite chance and improvisation so that every product is different.
Use experimental processes but be simple in their form.
Be enjoyable and challenging.”


These are a few of the principles that guide Granby Workshop, the architectural ceramics studio founded by Turner Prize-winning design collective Assemble. The workshop grew out of a larger effort to revitalize Liverpool’s Granby neighborhood, producing distinctive architectural materials to renovate local homes and creating new manufacturing jobs within the community. Check out this video to learn more about their process and story.

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Granby Workshop’s latest project, Splatware, is a line of ceramic plates and cups made by squishing together different colors of clay in a massive industrial press. You can see the delightfully unpredictable results in person at Kickstarter’s booth at the London Design Festival’s designjunction fair September 21–24. Assemble and Granby Workshop will be serving baked goods and tea using Splatware, and members of the Kickstarter team will be on hand to hear about the creative projects you’d like to bring to life.

 

 

 

Many other Kickstarter creators will be exhibiting their work during this citywide celebration of design. Here are some highlights from the festival to explore.

After visiting our booth at designjunction, walk around the fair to find Prepd’s elegantly reimagined lunchboxes and Native Union’s minimalist cable organizers. Julio Terra, Kickstarter’s Director of Design and Technology, will talk about the overlap between these two disciplines in his presentation, Where Design Meets Digital, on Thursday, September 21 at 3pm.

If mechanical marvels get your gears turning, check out Kniterate’s digital knitting machine and Crane’s kinetic wooden lamp — both are on display at Machines Room.

At London Design Fair, the emerging designers behind Form & Seek will showcase their diverse line of home goods, launching soon on Kickstarter.

And you can gaze in wonder at Flyte’s levitating lamps, clocks, and planters at Tent London. Designer Simon Morris might even tell you how they work.

Finally, at SCP in Shoreditch, design students from London Metropolitan University are exhibiting four playful products launched on Kickstarter last year. Their professor, designer Peter Marigold, says that Kickstarter is “an open door to young designers — right on their doorsteps.”

If you can’t make it to London to experience all this in person, you can always check out our Design category to see how independent designers are exploring new ideas on Kickstarter.

Kickstarter Is Now Open to Creators in Japan

Sep 12 2017

(Scroll down for the English translation.)

日本のプロジェクトを世界に向けて。

Kickstarterは、日本のクリエイター向けにサービス提供を開始しました。アーティスト、作家、映画制作者、ミュージシャン、デザイナーなど、様々なクリエイターが世界に向けてプロジェクトを公開し、Kickstarterのグローバルコミュニティから、プロジェクト資金を募ることができるようになりました。

日本文化の象徴である、創造の精神と革新の伝統は、Kickstarterにも垣間見ることができます。8年前に創業して以来、300以上の日本のクリエイターが、日本以外の国のクリエイターとコラボレーションして、日本酒造りを追ったドキュメンタリー伝説のゲームデザイナーによるアクションゲーム、家族をつなぐコミュニケーションロボットなど、数々のプロジェクトを生んできました。また、約10万人もの日本のバッカーが、世界中のあらゆるクリエイティブなプロジェクトの実現を支援してきました。Kickstarterは、日本のクリエイターが、このクリエイティブなグローバルコミュニティに参加できることを心から歓迎します。

日本のクリエイターが、日本の銀行口座と身分証明書を使用してプロジェクトを立ち上げることができるようになったほか、Kickstarterのウェブサイトとモバイルアプリも日本語で使えるようになりました。また、カスタマーサポート、プロジェクトのレビューも、日本語で実施する体勢が整いました。Kickstarterは日本のコミュニティのニーズを常に汲み取り、改善を通じて、Kickstarterでの体験がより良いものになるように、サービスとサポートの向上に取り組みます。

Kickstarterを通じて、日本のクリエイターが創出する素晴らしいプロジェクトの数々を、楽しみにしています。まずは、本日からプロジェクトを開始した、以下のプロジェクトをご紹介します。

Ukiyo-e Heroes: Boss Fights

日本の伝統的芸術と、コンテンポラリーカルチャーを融合させた Ukiyo-e Heroes。ビデオゲームのキャラクターを木版画という伝統的な手法で制作。今回は「full of energy and conflict」という新シリーズの展開。

eOneBook

北斗の拳(究極版)全18巻を収録。読みながら日本語と英語の切り替えが可能な、画期的な電子書籍。

Maruhi Cup and Saucer

日常生活を少しだけ特別に。メッセージ、おもちゃ、お菓子を隠すことができる、秘密の部屋つきのカップ&ソーサー。

Space Editor

ヒンドゥー教の神、ブラフマーの神話に感化された、宇宙を創造するテーブルゲーム。

日本のクリエイターが公開中のプロジェクトをさがす

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As of today, we are officially open to creators in Japan.

Artists, authors, filmmakers, musicians, designers, and creators of all types can now launch projects and find support from Kickstarter’s global community of backers.

Japanese culture embodies a spirit of creativity and a tradition of innovation — characteristics that run deep within Kickstarter, too. Since our launch eight years ago, more than 300 creators in Japan have worked with collaborators in other countries to run Kickstarter projects, including a documentary about sake production, an action platformer from a legendary video game designer, and a toy robot that connects family members through voice messages. In the same time frame, nearly 100,000 backers from Japan have supported Kickstarter projects from all of our creative categories and from all over the world. Today we’re honored to build on this strong foundation by officially welcoming all creators from to Japan to join our community.

In addition to making it easy for creators in Japan to launch projects using their Japanese bank account and identification, we’ve made the Kickstarter site and mobile apps available in Japanese. We’re also providing customer support and project review in Japanese. Kickstarter is dedicated to supporting the needs of Japanese creators, and we will continue listening and improving the experience for the local community in Japan.

We can’t wait to see what Japanese creators bring to life on Kickstarter. To kick things off, explore a few outstanding projects from Japan that are live now:

Ukiyo-e Heroes: Boss Fights

Merging an ancient Japanese art form with contemporary culture, the creators of Ukiyo-e Heroes produce traditional Japanese woodblock prints depicting video game characters. They’ve returned to Kickstarter with a new series of artworks “full of energy and conflict.”

eOneBook

Toggle between Japanese and English text as you read this innovative ebook collecting all eighteen volumes of the 1980s manga series Fist of the North Star.

Maruhi Cup and Saucer

Designed to make everyday life “just a little more special,” this cup and saucer combo contains a secret compartment where you can hide a note, a toy, or a treat.

Space Editor

Players participate in the creation of the universe in this tabletop game inspired by the tale of the Hindu god Brahma.

Explore more live projects from creators in Japan here.

A Showcase of Human Imagination

Sep 7 2017

Projects of Earth began with a question inspired by the Voyager Golden Record: What would you create to represent life and culture on Earth in 2017?

With the launch of this initiative, we hoped to create a showcase of human imagination, and thanks to you, that vision has become a reality. Today we’re extending a huge thank you to the 120+ artists, designers, musicians, and makers from around the globe who answered this question through their own creative projects. The one-minute video below offers a glimpse at their unique ideas — from paintings of our technological future, to an all-terrain Earth rover, to a dance homage to American cinema. Take a look:

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Explore all Projects of Earth here, and back your favorites to help bring these earthly sounds, sights, scenes, and greetings to life.

Want to be part of future initiatives like Projects of Earth? This November's open call will focus on "Commissions," and we'll be looking for creators to run projects that enable backers to pledge for custom, one-of-a-kind rewards. And in January of 2018, Make 100 is coming back. Subscribe to our Happening newsletter to stay in the loop.

You Are Here: Projects of Earth

Aug 21 2017
 

 “Look again at that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us.”

—Carl Sagan in Pale Blue Dot, referencing a photo of Earth taken by the Voyager 1 space probe from a record distance of 6 billion kilometers.

When the first Voyager space probe launched into orbit on August 20, 1977, forty years ago yesterday, it carried on board an exceptional artifact: the Voyager Golden Record. This “galactic greeting card” was designed by a team led by Carl Sagan to share scenes, sounds, music, and greetings from Earth — a metaphoric snapshot of humanity — with any far-off life forms who might discover it.

Today, millions of people will witness a rare solar eclipse. This cosmic event reminds us of something profound that’s often overlooked: we’re all together on this pale blue dot. Projects of Earth is a creative initiative inspired by this collective vision of humankind. Between August 20 and September 5 — the original launch dates of the two Voyager space probes — Kickstarter creators will launch projects that explore life and culture on Earth in 2017. Together, these projects will create a multifaceted portrait of our world today.

You can look forward to the following Projects of Earth:

Orbital Reflector 

In collaboration with the Nevada Museum of Art, artist Trevor Paglen is working with aerospace engineers to develop and launch a space-worthy reflective sculpture that will be visible in the night sky. Orbital Reflector is the first satellite to exist purely as an artistic gesture.

Trevor Paglen, Prototype for a Nonfunctional Satellite (Design 4; Build 4), 2013, Mixed media, 16 x 16 x 16 feet. Courtesy of Altman Siegel Gallery and Metro Pictures, 2013
Trevor Paglen, Prototype for a Nonfunctional Satellite (Design 4; Build 4), 2013, Mixed media, 16 x 16 x 16 feet. Courtesy of Altman Siegel Gallery and Metro Pictures, 2013

Ai Weiwei: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

Artist and activist Ai Weiwei and the Public Art Fund are bringing a new exhibition to over 300 sites around New York City. Drawing on the artist’s personal experience being detained by the Chinese government and his visits with some of the world’s most vulnerable populations at refugee camps and borders worldwide, Good Fences Make Good Neighbors will make a statement about division and separation at a global, national, local, and personal level. 

Ai Weiwei: Good Fences Make Good Neighbors is live now.

Chasing the Great American Eclipse

The new photobook from the creators of UnPresidented will capture the August 21, 2017, solar eclipse and humans' response to it around the U.S.

Chasing the Great American Eclipse is live now.

Propeller Group x San Jose Museum of Art

The San Jose Museum of Art will unveil a monumental mural featuring a portrait of a young refugee, created as a collaboration between Vietnam-based art collective The Propeller Group, Los Angeles street artist El Mac, and children’s author and artist Christopher Meyers.

One Earth Message: A Digital Voyager Golden Record 2.0

Jon Lomberg, the design director on the original Voyager Golden Record, wants to crowdsource a new message from Earth to the cosmos. He hopes to upload it to the computer on board NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft in 2020.

One Earth Message: A Digital Voyager Golden Record 2.0 is live now.

ExoLife Finder: A New Telescope to Find Life on Exoplanets

The PLANETS Foundation is working to build a telescope capable of finding and imaging life on nearby exoplanets. 

Making Waves: The Art of Cinematic Sound

In a new documentary, filmmaker Karen Johnson will explore how sound design shapes our experience of the world.

Rolly Crump: Projects Of A Whimsical Earth

This book will explore the depth and breadth of human imagination through the art of legendary designer and Disney Imagineer Rolly Crump.

Orrery Lamp: A Minimal, Dimmable Solar System

Part design object and part educational tool, this lamp allows you to calibrate the Earth and Moon to their exact positions around the Sun.

Orrery Lamp: A Minimal, Dimmable Solar System is live now.

Turtle Rover: World's First Earth Rover

With four wheels, an HD camera, and a robotic arm, this remote-controlled mobile robot and open platform can be programmed to explore any terrain.

Turtle Rover: World's First Earth Rover is live now.

The Dance Cartel Presents: Wet Clutch

In a groundbreaking drive-in experience, dancers will remix and reinterpret iconic female characters from the past four decades of Hollywood and cult cinema.

The Dance Cartel Presents: Wet Clutch is live now.

Thornwillow Press: Rainpaper Notebooks, Sun Spots, and The Good Earth

Independent publisher and book bindery Thornwillow Press plans to launch three new projects, each celebrating a different aspect of our planet. 

Thornwillow's Rainpaper Notebooks, Sun Spots: A Print Portfolio, and The Good Earth: A Broadside Portfolio are live now.

Discover live Projects of Earth — or share your take by starting your own.

Let's MAKE Vinyl

Aug 10 2017
Coffeeshop Selection by Gramatik
Coffeeshop Selection by Gramatik

 

As we announced in June, Kickstarter Music is very pleased to be developing a collaboration with Qrates intended to simplify vinyl pressing and production what we’re calling MAKE Vinyl. Our ongoing goal is to help and support the bands and musicians we work with gain access to the tools and resources they most often need. MAKE Vinyl provides this support by helping creators plan, manufacture, and fulfill their projects — so they can focus on making music.

The first batch of MAKE Vinyl projects are live now. We’re sharing some of them — and a few other Music projects we dig — below. Get into it.

Projects making vinyl

DJ Jay Davi is releasing a new EDM single and album

Tokyo-based Crunchybird is pressing a limited run of The Incident at Fallthrough Bridge

Electronic dance outfit Agent Zero goes Live At The Fillmore with a 12-inch double LP pressing

Maryland-born MC, producer, and educator Substantial is re-releasing his first and second albums

Catalonia’s Ramon Gallifa a.k.a. The Morning Bridges is compiling tender tunes with global influences

She’s been making music since she was twelve — now Emily Keener is ready to MAKE Vinyl with her fourth album

Slovenia’s Gramatik thinks science is cool and net neutrality is imperative — and he’s releasing a one-time-only run of original tracks called Coffeeshop Selection.

Michael Hearst is writing songs about some of the world's most fascinating individuals, including Billie Jean King, Stagecoach Mary, Ibn Battuta, Jane Goodall, and Evel Knievel. 

Substantial
Substantial

 Find more projects making vinyl here.