Jeff's MCAD Blogging
Jeffrey Rowe has more than 40 years of experience in all aspects of industrial design, mechanical engineering, and manufacturing. On the publishing side, he has written well over 1,000 articles for CAD, CAM, CAE, and other technical publications, as well as consulting in many capacities in the … More »
Kickstarter Showcases Real Innovation
July 24th, 2013 by Jeff Rowe
Although it’s not perfect, and certainly has its detractors, I’ve been a big fan of Kickstarter since the beginning because of the innovative projects that have emerged from it. A little over four years ago Kickstarter was founded as a private for-profit company, providing tools to raise funds for creative projects via crowd funding through its website.
Since its inception, Kickstarter has funded a diverse array of projects, including consumer products, films, music, video games, and even food. You do not and cannot invest per se in Kickstarter projects to make money. You can only back projects in exchange for a tangible reward or experience, such as a custom T-shirt or initial production run of a new product.
One of the projects I’m following right now is the myType Keyboard, a foldable Bluetooth keyboard that wirelessly pairs with smartphones and tablets, and fits in your pocket for touch typing on the go. According to the creators, while most folding keyboards on the market today have small keys and reduced spacing that result in cramped hands and frequent spelling mistakes, the myType Keyboard’s patented interleaving key design allows you to carry around a (nearly) full-sized keyboard.
Features and specs include:
The team behind myType has raised almost $80,000 from over 1,300 backers, and will continue to do so for the remainder of their campaign that ends August 1. Looks like this project will make it to production. I think I want one.
I really like that the team behind the myType keyboard is honest about the project’s risks and challenges and make the following disclosure statements:
“We have followed many projects on Kickstarter, and have seen many of them struggle to deliver on time – or at all. We know, first hand, how frustrating this is for the backers, so we made a strategic decision to launch only after we had worked through the challenges most likely to cause delays.
For us, this meant securing and building relationships with suppliers, finalizing the product design, securing proof of concept beta run in each color giving us confidence that this process is repeatable.
That said, there are still risk factors that could impact our ability to complete our project, but we have identified alternate manufacturing channels, and are confident that we will be able to deliver our rewards on time.
If the project substantially exceeds expectations, it could introduce some delays in fulfillment and potentially manufacturing. We have identified fulfillment partners, and are confident that we can get rewards shipped out in a timely fashion. The factory has assured us that they are equipped to handle large order sizes into the 10,000+ range quickly and efficiently.”
We wish them the best since they’ve been working on this for quite some time. It’s also a good concept that looks like it will be well executed.
Love it or hate it, Kickstarter has been the springboard of many innovative design projects. Some will succeed, some won’t, but the spirit in which the endeavors are created is always fascinating to follow.
For more information: myType Foldable Keyboard