Kickstarter Roundup: Wednesday, June 1st

We have been getting tons of emails lately recommending we take a look at various Kickstarter projects. We used to ignore them since they all boil down to a request for project funding, but since there are so many cool projects out there, we figured we might as well share a couple. Some of these projects have already met their funding goals, but we thought they were worth a mention anyhow.

Solar Powered Coffee Roasting


We’re all about both coffee and alternative energy, so this one caught our eye right away. While this coffee roaster won’t exactly fit on your back porch, it would be perfect for a coffee shop located in a sunny locale. Based off “power tower” solar concentrator systems, this rooftop-mounted solar harvester has big potential. Pair this with sopme sustainably-grown coffee, and you’ve got quite the tasty combo.

HexBright – an open source flashlight


What do you get when you combine milled aluminum hex bar and a Cree XM-L LED? A lightweight, extremely bright flashlight that won’t roll away on you. The HexBright puts out 500 lumens and sports a built-in rechargeable battery that can be topped off via your computer’s USB port. Not only that, the high-end version can be programmed to support any pattern or brightness that you choose.  We’ll take two, thanks.

Arduino Project Board


[Randy Sarafan] of Clap-off bra fame is working on a slimmed-down Arduino board for use in the final stages of project development. He really doesn’t see the need to put an entire Arduino development board into his finished projects and often makes a quick perfboard circuit for his builds once he is finished prototyping. He’s grown tired of the process and developed a small circuit board that has all the connectivity he needs, without all the extra bits found on Arduino development boards.

21 thoughts on “Kickstarter Roundup: Wednesday, June 1st

  1. These projects look cool, and I like that HAD posted them.

    But I’d feel better about it if the projects were promising to open source the design. Then it’s not so much a commercial for a product.

    Not that I checked these projects did or didn’t say they would, just responding to HAD’s feeling on posting them.

  2. Why does a flashlight need firmware again? I must have missed something. Also, USB is not a very efficient way to recharge a battery – any kind of battery. Who’d going to turn on a bloody PC to charge a flashlight?

    Kickstarter provides yet more comedy products.

  3. @wardy: I see you haven’t been introduced to the wonders of the cheap charger with an USB plug on its end.

    Since phones will all start using USB for power, it reduces the number of charges you need lying around.

  4. firmware for a flashlight..and designed by a NASA engineer? What’s wrong with a button and a few analog components? Last I checked USB charging didn’t need a chip either..

  5. The hexbright project looks bad ass. Why firmware? because I’m tired of buying flashlights with retarded settings. High and low make sense, but I never need a blinking light and definitely don’t want to click through an SOS setting too.

    DanJ, in the comments the head of the project talks about plans to eventually release code, schematics and even mechanical drawings.

  6. Your missing a reverse biased diode on your arduino breakout board. Also C4 looks to be used as a filter cap for the lm7805. If that’s the case you should also use a .1uf cap as a bypass capacitor for the atmega328 chip. C3 is spec’ed to be a .33uf cap from the lm7805 datasheet, i don’t believe those come in a radial package. Like @TBO said, just buy a RBBB they come in kits, are cheap, and easy to assemble.

  7. If you want a high quality flashlight now, check out Fenix. They are just as good as Surefire but much cheaper. I have a Fenix LD01 that I’ve carried on me every day for 6 months now. Great battery life and extremely bright for its size. Its amazing how useful having a real flashlight at all times is, rather than trying to use your cellphone, even compared to the LED flash on phones.

  8. if the flashlight is so open source where is any information on it except for the length at? sorry but kickstarter is starting to piss me off, 31k to open source a flashlight, i call BS.

    sorry for the rant, i just don’t get this really pay me to get something you can get for free over at yeah i’ll say it, go there instead and support a real open source community

  9. @h_2_o, Taylor Alexander, wardy:
    Thank you.
    A Flashlight with a Cree Emitter and a 18650 Cell… U know how much of them are on the Market already? You can grab them for cheap almost everywhere.

    I’ll stick with my cheap aluminium waterproof LED flashlight, after changing the three 0.5W LED against 3W ones, i am really satisfied.

  10. @xorpunk So Nasa engineers should not design flashlights? How about doing a flash light project and posting it here?

    @wardy Because of course I would only turn my pc on just to charge my flash light. I would never have my flash light simply plugged into a USB port as I happen to be using my PC for other things

  11. For the solar-powered coffee roaster, wouldn’t it be much easier to use a parabolic dish lined with reflective material? Less moving parts with just as much roasted coffee at the end.

  12. @wardy – I have lots of USB-chargeable devices in my car and on my backpack.

    Now since you don’t get it, you are -likely- assuming this is accomplished with some kind of desktop computer and AC inverter in my car.. lulz.

    Mintyboost and a fistful of Enerloop AA’s, for the win…

  13. Sometimes I think Kickstarter requests are a bit abusive of the system — I can see using it for acquiring funding for large projects that would otherwise be out of your means, but some projects on there are only asking for a few hundred bucks, which I’m sure the askers could front themselves (considering they probably own laptops and cameras to make the videos, etc.). Seems like a great way to get the word out on projects, though, so maybe that’s where most of the motivation comes from.

  14. There’s some really good projects on Kickstarter, and some really awful ones, just like everything else. It’s a shame most of them aren’t open-source.

    A bit of a shameless plug, I’m developing an open-source EEG with hackers/makers/developers in mind, and doing fundraising via Kickstarter (at Hopefully, there will soon be an affordable, multi-channel, wireless, open platform for people to make awesome brainwave projects with!

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