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11 crowdfunding campaigns to watch in January 2020

I mean, just look at that tiny phone. I must have it.

velocifire m2 keyboard
Image: Velocifire

It’s no real secret that I love crowdfunding campaigns. I mean, the excitement of helping bring something cool to the market? That’s music to my ears.

I’ve been lucky too, with every single one of my dozens of backed campaigns giving me the physical goods or games that I backed. That’s pretty good going, although I would like to add that crowdfunding isn’t as much of a “wild west” situation as it used to be, with more and more professionalism coming from campaign owners.

Here are 11 cool crowdfunding campaigns to watch in January 2020

So… with how many campaigns there are out there, how do you choose what to back? Well, I use a combination of checking out their campaign page, looking to see if any of the comments on their prior campaigns show dissatisfied backers, and companies I’ve already had successful pledge fulfillment from.

I also tend to stick to gadget areas that I know a bit about, like photography, cooking, maker tools, and writing implements. That way I can judge if the campaign’s aspirations are within reach or not, which adds to my decisions. I’m also picking campaigns with some time left to run, as it’s no fun finding out about cool campaigns after they’ve finished.

So, with all of that out of the way, here are some of the crowdfunding campaigns I’ve found worthy of attention in January:

Fingerbot

little robot from fingerbot crowfunding campaign

Image: FingerBot

With how many of our new devices come with app control, voice control or other remotes, it’s easy to forget that not every device is “smart.” Enter Fingerbot, the $29 remote-controlled button presser you never knew you wanted. Stick Fingerbot to your light switches and hey presto, no need for expensive lighting systems. Stick one to your dumb coffee maker so you don’t need to take up landfill space when you buy an app-controlled one with an alarm. There are six days left to get one at early pricing, so don’t hold your fingers back – get clicking today.


Segway Dirt eBike

segway dirtbike on trail crowdfunding campaign

Image: Segway

Yes, Segway is better known for its other two-wheeled contraptions, but don’t let that put you off. Their Dirt eBike looks like a monster, with two levels of trim depending on your needs. The X160 starts at $3,000, giving you 17-inch wheels and a single crown suspension fork. You’ll be speeding around at up to 31 mph, with a range of 40 miles. The larger X260 starts at $4,500 and has 19-inch wheels and a double crown suspension fork, a 46.6 mph top speed and a 75-mile range. Both models get you $500 off those prices if you put down a $399 deposit on Indiegogo, so if you want an eBike, this is a good way to get it cheaper.


CIGA Design Z-Series Mechanical Watch

skeleton mechanical watch

Image: CIGA Design

It’s no secret I love a good wristwatch, and this hollowed-out design from CIGA ticks all the boxes for me. It’s square, housed in titanium and sapphire crystal, and you can see every part of the intricate mechanisms at work. It’s also automatically wound, so no worries about changing batteries, or manually winding. Grab one on Indiegogo for $249, a 34-percent discount from the eventual sale price. With the number of IF and RedDot awards CIGA has picked up, it’ll be sure to be a show-stopper when you wear it.


Luminook: Big light for small spaces

Image: Luminook

Listen up. We all know that the lighting inside our closets, cupboards, and other small spaces is universally terrible, if it exists at all. Luminook wants to to change that, using LED strips to go around the inside of your doorways. Think you can’t add lighting because you don’t have a socket nearby or the cash for an electrician? No problem, Luminook runs off a rechargeable lithium battery that can go for about a month. Oh, and it’ll also adjust the brightness based on ambient light. Winning.

Grab a set for $69 from Kickstarter while the campaign is going. Heck, at that price, get a few and banish the shadows in every closet in your home.


MARSCAT: A bionic cat, a home robot

robotic cat on pillow

Image: Elephant Robotics

Every wanted a feline friend but have allergies to hair? How about if you live in an apartment where pets aren’t allowed, or if your job keeps you away from home for long stretches of time? Enter Marscat, who’s “purrfect,” according to their creator, Elephant Robotics. Better break out the kibble fund though, as even at early-access prices you’ll be shelling out $699 for the faux feline companion. Using all its onboard sensors it can feel your touch, hear your voice, see your face, and ignore you with disdain, probably. I mean it is supposed to act like a real cat, right? It’ll also change how it acts based on how you pet it, so be nice or you’ll probably find robotic poops on your bed in the morning.


Mantour X: The Lightweight Foldable Self-Balancing E-Scooter

white scooter against wall crowdfunding

Image: Mantour X

Electric vehicles are all the rage, so check out the crowdfunding campaign for this $339 e-scooter which combines the self-balancing of a Segway with an e-scooter. When folded up, it’ll follow you on one wheel, ready for you to unfold it and hop on when you’re tired of walking around. Nifty. It’s full of carbon fiber and aluminum, known for their strength and lightness, and can carry up to 220 lbs of weight. With a 12.4 mile range, you’ll have juice to spare for those short shopping trips.


CARD20: Paper-thin TWS earbuds

earbuds broken apart

Image: Card20

For $69 you can grab an early pair of the thinnest TWS earbuds on the market, the CARD20. Even when inside the charging case, these diminutive earbuds are less than half an inch thick. They’re 0.1 oz in weight each, have Bluetooth 5.0, support AptX, and have up to 4 hrs of playback before recharging, with three more charges inside that case. Sounds good, right?


Velocifire M2 portable keyboard

portable keyboard

Image: Velocifire

It’s no secret we love keyboards here at KnowTechie, so an under-$50 mechanical keyboard with hot-swappable keys, Bluetooth, Mac and Windows compatibility and more really gets our typing juices flowing. This crowdfunding project even has three layers of programmability, so you can assign shortcuts, change lighting and remap keys to your heart’s content. Bring on the happy clacking!


Shanling Q1: Retro-styled portable music player

shanling music player

Image: Shanling

Shanling makes some of the more well-known audiophile portable digital music players, so the expectations here are high. For under $90 you could have this retro-styled music player that looks kinda like a SMEG fridge had a one-night stand with an Apple Watch. You can use it as a stand-alone music player, or even as an external DAC/AMP powered by an ESS Sabre ES9218P chip. Oh, and it’s also got Bluetooth, with support for codecs like AptX, AAC, and Sony’s high-quality LDAC.


Zanco Tiny t2

tiny phone in ear crowdfunding campaign

Image: Zanco

Look, I normally don’t like novelty tech in my crowdfunding but just look at this tiny phone! It’s $60, lets you make calls and texts, weighs only 31g and fits in the coin pocket of your jeans. Yes, that pocket that nothing else on earth fits into. It’s even got 7 days of standby battery life, so buy one to have a second phone just in case your shiny touchscreen runs out and you really need to call your mom. She’ll thank you. Trust us.


TWYSTR | tornado diffuser

twyster crowdfunding campaign

Image: Twyster

I’m not sure what the Venn diagram between “evil genius” and “essential oil using hippy” looks like, but it might be something like this diffuser. For $76, this crowdfunding campaign gets you get a tornado in a bottle, that does double duty as an oil diffuser to keep your local atmosphere smelling great. It’s powered by a silent fan, has a glass dome instead of a tacky plastic one, and did I say that it makes mini-tornadoes already? Just buy one, put it on your desk, see if Carl in IT comments when he walks past.


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