No Risk, No Reward is a recurring feature by Rollin Bishop that spotlights two very different crowdfunding campaigns: one for a somewhat serious technology project, and one for a somewhat less serious technology project.
When it comes to crowdfunding, one major problem is figuring out what’s worth putting hard-earned dollars toward. Some campaigns are better run than others, with fancy videos and flashing lights. It’s not an easy task picking one over another. That’s where we come in, picking a couple tech-related crowdfunding projects every week to look at specifically.
For your consideration, this week features a small, all-in-one life camera and e-paper sneakers.
YoCam from Mofily claims to be the solution to pretty much every conceivable camera problem. Need to take a selfie? YoCam can do that. Want to record some sweet action footage like a GoPro? YoCam can do that. Want to swim around with a camera? YoCam can do that. Want to watch your baby in the other room? YoCam can do that.
The rectangular, stick-shaped camera weighs in at just two ounces despite all of this. It’s also supposed to record video in 2.7K, 30 FPS, is waterproof up to 20 feet, features image and video stabilization, and it can even be set to cobble together a story of sorts out of the pictures it takes. That’s all out of the box, no housing or anything — though clipping it, well, anywhere requires specialized grips similar to any other comparable camera. It uses a 700mA li-ion rechargeable battery that can support recording at 1080p, 30fps for 2 hours. The built-in battery isn't replaceable.
YoCam is currently available to preorder via Mofily’s Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, and early birds can get in under the MSRP of $199.99. It's earned $178,213 this far, exceeding its $80,000 goal, and the campaign has 23 days to go. YoCam is scheduled to begin shipping in March 2016.
If you’ve ever looked at something like a Kindle Paperwhite and thought, “Dang, it sure would be cool to have this technology on my feet,” then ShiftWear is for you. That’s basically what they are: custom sneakers of various colors with embedded e-paper displays. Users can then make the e-paper display designs of their choice, including ones that are kind of like sneaker-based GIFs, from their smartphone or tablet.
It’s worth noting that the video above and all of the images associated with ShiftWear’s crowdfunding campaign don’t actually showcase a working prototype but instead feature prerendered images and video of what the finished product is supposed to look like. It’s not like they’re trying to hide this fact — it’s the very first thing on their page — but it’s still something to keep in mind. The technology exists out there, just not in this combination quite yet.
“We are knee-deep into development and are working out all of the kinks before we unveil this model,” ShiftWear’s Indiegogo FAQ reads. “We want to be as transparent as possible, but at the same time we want to protect our proprietary information.” So, they’re playing their cards close to their chest about how they’re going to get all the stuff to play nice together, but it’s not an impossible design. The crowdfunding campaign earned $820,544, exceeding its goal by more than 3,000 percent. It closed on Dec. 22.
The current formulation for ShiftWear includes Kevlar for durability on the soles along with the ability to charge while walking. Whether those design decisions make it to the final product remains to be seen, but it certainly makes for a cool idea. They’ve set the expected ship date for fall 2016, so they’ve got a little time to nail it down. If sneakers are your passion and you’re flush with expendable cash, there are worse things to blow it on.