It’s fascinating to follow tech projects on Kickstarter and watch people build pieces of the future. Thousands of projects have made the leap from the workshop to the mainstream in a few short years. So we thought it would be fun to look at the year ahead through the eyes of the people who have checked out more tech and design projects than anyone else. John Dimatos, Julio Terra, and Nick Yulman are Kickstarter staffers devoted to these projects, and the time they’ve spent talking to creators and tracking trends makes their perspective unique. Here are their predictions for 2015, which build on the things we’ve seen bubbling up on Kickstarter in 2014.
DIY circuit boards. Advanced breadboarding and desktop fabbing. Techniques, products, and kits allowing you to prototype circuit boards that are one step closer to production level, along the lines of Squink, Circuit Scribe, and Cartesian’s EX¹.
A factory on your desk. First came 3D printing, and now comes the spread of CNC milling — computer-controlled sculpting and carving. The Othermill, the Nomad CNC, and Carvey are the first of what are likely to be many inexpensive options for precision machining with easy-to-use software, opening up this technology to a much larger creative audience.
Smarter, smaller drones. We saw a lot of fun drone projects this year, including Hexo+. Watch for drones to get more sophisticated as their software starts to solve harder problems, like collision avoidance. And we’ll see more tiny drones like Zano and the Pocket Drone, shooting photos and video, everywhere, all the time.
Wraparound video. The 360-degree video camera projects we saw this year, like the 360cam and Joey, will make more of an impact next year, especially as the gear for viewing immersive video gets cheaper and more accessible.
Oculus for everybody. The mainstreaming of affordable virtual- and augmented-reality viewers and control interfaces, going beyond hardcore gaming applications. Viewbox and DIYVR are early efforts at this. Increased attention to audio and haptics in this area as well.
Touch screen burnout. More simple, single-purpose physical interfaces and notification systems that provide some relief from touchscreen/hands-free fatigue. More attention to choices of design and materials for these controls and displays too. These will let people set up their own tactile interfaces for different smart-device functions and make them feel good to use. Recent examples: Pressy, Spin remote, Palette, Ditto, Notti.
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