15 More Kickstarter Projects We Love

Last month, I gathered up 15 of the best flossy projects on Kickstarter--projects our readers would love, ones that were educational yet playful. Since that posting, nine of the 15 projects were successfully funded. (Four were unsuccessful in raising the desired funds, and two are still active at the time of this writing.) This month, I have another 15 flossy projects to share with you, arranged according to how much time remains on each project. If any of them strike your fancy, just follow the widgets over to Kickstarter to place a pledge (starting from just $1).

Pinball Arcade: Star Trek the Next Generation

The Goal: Purchase the licensing rights for the original Star Trek: The Next Generation pinball table designed by Steve Ritchie in order to create a digital version of the game

Funds Needed: $45,000

Favorite Reward: Copy of the game for the platform of your choice (iOS, Android, Xbox 360, PS3, computer, etc.) for $10+ pledges

Splurge Reward: Pledge $10,000+, and the FarSight team will travel to the location of your choosing to set up and host a virtual pinball tournament for you & your friends, complete with prizes

"The Characternity": Entire Cartoon Universe

The Goal: Complete a giant drawing of 2,500+ characters from cartoons and pop culture at large and then produce prints

Funds Needed: $4,500

Favorite Reward: For just $1+, your (broadly recognizable) character suggestion will be included in the Characternity, and you'll receive a .PNG image of the character in the piece

Splurge Reward: One big spender can receive the original black & white line drawing of the Characternity for a pledge of $9,500+

Sprout: A Pencil with a Seed

The Goal: To produce a line of high-quality pencils that can be planted when they're too short to use

Funds Needed: $25,000

Favorite Reward: For $10+, receive the 3 Sprout combo pack of 1 Basil, 1 Cherry Tomato, and 1 Marigold pencil

Splurge Reward: For $1,000+, the team will turn any object of your choice into a plantable item, complete with a video of the event; you'll also receive their herb variety pack

Tinkermite Tablet

The Goal: Produce a classic style wooden children's puzzle that teaches kids about technology

Funds Needed: $15,000

Favorite Reward: The Tinkermite Tablet itself is yours for a pledge of $50+

Splurge Reward: $350+ backers will receive 4 Tinkermite Tablets, a set of application magnets, 4 T-shirts, and stickers

Artifact: Interactive Access

The Goal: Develop and build a workflow prototype and acquire equipment to enable the Grand Rapids Public Museum to build a publicly accessible database of high-resolution images of more than 250,000 artifacts

Funds Needed: $2,500

Favorite Reward: A set of 3 limited edition 8"x10" photographic prints of the artifacts for a pledge of $50+

Splurge Reward: For a pledge of $500+, a copy of the book of artifact photos with a signed book plate and patron acknowledgement in the book, as well as an 11"x17" print of an artifact of your choice (from 100), signed by the photographer

SmartThings: Make Your World Smarter

The Goal: Develop a system, apps, and "SmartThings" to make everyday physical objects smarter, so users can monitor, automate, and control the objects in their lives -- for example, using the Weather Watcher SmartApp to delay sprinklers when rain is expected

Funds Needed: $250,000

Favorite Reward: For pledges of $174+, get a SmartThings Hub plus 3 Things (fobs, sensors, outlets, etc.) as well as free service -- forever. (This is the lowest-price package still available; the $99 and $149 packages have sold out.)

Splurge Reward: If you're an "Enthusiast" with a pledge of $500 or more, you'll get a SmartThings Hub, 10 Things (fobs, sensors, outlets, etc.), no monthly fees, and the opportunity to vote on the next things they'll create. (If you really want to splurge, with a pledge of $10k or more, you'll become a "Partner," and the creators will discuss those benefits on a case-by-case basis.)

Steampunk ABC Book

The Goal: Publish a hardcover alphabet book featuring steampunk features, historical aspects, and archetypes of the "future past"

Funds Needed: $9,000

Favorite Reward: For $20+, receive a hard copy of the book, a PDF of the finished book with your name listed as a supporter, and a digital wallpaper featuring the design on the book's end papers

Splurge Reward: At the "Dorian Gray" level of $750+ pledges (limited to 5), receive an 11"x14" watercolor portrait of yourself (and your significant other, if desired) in a steampunk outfit, as well as the end paper design digital wallpaper, a PDF copy of the book listing you as a supporter, a Kickstarter-exclusive book plate, an autographed harcover copy of the book, and a signed 11"x14" archival print of an illustration of your choice from the book

Historical Figures Typographic Poster Series

The Goal: Creating a series of typographic portraits of popular icons from history, using the quotes and musings that shaped their lives

Funds Needed: $5,000

Favorite Reward: If you only have $1 to spare, you'll still get digital wallpapers (for all your devices -- computers, phones, tablets) of all 4 posters

Splurge Reward: For a pledge of $120+, you'll receive all 4 of the 18"x24" posters in the series, signed and numbered by the creator

AnthroCine: Archival Film Digitizing System

The Goal: Develop AnthroCine, an archival film digitizer to expedite high quality digitization of archival film, and a system in which the AnthroCine systems would be temporarily deployed to archives/libraries, instead of having to be purchased by each individual organization

Funds Needed: $300,000

Favorite Reward: A $25+ pledge receives digital access to Advanced Film Capture's scanned public domain (and privately held, when possible) video, along with a personalized certificate of appreciation and a permanent listing on their website as a supporter

Splurge Reward: Up to 25 big spenders who pledge $10,000+ will be made lifetime members of AFC's Board of Advisors, which will meet quarterly; the board will receive updates, guide the organization, be able to recommend specific archives/films, and have other business input. A backer at this level will also have the option of sending an undergraduate/graduate student of their choice to an internship at AFC. (You can also choose to receive any/all of the other rewards being offered.)

BERO: A Bluetooth-Controlled Open Source Robot

The Goal: Produce and distribute BERO, a smartphone companion robot that can be fully controlled via a smartphone interface, as well as function as a Bluetooth speaker, dance to music, read and react to Twitter feeds, and more

Funds Needed: $38,900

Favorite Reward: For $129+ pledges, receive the BERO Basshead, a 4-inch BERO that lights up to music with 5 gearbox motors for movement, and a mention on the webiste

Splurge Reward: For a pledge of $7,850+ (limited to 2 backers only), you will be flown (economy) to Hong Kong from any "normal" international airport, receive accommodation for 3 nights, and tour the factory and watch BERO be made. You'll also receive some "top-secret" development updates and star in a making-of video.

GLYPHiTS: Magnetic Pictures with Linguistic Potential

The Goal: Develop a set of magnets featuring hand-drawn images and letters that can be used to create messages and puzzles

Funds Needed: $3,000

Favorite Reward: $15+ pledges net you a complete set of GLYPHiTS, plus a Kickstarter-exclusive magnet, shipped in time for the holiday season

Splurge Reward: If you pledge $500+, you'll receive a set of 50 personalized GLYPHiTS, as well as one regular 150-piece set of GLYPHiTS and the Kickstarter-exclusive magnet

Borders of the World Jewelry

The Goal: Produce a line of jewelry inspired by and featuring world borders

Funds Needed: $45,000

Favorite Reward: For $50+, receive a sterling silver Cotton Multi-Cord Bracelet, Knotted Double Strand Bracelet, or Knotted Medallion Necklace, presumably featuring the border of your choice

Splurge Reward: With a $1,000+ pledge, you'll receive an American Apparel T-shirt with the Borderline logo, a sterling silver Horseshoe Key Ring (presumably featuring the border of your choice), and a pair of gold Cufflinks or a Braided Leather Wrap bracelet with the gold map of your choice

Public Lab DIY Spectrometry Kit

The Goal: Collect data to build a Wikipedia-style library of open source spectra, as well as to refine and improve sample collection and analysis techniques

Funds Needed: $10,000

Favorite Reward: Backers pledging $35+ receive an assemble-it-yourself desktop USB spectrometry kit, with a 400-900 nanometer range and a 3-10 nm resolution, so you can contribute to the spectra library

Splurge Reward: The $400+ pledge package includes all 4 spectrometers -- countertop, desktop, mobile, and papercraft -- so you can contribute to the spectra library from anywhere

Shakespeare-Themed Oil Paintings

The Goal: Create 10 new oil paintings inspired by Shakespeare's plays, make giclee prints of those paintings, and hold an exhibit of the paintings in the summer of 2013

Funds Needed: $7,000

Favorite Reward: A $15+ pledge nets you two 4"x6" prints -- "Farewell, Farewell! One Kiss: Romeo and Juliet" and "Brides and Bridegrooms All: As You Like It" -- as well as a digital slideshow of all the paintings set to music

Splurge Reward: For a $10,000+ pledge, the artist, Richard Lance Russell, will fly to you (within the USA) and paint your portrait on a canvas up to 20"x30"

Onrust: Replica 17th-Century Dutch Ship

The Goal: Complete the interior design and construction of the museum and classroom space in the Onrust, an authentic replica of the first Dutch ship built in America, which was originally built in 1614

Funds Needed: $5,000

Favorite Reward: For a pledge of $50+, receive a hand-made spinning top made out of 400-year-old White Oak used to build the ship, as well as an 8"x10" color photo of the ship

Splurge Reward: Pledge $1,000+ to take an excursion on the Onrust for you and another person. You'll also receive a framed 11"x17" limited edition etching of the Onrust, your name on a donor plaque on the ship, a hand-made spinning top made from 400-year-old White Oak used to build the ship, and an 8"x10" color photo of the Onrust. (If you're one of the first 10 to pledge $1,000+, you'll also receive a pen made from the 400-year-old White Oak.)

7 Brilliantly Useless Websites You Won't Believe Exist

by Jenny Morrill

Bored at work? It's OK—everyone needs to take a break at some point during the day. (Trust us, it's science.) But checking social media or catching up on the latest news may not be the best way to spend your downtime. Perhaps you should try watching an animated taco spin around your browser instead.

Below, we've collected seven useless, whimsical, and just-plain-weird websites to waste your time on. Try not to get addicted.


A hard-shell taco spins on a white background, labeled with the number four.
Screenshot via Taco Spin

This one is even more mindless than you might imagine. It's a taco. It spins. Seriously, that's it. There is, however, a fabulous soundtrack. And it counts the number of spins you've watched, so staring at it for long enough starts to feel like an accomplishment.


A screenshot from The Most Seconds reads 'You have been here for 20 seconds.'
Screenshot via The Most Seconds

How many seconds can you stand the boredom of watching this number increase?


An off-white image reads 'No Spoilers!'

Here's a handy guide to checking whether or not your computer is on. (If you're a fan of this one, we must refer you to that other wonderfully informative site, Is It Christmas?)


An entirely magenta image

Screenshot via Random Colour

The idea behind Random Colour is incredibly simple, but at least you get the element of surprise. Every time you refresh the page, the entire site turns a new color. Warning: Fiddling around with this one for too long will definitely give you a headache.


Blocks of color appear to fall backward off the page.
Screenshot via Falling Falling

This color-themed site is a little more dynamic than Random Colour, but just as pointless. The colors endlessly fall off the page. Totally hypnotic.


A hand-drawn arrow points to a box for the reader to click under a banner that reads 'Useless Site.'
Screenshot via Useless Site

Yes, it's as useless as the name promises, yet somehow, it's not even the most useless site on this list. Go ahead, click that checkbox—you'll keep clicking for way longer than you should.


A series of llama drawings in the shape of letters spells out 'I love llamas!'
Screenshot via Llama Font

Llama Font is a site made for those few people who reside firmly in the middle of the Venn diagram of "typography geeks" and "fans of South American camelids." You can spell out anything using illustrated llamas. And no matter how long your sentences run, these llamas won't lead you on a high-speed chase.

This Website Lets You Watch Every Single 'Stare' Scene from The Office

A facial expression is often worth a thousand words—especially on NBC’s The Office. Characters are prone to breaking the fourth wall by staring directly into the camera, their smiles, grimaces, and stares providing viewers with a glimpse inside their heads. By the time the show’s final episode aired in 2013, audiences could instantly recognize—and interpret—Jim Halpert's ironic stare, Dwight Schrute's self-satisfied smirk, and Michael Scott’s awkward fake smile.

For fans looking to relive these quietly hilarious scenes, Nerdist reports that a website, The Office Stare Machine, has compiled “every single time a character speechlessly breaks the 4th wall and stares at the camera.” Creator Joe Sabia spent a year and a half building an archive of more than 700 clips, and teamed up with developer Aaron Rasmussen to display them online. The site features a search engine, which allows visitors to type in more than 800 different emotions—boredom, sadness, anger, and loneliness, to name a few—and watch a corresponding video snippet.

Aside from its laugh factor, The Office Stare Machine provides viewers with a unique way of getting to know their favorite characters’ personalities. According to the site’s creators, Michael Scott, as played by Steve Carell, has the most “happy” expressions, whereas Dwight Schrute, a.k.a. Rainn Wilson, has the most devious ones. And despite his fun-loving, easygoing nature, Jim, who's played by John Krasinski, is sad the most—presumably because of his long-running struggle to win secretary Pam Beesly’s affections.

Check out a few clips from The Office Stare Machine below, or visit the site to view the full archive. If you need an extra incentive to watch the entire collection, the website is also designed to play “a secret, epic, and beautifully crafted surprise video” once you're done browsing its catalog of emotions.





[h/t Nerdist]


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