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.)

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]

Smithsonian National Zoological Gardens
10 Animal Webcams You Can Watch Right Now
Smithsonian National Zoological Gardens
Smithsonian National Zoological Gardens

There are many facilities that are sharing the wonders of nature with the world via live webcam. Here are a few of our favorites, which you might want to bookmark.


Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream

An Allen’s hummingbird (Selasphorus sasin) has been returning to the same ficus tree in Southern California to build nests and raise her chicks for 11 years now. The anonymous homeowner named her Bella and installed a camera to share the nesting activity with everyone in 2012. You can follow Bella live as she tends to her nest, keeping the tiny eggs warm until they hatch.


The Metro Richmond Zoo in Moseley, Virginia, has a cheetah breeding facility which is currently housing three litters of cheetah cubs. Two litters have webcams trained on their enclosures; the screenshot here shows mother Milani and her cubs.


If you’ve ever craved the experienced of a working farm without having to do the chores, you can load the live barnyard webcam at Flying Skunk farm in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. The farm raises chickens, ducks, geese, and goats. This webcam has a microphone to capture the honks, clucks, crows, and general poultry cacophony, which can be a nice background for your web surfing.


Life isn't great for feral cats. Kittens born in the wild have abysmal survival rates, and those that survive to adulthood aren’t used to humans, making them difficult to find homes for. To bring down the numbers of feral cats, some rescue groups run TNR (trap, neuter, return) programs—and in British Columbia, TinyKittens teamed up with Langely Animal Protection Society to do just that. The goal is to prevent cats from getting pregnant, but when TinyKittens finds a pregnant feral cat, the facility takes her in, caring for her and her kittens so they're acclimated to humans. When the kittens are ready, they go to loving homes, and mom is spayed and released. Right now TinyKittens' live webcam is trained on Skye, a blind feral rescue cat with a litter of kittens. Treatment has restored a little sight in one of her eyes, but she doesn’t need to see her kittens to love them.


Take a peek inside the Warrior Canine Connection's Puppy Enrichment Center with this live cam, which features future service dogs who will one day help wounded veterans reconnect with their lives and loved ones.


An underwater live webcam can show us many surprises. Ocean Networks Canada has a webcam 75 feet under the sea, keeping an eye on the Folger Pinnacle Reef off Vancouver Island, British Columbia. The only light available most of the time is what filters down from the surface, but at night, the researchers controlling the reef cam turn on underwater lights for five minutes out of every hour for your viewing pleasure. It’s hard to tell from a screenshot, but things are constantly moving in the live stream. Currently, the camera is a little dirty; divers periodically clean and service the camera. It sits on a platform with a number of scientific instruments that allow the researchers to monitor the area, which is a rockfish conservation zone.


© 2016 American Eagle Foundation, EAGLES.ORG

A pair of bald eagles selected a tulip poplar tree at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., to build their nest in 2014 and have been using it ever since. The eagles are named Mr. President and The First Lady. The American Eagle Foundation has two cameras trained on the nest, and this year’s eaglets hatched on March 18 and March 20. The juvenile eagles are starting to look like adults, although they haven't yet sprouted the white feathers on their heads that will made them recognizable as the animal on the great seal.


The Smithsonian National Zoological Park in Washington, D.C., is home to four giant pandas: Tian Tian, an adult male; Bao Bao, a juvenile female; and the stars of the show, Mei Xiang and her baby, Bei Bei, born last August. There are two panda cams following Mei and Bei Bei, one trained on the outdoor habitat and the other covering the interior; the screenshot above shows Bei Bei enjoying his lunch. When your time zone doesn’t coincide with Mei Xiang and Bei Bei's schedule, you can check out Gao Gao, Bai Yun, and Xiao Liwu on the San Diego Zoo's panda cam.


Pete’s Pond is a watering hole at Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana. There’s a webcam trained on Pete’s Pond 24 hours a day, with camera operators ready to focus in on visiting animals. Elephants, monitor lizards, and baboons are all regular visitors; we tuned in just in time to see a giraffe ready for a drink.


This webcam is trained on Round Island, one of Alaska's four major terrestrial "haulouts"—areas where, in the spring, male Pacific walruses (Odobenus rosmarus divergens) haul themselves out of the water for a few days at a time between feedings. Round Island is one of seven islands that make up the Walrus Islands State Game Sanctuary; 14,000 walruses have been spotted on Round Island on a single day.


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