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Productivity Software February 10, 2015

These Crowdfunding Projects Will Improve Your Work Life

Taylor Martin is a guest writer for ToDoist - Productivity and task management solution.


Popular crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo are in the business of bringing brilliant (and sometimes not-so-brilliant) ideas to life. All it takes anymore to kick-start your genius fix for a problem no one knew they had – or take over the world – is a convincing pitch and some reward levels for those daring enough to cough over some cold hard cash on the promise of a product that may never actually see the light of day.

A strange dichotomy has been birthed with the growth of such crowdfunding sites. Artists, inventors, and thinkers can now launch their creations with a much lower barrier for entry. Meanwhile, some people are crowdfunding potato salad and asking for money to avoid an eviction notice.

Kickstarter and Indiegogo, in particular, have become an emporium for insanely clever knickknacks and the outright bizarre. I have personally pledged for projects on both ends of the spectrum. I’ve been burned by nearly a year’s worth of delays to get one of the best gadgets I’ve ever owned ( Pebble) and received some of the most over-hyped, useless gadgets (OUYA) that I tossed aside after just a few days.

Point being, crowdfunded projects can be a gamble of sorts. But if you’re willing to take the risk, you can often come out on top by getting a product months before it’s publicly available and for well below retail value.

Below are some crowdfunding products from Kickstarter and Indiegogo that could change how you work.


1. StandStand

standstand

Although I’m currently slouching over a table at a coffee shop, I am a huge proponent of standing desks. I’ve used standing desks off and on for the better part of five years. Not only does it help boost productivity and alertness, it’s great for your health. With an increasing number of screens around us and endless forms of entertainment, it’s much easier to lead a sedentary lifestyle, and one of the best ways to do this is by adopting some method of standing while you would normally be sitting at a desk for hours on end.

The issue many people face is that standing desks are expensive, usually ranging from $400 to over $4,000, and often bulky.

If you don’t have access to a standing desk, you’re not out of options. This is where StandStand comes into play. It’s a portable laptop stand that weighs less than two pounds, breaks down to be compact and portable, and works with just about any flat surface.

StandStand has already been funded and is no longer available on Kickstarter. However, you can purchase a birch StandStand directly from the company website for $69.


2. The Level

TheLevel

The downside to standing behind a desk all day is, well, the standing part. It takes time to get used to standing over sitting. It can put stress on your joints and even make you feel fatigued after a few hours. While I use an anti-fatigue mat, there are certainly alternatives, like The Level.

Currently being crowdfunded on Indiegogo, The Level is a deck – not unlike a balance board – which allows you to stay in motion while you work. Simply place it on the floor in front of where you’re working, step on it, and “flow” as the company calls it.

The Level is nearly 300 percent funded at the time of this writing and you can get a Level to call your own for $289.


3. Bluesmart

Bluesmart suitcase

I covered Bluesmart in our 15 Awesomely Productive Products to Ask for This Christmas piece back in December. From the outside, it simply looks like luggage from Tron. On the inside, it’s so much more – a carry-on bag with a built-in smartphone charger, scale, digital lock, location tracking and proximity sensor, and more. It also provides information about your travel, tracks your time in each country, and comes with compatible mobile apps, with a smartwatch app planned for the future.

It’s one of those products you’d never imagined would exist and never knew you needed, but now that id does, you wonder how you’ve successfully traveled for so long without one.

Bluesmart was successfully funded (exceeding its goal by an astounding 2,730 percent!) in December, but you can pre-order one from the Bluesmart site for $299.


4. AMPL

AMPL

If it makes sense for your luggage to be connected and smart, it also makes sense for the bag you carry everyday to be just as intelligent and connected, right? At least that’s the idea with AMPL.

In truth, AMPL isn’t quit as intelligent as Bluesmart. It doesn’t offer quite as much connectivity, but its sole purpose is to keep your gadgets charged and allow you to monitor how everything is charging. You have quick access to six USB ports for charging and can even charge your laptop with the 55Wh LaptopBoost SmartBattery.

You can choose as little as 18.5Wh or as much as 147Wh for some of the most elaborate charging options in a bag I’ve ever seen. AMPL starts for $249 on Indiegogo, but can quickly jump up to $399 for additional charging options.


5. Qmote

Qmote

Accessories meant to get a little extra functionality out of your smartphone are a dime a dozen nowadays. Add-on lenses to improve the camera, wearables for tracking your health and every move, and battery packs are both increasingly popular and abundant.

Devices that attempt to add an extra physical (or shortcut) button to your device are increasingly common. I backed the Pressy campaign back when it was on Kickstarter. Pressy is simply add-on button that fits into any ol’ headphone jack to create a hardware shortcut for any Android device.

It worked decently well, but Qmote – a wireless version of practically the same thing – seems far more promising and functional. It operates through Bluetooth (and doesn’t block your headphone port), is completely wireless, and is fully integrated with IFTTT. Through your smartphone, it can control the connected lights and outlets in your house, work as a remote shutter button, control music, and much more, all through button press combinations (just like Pressy). What remains to be see is if the same latency which exists in Pressy is still present.

Qmote looks interesting nonetheless, especially considering you can snag one for yourself through Indiegogo for as little as $15. You can also get a free Qmote just for referring other people!


6. ChargeTech

ChargeTech

As smartphone manufacturers continue to pump more features and technology into ever-thinner phones, rapid charging solutions are becoming more popular. Manufacturers like Motorola and Oppo have come out with their own solutions, like Turbo Charge and VOOC Rapid Charge, respectively.

However, third-party solutions also exist. ChargeTech, currently being funded on Indiegogo, is one of those options. Unlike the standard iPhone charger, which operates at 1.0A/5W, the ChargeTech power block offers two 2.4A ports at 12.5W. ChargeTech also comes in a 12v option for in-car charging.

At 1.4-inches, the power block is compact and has folding prongs for extra portability. Either ChargeTech charger can be pre-ordered on Indiegogo for $19 or a pick of two for $35.


7. Lifepower A2

LifepowerA2

If the standard portable battery pack simply doesn’t cut it for you, Lifepower A2 might be just what you’ve been looking for. Lifepower A2 is a source for AC power on the go.

The Lifepower A2 will fully charge a MacBook Pro or other standard laptops at least one time and offers up to 10 full charges on your average smartphone. It delivers up to 120W, meaning you can easily power multiple devices at once.

Lifepower A2 is available on Indiegogo starting at $249, and you can add a solar adapter for $159 to be completely power-independent.


8. iPocket Drive

iPocketDrive

As media storage requirements expand, most smartphone and tablet capacities haven’t. Today, not including cloud storage, there are several options for adding storage to your devices. MicroUSB SD card adapters and on the go (OTG) cables make adding storage to your Android device quite simple.

But what about iOS devices? iPocket Drive is one of the few options for iPhone and iPad users. With a Lighting adapter, iPocket Drive plugs straight into your iPhone or iPad. The opposite side has a full-sized USB adapter, which can be used to charge your device or simply access as a storage drive.

iPocket Drive was successfully funded just yesterday, so you’ll have to wait until these are publicly available to pick one up for yourself.


9. OctoFire

OctoFire

If charging multiple devices while also accessing their storage is something you’ve been looking for, OctoFire is most likely your dream come true. It’s an 8-port USB hub with in-built rapid charging (2.4A and 12W per port).

That means you can simultaneously any combination of eight smartphones, tablets, or other USB-powered devices. Meanwhile, you can also access those devices from your computer to transfer or rip media. What’s more is those are all USB 3.0 ports, so you can transfer up to 5Gbps. Best of all, it still works as an 8-port USB hub when not connected to AC power.

Starting at $66, you can back OctoFire on Kickstarter. That pledge level also includes eight USB cables.


10. KiiTAG 2

KiiTAG2

KiiTAG 2 is like a Qmote on steroids. It’s called the “Digital Swiss Knife for Android,” since it will help locate your phone, operates as a power bank, external storage, LED flash light, camera shutter, and more.

KiiTAG 2 also comes with a shortcut functionality to activate a fake call, send an SMS, voice record, and more.

For $40, you can snag an 8GB KiiTag 2 on Kickstarter.


11. AVIADOR

AVIADOR

AVIADOR is an insanely smart wallet. Yes, a wallet. It comes with a Bluetooth tracker so you can locate your wallet, or to notify you if you’re leaving your wallet behind. You can also locate your phone if you have AVIADOR on hand, and you will get alerts for when your wallet is being opened on your phone.

AVIADOR also has an NFC chip on board to either allow you to pay quickly at NFC-enabled locations or to act as an access key to your office. It has a slot for flash storage and, most importantly, a panic button. If you’re getting mugged, simply snap the lower right corner of AVIADOR and it will send out a silent panic so you can continue to track the wallet.

You can grab an AVIADOR for $95 on Indiegogo or upgrade to gold or silver editions for $155.


12. Personal Robot

PersonalRobot

If you’re a serious impulse buyer who is obsessed with futuristic technology, look away now.

Personal Robot is exactly what it sounds like – an artificially intelligent personal assistant which will follow you around (on wheels) and take care of mundane tasks for you. Personal Robot is capable of object, facial, and emotion recognition and comes equipped with a 3D depth camera for navigating. You can control connected devices through Personal Robot, ask for the weather and headlines, and more.

Personal Robot is battery powered and will navigate back to the charging dock when the power gets low. Seriously, this is the future, and you can get in on it for $995 – a pretty penny, for sure. But who doesn’t want a robot following them around, automatically ordering lunch, and taking care of things in the background for you? Personal Robot will even read stories to you children at night, speak recipes to you as you cook, and act as a security system for your home or office.


13. The Habit Journal

TheHabitJournal

Finally, The Habit Journal is a daily tracker to help you meet your goals by recognizing and tracking the process of good habits. How it works:

  • Choose a goal
  • Write down the daily habits that you think will help you achieve that goal
  • Plug those habits into your daily tracker pages
  • At the end of each day, take 5 minutes to reflect on how you did
  • Reflect at the end of each week and repeat until the month end

The Habit Journal comes with yearly, monthly, and weekly goal plans, a daily tracker, a weekly to-do section, weekly notes and ideas section, and a daily gratitude section. It’s made of acid-free paper, date-free pages, and a page marker ribbon. It’s an A5 size and comes with a soft-touch cover.

For £15, you can grab a Habit Journal of your own on Kickstarter, or opt for two, three, or four journals for £28, £42, and £56, respectively.

Have some awesome products which are being crowdfunded you think we should check out? Be sure to tell us about them in the comments below!


This article originally appeared on the ToDoist Blog. Check out these other great articles:

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