In our weekly look at crowdfunding projects, we are trying to highlight the most interesting new innovations that you can be a part of. After all, the Pebble smartwatch and thee Oculus Rift virtual reality headset didn't come from any big company, and we're watching out for what could be the next big thing.
Take, for example, the Sherlybox - this project wants to make it easy for anyone to set up a private cloud network. What we loved about the idea is how simple it looks to set up and to use. It helps that the design is also simple yet appealing - it looks like something you would be happy to see on your desk. There are other similar gadgets, including the Kickstarter funded Transporter, but we liked the Sherlybox because it has a few extra features that are really cool.
The device was created by the Sher.ly team, which makes a private cloud application you can install on your computer, to share files with friends and family without distributing copies of your data, the way Dropbox and other sevices do.
To do this, the team had developed a Gateless VPN technology, which doesn't require central servers to provide secure communications. This same technology is used with the Sherlybox, to connect multiple users with data stored on the "box". Backers can either take a box with a hard disk slot (for a $149 pledge) or a 1TB hard drive built in, for $199.
Of course, the initial cost of using something like this is much higher than going with a public cloud service, but since you own the hardware, the amount of storage you get is not limited - you could swap out the hard drive and replace it with a higher capacity one if you want.
What really sets the Sherlybox apart from a NAS solution is that setting up is a one-button operation. The box supports WiFi, and uses that to qickly pair with devices. This is a multi-device cloud solution that is secure, fast and best of all, easy to use.
Plugins in the app also let you connect your public cloud accounts, such as Dropbox and Google Drive. The local folders for those accounts are also saved on your Sherlybox, so you can easily move files between the public and private cloud.
And last, but not least, the system comes with HDMI and USB 2.0 outputs, and uses the XBMC supported by RaspberryPI platform, so you can plug in more storage, and connect the box to your television to use it as a media center as well!
See the full Kickstarter video below:
To see our other picks from crowdfunded projects, click here.