Our weekly column delves into the world of crowdfunding to look at interesting projects you can backon sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo. This is because some of the most exciting new devices, such as the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset or the Pebble smartwatch, got their start thanks to crowdfunding, instead of being made by huge corporations.
Of course, not everything worth backing needs to be a gamechanger - some can be simple, quirky fun as well. And when backing a crowdfunded project, it's important to remember that there can often be a lot of issues that can lead to delays, changes in the product, or even complete failures - you have to remember that backing a project is not the same as pre-ordering at retailers.
Despite the risks, we still like the idea of crowdfunding, and one of the most fun projects we came across this week is the Flic wireless smart button, which went up on Indiegogo on Tuesday, and has already met its funding goals.
The Flic is a small button that connects to your phone using Bluetooth, and it can be used to activate a single, programmable function on your phone - a camera remote, launching navigation, a controller for the smart home. The idea is that if your phone can do it, the Flic should be able to do it for you.
Now, this kind of feature has become a part of some Bluetooth proximity tags already - but the way that the Flic is designed to be used is a little different, and highly versatile. It's designed so that you can stick it to your wall, or your car's dashboard, but still be easy to peel off if you want to move it to another location. So you could, for example, keep the Flic in your pocket and use it to take pictures, or play your music at the touch of a button.
Or you could keep it in your car, so that a single tap launches navigation to your home. Or keep it near your door - tap a button to trigger the alarm, so you can easily find your phone. But what's coolest about the Flic is that it doesn't just pair with your iPhone or Android phone, or apps like Tasker - it can also connect to a lot of smart devices, such as Philips Hue lights or Belkin Wemo switches. You can see more about the Flic in the video below:
The Flic had a target of $80,000 (just under Rs. 50 lakh), and it met this in just a few hours. The project is still accepting funding for 46 days, up till January 3, 2015. You can get one Flic by backing the project for $23 (approximately Rs. 1,420), and $5 for global shipping (approximately Rs. 310). You could also back it for $99 (approximately Rs. 6,125) to get six buttons, plus $10 in shipping (approximately Rs. 620). The estimated delivery date for the project is March 2015.
To see other interesting products from the world of crowdfunding, click here.