Kickstarter isn’t slowing down in 2012, but it has a high bar to reach in terms of matching its amazing 2011. Luckily, there are already some amazing new products that prove innovation isn’t in short supply at the crowd-funding site as we head into the new year.
A real pressure-sensitive iPad stylus
The Jaja is like the grail of iPad (s aapl) styluses. Ever since selling my beloved Wacom 12WX because it was, admittedly, too much machine for someone who only occasionally doodles for fun, I’ve been wanting to draw on my iPad with real pressure sensitivity. Pressure sensitivity is what allows digital drawing devices to accurately mimic real-life drawing and painting implements; it allows styluses and drawing tablets to know how hard you’re pressing and alters pen and brush strokes accordingly.
The iPad in its current form doesn’t have any real fine pressure sensitivity to speak of. Sure, it can tell how hard you’re hitting the keys in Garage Band, but that’s a different kind of tech, and nowhere near subtle enough for sophisticated painting applications. The Jaja has 1,024 levels of pressure sensitivity built-in to its body design (that’s a good number), as well as a speaker, two contextual buttons and a rechargeable battery.
Like the iPen we’ve covered before, it’ll do more than any other stylus out there, but unlike the iPen, it doesn’t require any additional parts. It actually uses high-frequency sound to communicate with the iPad and convey info about contextual clicks or pressure info. That feature will require that apps make use of a special Jaja SDK, but talks with potential partners to do just that are already underway.
The Jaja isn’t yet funded: it’s at just over $9,000 and has a goal of $25,000 with 25 days remaining. Were it possible for me to wish things into existence, however, this stylus would already be in my hands.
The popping and locking iPhone case
The PopSockets looks a bit ridiculous, but its two extendable protrusions aren’t just an aesthetic oddity. They help prop up your iPhone, stick it to surfaces make it easier to hold and provide a simple cable wrap solution.
Whether you think the design is garish or stylish, the PopSockets is highly customizable, will eventually come in a variety of colors and designs, and the popping elements themselves hide away almost completely when not in use. The PopSockets project is nearing its funding goal of $12,000 with 30 days remaining, so it will almost certainly become a reality. You can secure a pre-order for $25, but do yourself a favor and don’t watch creator David Barnett’s Kickstarter promo video.
Small add-on addresses major iPad flaw
I like watching movies on my iPad, but I hate having to cup my hand just right or prop it against a hard surface to try to get sound coming out of the speaker to bounce back at me. Without taking these steps, though, I often find that even at full volume it’s hard to pick out clear dialogue against background noise.
The SoundBender is a small, simple magnetic attachment that clips onto your iPad 2 and provides a backstop against which soundwaves redirect back towards you, the listener. It’s pocketable, one-piece, and even works with plenty of case designs. This project has just started, so it’s still far from its modest $4,500 goal, but a simple $15 pledge secures a pre-order.
I wish the iPad didn’t need something like this, but since it does, this small, unobtrusive solutions seems like the best possible fix.
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