Our Kickstarter Industrial Design Picks for Week 21

Design Sojourn was originally conceptualized to live on the confluence of the Internet and Industrial Design. As such, one of the biggest shakers to bubble up from this confluence is the crowd-funding platform Kickstarter. Kickstarter is changing the way we design and make things. I’ll even go as far as to say that even the definition of Designer is changing.
From today, we will be running a weekly column to help this new movement grow by sharing our picks of the plethora of great ideas and good industrial design worth considering.
We rate these projects under the following five criteria:
1) Idea novelty,
2) Design quality,
3) Value for money,
4) Feasibility for manufacture and delivery, and
5) Contains an X-factor (i.e. solves an important problem, saves the earth, super awesome design etc.).
If a project gets selected you can be assured that it contains all 5 of these criteria. If you are running a crowd funding program on Kickstarter or any other platform and is interested to be considered on Design Sojourn, please drop us a message on our contact page.

HICKIES Turn your Shoes into Slip-ons.

THAT’S WHY WE’VE CREATED HICKIES® – A ground-breaking lacing system that replaces traditional shoelaces and lets you easily slip in and out of your shoes while keeping them snug and secure. Never tie or untie your shoes again! Get rid of the bows and customize your footwear.

Laces are a necessary evil. The sneaker purist may disagree, but I believe most people hate them. I remember one of the things teenagers do is to lace up a shoe so that it is loose enough to slip in but tight enough so that it won’t fall off their foot. Getting the tension right was a skill, and Hickies made this skill obsolete. But seriously folks, these Hickies, designed by husband and wife team Mariquel & Gaston, is going to be a big hit.
Back the project here.

Scanbox Turns your Mobile phone into a portable scanner.

Scanbox is an easy to use, affordable and unbelievably portable scanning box that uses your smartphone’s camera to take amazing high quality scans. It’s easy to set up and packs down flat to easily fit into your bag or brief case.

This idea is perfect for getting quick document scans on the go (i.e. concept sketches on the beach anyone?). Having a fixed position means it should get rid of the perspective error on the document edges. Designed by Phil Bosua, Ben Hillier and Luke Allen from Melbourne Australia.
Back the project here.

MaKey MaKey: An Invention Kit for Everyone.

MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything inbetween. It comes ready to use out of the box with everything you see above: MaKey MaKey, Alligator Clips, USB Cable.

This project brings back memories of those electronic hobby kits you could find at your neighborhood hardware or electronics store. These days the creative development that comes from working with your hands seems lacking in schools. So I’ll support any project that encourages handwork, especially when it is so easy to use and requires no programming. Makey Makey is by Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, both final-year PhD students at the MIT Media Lab.
Back the project here.

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Disclaimer:
1) Design Sojourn is not affiliated, related or sponsored by any of the projects selected here.
2) While there are plans for this to be a weekly column, we will only publish our picks if there are any that we think are suitable. We may go for weeks without publishing any.

2 Comments
  • john

    May 24, 2012 at 8:34 am Reply

    Hi,
    I really would like to know the exact criteria for the each of the 5 poins you listed. I find them very broad and personaly i find point 2 and 4 petty much the same cos good design means that it is feasable to manufacture, or not…, thus “good design” is too broad. Also, point 3 is a very tricky criteria to rate an idea/product, cos this will really depend on what the product does vs cost and this will depend really on the target users, but i think that the exact marketing mix is not set at this point, its hard to say how user/consumers will perceive a product…
    saying that… looking at criteria 5 – well, do you really think that “hickies” are solving a real problem ( and be honest now) it might be a novel idea and it might be a “super awesome deisgn” but a super awesome design can also be very not good for the “earth” at the same time… plastic vs cotton or whatever…so how how do you balance this?…
    getting design expert feedback is good and assures a company that it does good design but does good design always means market success? That would mean that all products that win a “red dot” are a market success or what?… thus why would i ask you to rate my product idea, cos you have the experience with/in design?, you won some red dot awards…
    anyway… Hickies is an interesting product, but it will be a commodity product in blink of an eye…but then again, its all about how i look when i walk down the street `…) (markets driven my lifestyle and symbols are always all about aesthetic design thus NEVER innovative!!!)

    • Brian (Design Sojourn)

      May 25, 2012 at 1:00 am Reply

      @John: Thank you very much for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.
      For point 2 and 4 they are vastly different. Point 2 is about Design Quality, in that I consider elements in how finished or resolved a design is, its proportions and its form. Point 4 focuses on feasibility which is about manufacture-ability and the possibility for go-to-market. It’s true depending on your definition of design that both could be the same. But I consider that if you have point 2 without point 4 you get a cool concept design, such as the ones you find on Yanko Design, instead of a finished product.
      Your comment about point 3 – Value for money is valid. However, I look at it at a more basic level. When you consider the overall project’s value proposition, would customers find what they get worth the money they put in.

      looking at criteria 5 – well, do you really think that “hickies” are solving a real problem ( and be honest now) it might be a novel idea and it might be a “super awesome deisgn” but a super awesome design can also be very not good for the “earth” at the same time… plastic vs cotton or whatever…so how how do you balance this?…

      If we look at Hickies, its not going to be Penicillin or the Gas engine or the Internet. It does one simple thing, and that is doing away with lacing your shoes, or walking with arms full of boxes and your laces untied. I think that’s dangerous. But if we take a step back, in reality none of the stuff on kickstarter “solves a real problem”. Not any of the hundreds of iProduct cases or cradles etc.

      getting design expert feedback is good and assures a company that it does good design but does good design always means market success? That would mean that all products that win a “red dot” are a market success or what?… thus why would i ask you to rate my product idea, cos you have the experience with/in design?, you won some red dot awards…

      Just to be clear, I’m not rating any products, nor am I putting down any products. I don’t want to turn this into some kind of rating exercise or be seen as a critic. I’m just highlighting what I think are interesting picks on Kickstarter in a bid to support the crowd funding movement. Oh by the way, I cover tons of other Kickstarter projects on my sister site at TDOET. I just pick the most interesting and feature them here.
      Oh you are right, winning a Red-Dot does not mean market success as there is more to market success that winning awards. I can attest to that! I have just as many Red-Dot winning designs that are market successes as there are those that are not, and just as many non-award winning products (some even hated!) that have become successful. Also I’m not saying that any of these Kickstarter projects are going to be market successes, that is beyond the scope of this article. I’m looking at just purely the quality of the project. Market success and repeatability has to do with the business capability of the designer and inventor and there is nothing on Kickstarter that gives me information on that.
      Yes Hickies will be a commodity for sure. So will everything else, some faster than others. Just take a look at your computer or LCD monitors. You know what I think is next? Your smartphone.
      Please keep in touch.

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