My chum Jay Dowling manages to find an incredible amount of interesting “stuff” on the Internet. Every day, he sends me a cornucopia of links to general science, physics, astronomy, technology, engineering, etc. sites — whatever takes his fancy at the time (speaking of time, I don’t know how he finds enough of it). And the thing that appears to have caught Jay's fancy today is a bunch of interesting offerings on Kickstarter.
We start with a drop-dead-gorgeous cathode ray tube (CRT)-based oscilloscope clock that uses a purely analog signal to generate the circles, arcs, and lines that create the characters.
With 17 days to go at the time of this writing, this project has already reached 4X the pledges required to achieve its incredibly modest $1,000 goal. You can get a build-it-yourself kit version for $145; this includes the circuit board and components, but excludes the CRT and enclosure. Alternatively, you can pay more for a fully-assembled model in a plexiglass enclosure. I'm a bit tight on funds at the moment, but I would love to have one of these little beauties here in my office.
Next up, we have a project that would have Sheldon, Leonard, Howard, and Raj on The Big Bang Theory squealing with delight — a set of highly detailed modular saber parts that let anyone build a beautiful custom light saber with associated electronics.
This is actually a lot tastier than you might imagine. If you watch the Kickstarter video (and who amongst our number could resist), you'll see that this looks like an incredibly versatile system that supports millions of different configurations (is it just me, or is the presenter in the video a doppelganger for Wil Wheaton?). Also, they plan on offering monthly expansion packs, which could keep me busy for years to come. I'm obviously not the only one who loves this stuff because they've achieved more than 5X their original $100,000 goal, but be aware that — at the time of this writing — there are only three more days to go on this Kickstarter!
Who amongst us doesn’t drool with desire at the thought of having access to a Star Trek-style holodeck? Well, now we can — or, at least, our Barbie and Ken dolls can — with the Holus Interactive Holographic Tabletop Display.
This really does look to be rather spectacular, and I love its creators' sense of humor (the “Holo, World!” at the end made me laugh out loud). I can think of so many things I could do with something like this. The gaming and educational aspects of this device are staggering, and I'm sure that this is only a taste of things to come. This project is close to reaching 6X of its original $40,000 goal, but if you want to get in on the act you should be aware that — at the time of this writing — there are only 44 hours to go on this Kickstarter!
Last, but certainly not least, for this column, have you ever worried about the “shelf-life” of your precious data? When CDs and DVDs first came out, I optimistically thought they would last for a long, long time, but every day I hear talk of doom-and-gloom with respect to the little scamps failing (sad face). If you are concerned about your data, this final Fahrenheit 2451 Kickstarter will be of interest to you because it offers the ability to preserve your most precious memories for thousands of years using a storage medium that resists fire, water, and time.
I'm reminded of the spinning disks (“books”) in the original 1960 movie version of The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. On the one hand, the Sapphire Disks featured in this Kickstarter are limited as to the amount of data they can store. On the other hand, it might be nice to preserve photographs of yours truly for the edification and delight of generations to come. At the time of this writing, this project has reached ~$40,000 of its $48,192 goal, and there are still seven days to go.
So, out of the four Kickstarters presented above, which one most captures your interest?