Amazon created Amazon Launchpad last year as a place to promote and sell only products from startups. This year they created a subsection for crowd-funded products from Kickstarter. The goal of this initiative is to boost sales and exposure for campaigns that may have seen a lull in sales after initial release. These are a few of the most innovative and creative products on the Kickstarter/Amazon market right now.
Makey Makey – An Invention Kit for Everyone
Makey Makey upgrades the wired potato science experiment from elementary school into the twenty-first century. “Turning everyday objects like bananas into touchpads,” this compact invention kit, at $49.95, turns complex programming processes into a simple plug, click, and play tool. For example, plug the kit into a piano program on the computer, clip the kit’s alligator clips onto stairsteps, and turn your staircase into a virtual keyboard. That s#*! Is BANANAS! With no software needed and compatibility with Mac and Windows, Makey Makey is open to use for literally anyone.
Listed under the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics) section, this tiny invention kit was designed by MIT PhD’s so you know it’s legit. The team’s goal was to create a simple product to foster creative learning and imagination. Anything with at least a little electrical power can be used to work with Makey Makey, like pencils, fruits, aluminum, and even ketchup to name a few. So educators listen up: ditch the ‘ol potato and opt for one of these tiny gadgets.
The Dash – Wireless Smart Headphones
I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty tired of accidentally pulling my headphone cord while on the elliptical and then watching my life flash before my eyes as my phone drops to the floor. Tech company Bragi has designed The Dash to solve this problem and more. Starting at $299.00, the world’s first wireless smart headphones come with 3 features in 1- listen to music without attachments to a device, track physical activity, and answer calls with a single touch.The headphones hold up to 4GB of music with the option of streaming audio from your phone. Tap and swipe to adjust volume, audio tracks, activity tracker, and answer phone calls. Track activity like heart rate, steps, distance, breaths, etc. The headphones are waterproof as well, so dive on in with your favorite playlist. Answer calls through settings on the Dash app and adjust profile settings to customize your preferences and check progress. The headphones hold three hours of battery life and come with a portable charging case usable up to 5 times on the go.
Designed and invented by Nikolaj Hviid, the headphones were inspired by his sister who died from multiple sclerosis. He described her as a happy person who tried to make the best out of every day. With that attitude in mind, he aimed to create a product that acts as an intimate personal assistant that doesn’t take attention away from what you are doing. Cue the wireless headphones.
In a world of instant gratification, we can now print photos directly from our phones using Prynt. Attach the Prynt case to your phone, click the shutter button to take a photo, and bam, your photo is printed out seconds after. But what’s really special about Prynt is that it automatically captures a short video and saves it inside the photo so you can view the moment later in greater length. Friends can later hold their camera over the printed photo using the app to view the hidden video. Add filters, text, and more edits on the app before printing. Prynt uses ZINK paper for printing instead of smudge-prone ink cartridges. The case is interchangeable to fit most phone sizes, including iPhone and Samsung.
Prynt was founded in 2014 by Clémont Perrot and David Zhang in Paris, France. The former engineers birthed the idea during their last semester of college with the need to create something tangible with something digital. And from this they developed a Polaroid smartphone-like case that
effortlessly integrates with phones.
Kano Computer Kit
Build your very own mini computer at home with Kano Computer Kit. At $149.99 this simple-step computer is no longer just for the pros to create. A kindergartener or a small town’s above 100-year-old resident can even build it as it is rated for ages 6-106. It’s got everything you need- a Raspberry Pi 3, case, speaker, wireless keyboard, memory, HDMI, power cables, coding challenges and even little character stickers for decoration. Simply connect to any HDMI screen and you’ve got a functioning computer equipped to code art, music, apps, games, etc.
Smart guitars are here and they’re tiny. Zivix Jamstik are wireless (Bluetooth) digital guitars with real strings and frets synced with teaching apps to learn guitar on-the-go, from anywhere, with no previous experience needed. At $299.99, Jamstik guitars are enabled to detect player’s finger placements through sensor detectors, which is then translated to the app giving you instant feedback. It’s compatible with iPhone, iPad, Mac and certain Android M devices, and you can play it with other apps to create and record an entire song. An all-in-one wireless band machine.
The Zivix team is based in Minneapolis, MN cranking out products from professional musicians to people who just want to play around with different musical tools. The Jamstik came from the guitar rhythm game peak in the late 2000s and the boom of mobile devices, and together made a portable smart guitar.
Some products, most prominently Kano, have found success in online retail stores like Toys “R” Us and Barnes & Noble. The demand for startup company products is not slowing down, especially with the addition of Kickstarter this year. Amazon reported that Launchpad now includes products from over 1,000 startups. Consumers are always looking for the next best thing, at a price they deem reasonable, and the charm of a startup company adds that extra special something for Amazon shoppers.