You may have a great idea for a gadget, but don't have the cash to produce it and that's where crowdfunding can help. Here are six great gizmos that relied on raising money this way.
A right carry on
Bluesmart Carry-On, £349.99, from www.selfridges.com
After a long flight, there's nothing quite as irritating as finding yourself alone next to the empty luggage carousel and realising your suitcase did not travel with you. That's where this smart luggage comes into play. It has a Bluetooth tracker embedded in it, so, when paired up with the app, you can discover exactly where your lost suitcase is. On top of that, it has a built-in scale, can charge up your devices via USB and has an automatic lock - which will set when you step away from it. You'll even be notified if you accidentally leave your case somewhere. It may be an all-singing-all-dancing suitcase, but the Silicon Valley-based team behind it still required the help of more than 8,500 backers from across 109 countries to raise the funds required to get the techie traveller off the ground. Together, $2.2m was raised - far exceeding their goal of $50,000. Now, this luggage and app combo looks set to be a big hit for frequent fliers.
Tile (Gen 2), £19.99,
This little plastic square can really get you out of a pickle. Connect it to the corresponding app and attach it to the item you're always losing - perhaps your car keys - then, when you can't find them, the app will direct you to their location. It also works the other way - so if you can't find your phone, tap the tile and your phone will ring - even if it's on silent. Where the Tile really comes alive is through the user hub. If your cherished possessions are further away than your Bluetooth range, log into the website and click that the item is lost. Then, if someone else with a Tile is near it, you'll receive a notification stating where it is (all done anonymously). Given how practical the Tile is, backers jumped at the chance to help fund the device. The target was $20,000, but in the end $2.6m was raised.
CodeBug, £15, from
Proving crowdfunding isn't always about raising millions, the Brit team behind CodeBug, raised £18,836 on Kickstarter which helped bring their project to life. So, what did the 756 backers like about the product? Well, the programmable nano-board not only sees both adults and children engage with technology - by allowing you to code - it also functions as wearable tech. Use it as a sports tracker or connect it to your social networking profiles to be alerted to notifications, or simply use it as a piece of techie-jewellery. A fun little gizmo filled to the brim with potential projects.
Skulpt Aim, £149.99,
Whether you're a confirmed gym-obsessive or just getting started on your road to healthier living, there are many gadgets out there that can help. This one, launched on crowdfunding site Indiegogo, looked so enticing, 3,104 backers helped raise $438,639 to get it up and running (pun intended). Create fitness goals, then use the device not only to see if you're reaching them, but also to analyse whether you're losing fat and increasing muscle. Spray the sensors with the water bottle (included) and pop it on the area of your body you want to test. It will send small electrical currents to check both the quality of your muscle and your fat percentage.
LIFX Colour 1000 Smart Bulb With Built-in Wi-Fi, £59.99, from www.currys.co.uk
The company behind this Wi-Fi enabled gadget really did have a light bulb moment when they decided to put their invention on Kickstarter in 2013, managing to raise $1,314,542 via 9,236 backers. A few years later and LIFX are onto their fourth lighting product - the A19 Colour 1000. This bulb does far more than just light up your room in a regular golden glow. For a start, if you use the app, there are millions (yes really) of colours to choose from, and you can set schedules to turn your light on and off. This means it can be used to help keep your home secure as you can set it to switch on at different times of the day. You can even set 'scenes', so if you've found the perfect colour to watch a film with - programme it into your app so you can jump straight to it in future.
Pebble Time Smartwatch
for Smartphone, £93.78, from www.amazon.co.uk
An affordable, lightweight smartwatch that comes with great battery life and an easy to use interface? It's no wonder 78,471 people pledged $20,338,986 on Kickstarter - breaking records on the site in the process - so Pebble Time could go into production. It wasn't the first time the American company Pebble Technology Corporation benefited from crowdfunding. In 2012, their first-generation smartwatch received $10m in backing. The watch is clearly a hit with consumers, who love the number of apps available, and, most importantly, that it works with both Apple and Android phones. It's comfy to wear, and will appeal to those who want the benefits of modern technology without the constant disruptions they can bring.