Visual tour: 9 exciting tech projects from Kickstarter

Crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter offer entrepreneurs new ways to realize their visions. Here are some proposals for tech gadgets from hopeful developers

9 Kickstarter projects

Crowdfunding -- the collection of funds directly from a target audience -- is enabling project creators to solicit hundreds of small donations in order to make their dreams become reality.

One of the most popular of these services is Kickstarter. We've pulled together nine examples of the kind of creative tech ideas being offered by entrepreneurs. Will any of these actually reach the market? Time will tell.

Note: We've picked these examples of some Kickstarter tech projects. We aren't endorsing any nor do we have any information on their viability.

Note: This slideshow accompanies our story Crowdfunding: The latest way to get your project funded. Click through to that story for more details about Kickstarter and crowdfunding.

Oddwerx - Autonomous Smartphone Robots

Oddwerks

OLogic wants to turn your smartphone into an autonomous robot with Oddwerx. The phone rests in a mobile platform that comes as a kit you put together. Add a cloud interface, and the phone becomes capable of remote telepresence, games, and many other applications.

The project required $66,000 in funding by April 26; it didn't make its goal.

PhoneSoap: Simultaneously Charge and Sanitize Your Phone

PhoneSoap

According to the creators of PhoneSoap, "researchers have found staph, E. Coli, and MRSA living on our cell phones." Now that you know the bacteria you're exposing yourself to, PhoneSoap can do something about it. Place your phone in the PhoneSoap box overnight and, using UV light and a USB cable, it will both decontaminate and charge your phone.

Fundraising ended on May 2; it reached the $18,000 goal.

TapCaps, the Phone-fooler

TapCaps

Using your cell phone's touch screen while keeping your hands warm usually means wearing capacitive gloves. TapCaps looks to change that by adding capacitance to your existing gloves. Just apply a small sticker of circuitry to the fingertips, and you're done.

The project needed to raise $15,000 by May 9; it has already reached its goal.

Luminance: Open Source Reactive Lighting Platform

Luminance

Luminance may not have a place in the corporate office, but it's a project brimming with possibilities. It takes standard LED lighting and adds an Arduino electronics prototyping platform and an accelerometer, creating light patterns that react to sensory input. One example given is a bicyclist who threads the lights through his jacket: They light up based on hand gestures to indicate turn signals, improving visibility to and communication with motorists.

Luminance needs $42,000 by May 25.

Compude: Your computer on your keychain

Compude

Compude is a USB dongle that connects any Windows, Mac, iOS or Android device to a cloud-based environment you have defined, giving you access to your programs and files. According to the developers, its inbuilt thumbprint scanner makes it a more secure alternative to utilities like GoToMyPC. The final device will sell for $299 plus a monthly fee for the cloud service.

The project needs to meet its $50,000 goal by May 26.

Open Source Tracking Device

Open Source Tracking Device

The generically named Open Source Tracking Device (OSTD) is an Arduino-based project by DSS Circuits meant to be attached to (or hidden in) a larger product, such as a vehicle or Xbox. The OSTD can then send and receive text messages that give its location, assisting in the recovery of stolen goods. It can even report its velocity, so you know how fast a car is moving and in what direction.

This project met its $10,000 goal before the May 27 deadline.

RadicalFlow - Let's Make Apps!

RadicalFlow

RadicalFlow is a cloud-based attempt to simplify the iOS app creation process. It uses Apple's Xcode templates while still allowing custom Objective-C. "It is not a template where you make cookie cutter apps," the description reads. "Think of it like opening Photoshop or PowerPoint with a blank slate ready for your creative input."

RadicalFlow has until May 26 to raise $75,000.

rails.app

Rails.app

It was once easy to get started with the Ruby programming language, says Yehuda Katz, but years of sophistication have raised the barrier to entry to Ruby on Rails. "The Rails ecosystem desperately needs to get back to basics and make the experience of starting fresh exciting again," says Katz. His rails.app will install Rails in OS X and open a Terminal window into a working Rails environment, with additional utilities for long-term development.

The project has met its goal of $25,000 and will continue fundraising until May 12.

Wish Pictures -Virtual Holodeck on Skype built by FX masters

Wish Pictures

Wish Pictures billed itself as a realization of the Star Trek holodeck, a virtual environment that provides full sensory interaction. Yet the reality was much less ambitious: Wish Pictures wanted to replace the background in your Skype video chats with virtual ones -- a feature already available in programs such as iChat and FaceTime. Wish Pictures' effects were more elaborate and also interactive, but no more real.

On April 27, it withdrew its goal of $150,000 by May 4.