SANTA CLARA, Calif. — If you’re wearing a Pebble, you may know that your smartchwatch got a serious leg up -- or a kickstart. Tech projects make up 25% of the projects on crowdfunding site Kickstarter, and the trend is gaining steam, officials from Kickstarter and ARM said at ARM Tech Con.
At the time, Pebble was Kickstarter’s best-funded campaign at $10 million, and tech and design-focused products continue to make up 30% of all money pledged. Supporters have more than a fleeting interest in the technology, Kickstarter’s Nick Yulman told EE Times.
“I think Kickstarter is a great way to build a community of developers. A lot of hardware developers and people who enjoy working with these kind of developer boards congregate around Kickstarter looking for the next thing they can build something with,” said Yulman, Kickstarter’s technology and design community manager.
Many Kickstarter users are building ARM-based developer platforms such as MetaWear, a chip for embedding in wearables. Some are developing prototyping tools like Bot Factory’s Squink, a rapid circuit board printer. Yulman said the creation of tools to create future products is particularly exciting.
“I think the nature of design communities around embedded are going to get interesting, because as these abstraction layers with APIs are raised, and as Internet connectivity becomes more of a feature of these devices, people are looking at problems from a system level and maybe from a product perspective rather than just simply embedded programming,” ARM Embedded strategist Dominic Pajak said. “I think the communities are going to form now, and I think Kickstarter is an example of that community spreading out.”
ARM may be the choice for prototypers because of the wide range of low-cost devices the company provides. Pajak said the availability of ARM-based Raspberry Pis and Arduino Zero boards makes the chips attractive for a variety of use cases.
“The spectrum of end products [in the Internet of Things] needs a spectrum of devices that are going to do the job,” Pajak noted. “The IoT is all different shapes and sizes of end devices.”
Kickstarter is also working to form partnerships with larger manufacturers to facilitate the production needs of users. More and more Kickstarter creators want to go beyond protoyping, said Yulman, and those people need resources for scaling up production.
Yulman and Pajak suggested that potential creators focus on creating a hands-on demo for their Kickstarter pages rather than an ultra-slick video. Those creators should also count on bringing in their own communities for the initial round of fundraising.
— Jessica Lipsky, Associate Editor, EE Times