If you’re the kind of person who just can’t settle unless sequencing DNA at home, listening to music on a futuristic record player, while 3D printing a dinosaur skull using your smartphone, a trio of this month’s crowdfunding picks are for you.
And the others are worth a look, too.
1) Brixo (from $35)
Lego’s pretty amazing, but it doesn’t conduct electricity and connect to your phone. Brixo does both, enabling you to construct — wires-free — all kinds of contraptions by using trigger blocks (sound, light, proximity, Bluetooth), action blocks (LEDs, motors), and connector blocks for completing circuits.
They’re fully compatible with Lego, meaning you can finally make that chunky windmill that starts flashing and rapidly whirring its blades whenever anyone ventures near, scaring the wits out of Lego detractors and making them respect the blocks.
2) THE 64 (from $150)
We’re filing this one under ‘Please be good. PLEASE BE GOOD’. It’s actually two crowdfunders in one, seeking to recreate the Commodore 64, only without the ‘Commodore’ bit in the name, presumably for licensing reasons.
You choose between keyboard or handheld versions, and although the campaign’s a bit render-tastic, the person behind it was involved with the C64DTV, which was a tiny slice of awesome. Our fingers, toes and SID chips are suitably crossed that this will be similarly excellent.
3) ATMO SFERA (from €895)
We last year had the gorgeous Floating Record to warm a vinyl fetishist’s happy place. Now, ATMO SFERA takes record player minimalism in a different direction, dispensing with the platter, and then styling what’s left in a kind of industrial retro-futurism. It looks stunning, and reportedly sounds great.
And if you’re the kind of person who wants a little bit extra, lob three grand at the crowdfunder and you’ll get four nights in Milano and a visit to the AUDIO DEVA factory.
4) Bento Lab (from £699)
It says something about the march of technology that we’re this month featuring Bento Lab, whose breezy catchphrase is “a DNA laboratory for everybody”.
This would only years ago have been an April Fools’ Day gag, but here you really can take a biological sample, extract its DNA (using a tiny centrifuge), and conduct genetic analysis. It’s not cheap, but then this is serious kit. The first person to successfully use one to bring back a T-Rex gets a free lifetime subscription to Stuff.