Game-creation, hacking your ears and alarm smells: 7 Kickstarter must-haves for June

From a digital handpan to the world’s prettiest dumbphone, here are this month’s crowdfunding cuppas awaiting a dunk of your cash cookie

It’s that time of the month where we scour crowdfunding sites, in order to unearth amazing and strange gadgets to inspire, baffle and, ultimately, relieve you of money.

Quite fortunately, Esat already wrote about the Lovely wearable sex toy, and so this list has ended up being entirely sex-free — unless you have some kind of fetish for digital handpans and smelly alarm clocks.


1. Bloxels ($50)

Pitched as a means to build your own videogames, Bloxels attempts to take this idea literally. You get a 20-by-20 grid into which coloured cubes are slotted. Take a screen grab with your device and your layout is interpreted by the app and converted into a game level. These creations can then be played or shared.

This is all reminiscent of Pixel Press’s previous effort in this space, Floors; but swapping out paper grids and fiddly pencil marks for coloured plastic cubes should minimise conversion errors, and the game prototypes look a lot better this time round. And, yes, it looks like the team’s working on some kind of Bloxels app for creating 3D models, LEGO-style. Nice.

Fund Bloxels on Kickstarter

2. Oval (from €399)

Oval looks a bit like Jony Ive was tasked with building a flying saucer that had to double up as a musical instrument. This digital handpan, though, is likely to excite fans of percussive instruments, given that it enables a tactile and organic means to play music, backed with the scope of digital.

The case is hardy, and the seven pads are velocity- and location-sensitive. The device is MIDI-compliant and so can work with apps and DAWS to trigger anything from percussive sounds to complex loops. And given that each pad has an illuminated section, Oval can be transformed into a giant-sized Simon — although a giant-sized Simon that costs four hundred bucks.

Fund Oval on Kickstarter

3. Here Active Listening (from $199)

How we rolled our eyes on seeing a photo of Here. Yet another set of wireless earbuds? Yawn. Only that’s not what this is — instead, Here wants to hack everything you listen to. It’s not about what goes into your ears from a smartphone, but what goes into your ears first, which is then manipulated by your smartphone and returned to your ears in altered form.

If you just made a face and yelled “BWUH?”, here are some real-world examples: imagine being on a plane and shutting out engine noises by twiddling around with the Here app, or watching a band and adding reverb or boosting bass. We’ll admit to being a bit sceptical about the ‘Reduce Baby’ setting, though; also, $199 only gets you Here for a single ear, which seems a bit pointless — you’ll need $359 to potentially make both ears delighted.

Fund Here Active Listening on Kickstarter 

4. EVOL (from $45)

We’ll admit that we’re in part including EVOL because of its perverse nature. It seems like the most anti-Apple Apple-compatible product imaginable, taking the minimalism of the iPhone and bolting modules on to the back of it, like some strange hybrid of Jony Ive’s dreams and also his nightmares. The end result only adds 3mm of extra thickness, though; and depending on how much you’re willing to spend, you’ll get a battery pack, flash, camera lenses, external storage, second SIM slot, and a thumb holder, so that your Frankenstein’s monster device will be more likely to stay in your hands rather than gracefully tumble towards concrete.

Fund EVOL on Kickstarter