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Imogen Heap's magical music gloves make for handmade beats

Grammy-winning British artist Imogen Heap says she's always been a bit frustrated by not being able to navigate computers and mixing boards with the same fluidity other musicians can play more traditional instruments. To solve this, she's "joined forces with the nerd underworld, creating musical gloves using new sensor technology allowing me to compose and perform music with computers in an intuitive way."

We first reported on the gloves back in 2011 when Heap debuted them at a TED conference. Now, the artist and her team of engineers and scientists are seeking funding for their "Mi.Mu gloves" through a Kickstarter campaign seeking to raise £200,000 (about $330,000 USD) to bring the technology to the masses. … Read more

Prepare Barbie for battle with 3D-printed armor

Barbie can be anything -- an astronaut, doctor, Air Force pilot, rock star, police officer, computer engineer -- so why not a warrior? That's exactly what 3D designer Jim Rodda, known as Zheng3 in the hobbyist 3D-printing community, envisioned when he started a Kickstarter campaign to create Barbie-compatible 3D-printed medieval armor.

It started because Rodda's 4-year-old niece has a birthday coming up and he wanted to design and print a unique gift for her.

"The original plan was to make My Little Pony-compatible glitter cannons, but the engineering turned out to be beyond what I could handle in a reasonable amount of time," Rodda told Crave. "So I back-burnered that idea, but was still interested in making accessories for toys she already had. I've been playing Dungeons and Dragons since forever, so my design thinking often goes towards fantasy medieval themes. From there it's a short mental hop to armor for Barbie dolls." … Read more

Tidy Dog: Smart toy bin trains pups to pick up

For most humans, having a clean house is its own reward. Dogs, however, need some convincing. The Tidy Dog toy box on Kickstarter wants to help train your pooch to pick up its toys, a feat that many children have yet to master. The bin works on a tasty treat reward system, which is a form of currency dogs understand well.

The Tidy Dog looks simple on the surface, but it actually contains sensors that detect the weight of a toy when it is placed in the bin. In exchange, the box dispenses a treat.… Read more

The 404 1,447: Where we put on our party hats (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Seven people around the world collectively possess a set of keys that can dismantle the Web.

- Turn your Instagram pics into real photos with the Lifeprint.

- Skirmos system levels up laser tag with open-source Arduino microcomputer.

- Almost time to panic: 95 percent of the ATMs in the world run on Windows XP.… Read more

I backed 'Veronica Mars,' but DRM is hobbling my reward

When I heard the "Veronica Mars" movie was up on Kickstarter, I ran over to the crowdfunding site and elatedly flung my $35 pledge at the project. Along with 91,584 other people, I helped raise $5.7 million to fund the film. This past Friday, it was officially released into theaters. My town of Albuquerque, N.M., however, was not on the theater list. But, never fear, my pledge included a digital copy of the film.

My official Kickstarter email arrived, with a link to a Digital Ultraviolet version of the film, accessed through the Flixter streaming video service. Cool. So, I went through the sign-up, got a Flixster and Digital Ultraviolet account, and settled in to watch it stream. It started to load. Then, it stopped.… Read more

Neil Young's PonoMusic hits $2M on Kickstarter in one day

Well, that didn't take long. Less than 24 hours after legendary rocker Neil Young launched a Kickstarter page for his long-talked-about Pono music service, the campaign surpassed its goal of $800,000.

As of this writing, the PonoMusic Kickstarter campaign has more than $2 million in pledges from more than 6,200 backers.

One of the reasons this Kickstarter campaign blew through the roof is that music fans and sound aficionados are eagerly looking to get their hands on the Pono music player, or PonoPlayer. The player has been in development for years and will use the Free Lossless … Read more

The 404 1,443: Where we're taking the couch by storm (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Neil Young just destroyed his funding goals for a digital music player on Kickstarter.

- Meet the people making new games for Atari, Super NES, and Virtual Boy.

- Funny or Die was Healthcare.gov's No. 1 traffic referrer yesterday.

- Bill O'Reilly bites back at Obama's appearance on "Between Two Ferns."… Read more

After Guidelight, night-lights may never be the same again

Plug-in night-lights have rarely been lauded for the beauty of their design. They are usually utilitarian-looking gadgets or over-the-top silly gizmos with Disney princesses on them.

The SnapRays Guidelight on Kickstarter takes a very different approach. It replaces the cover plate on an electric outlet, but adds three down-facing LEDs. It requires no batteries or wiring to install.

The Guidelight has a light sensor, so it only turns on when it's dark. It comes in two different styles to fit most outlets, though it doesn't work with outlets that have GFI buttons. Snap Power estimates that it costs less than 10 cents per year to run each Guidelight, and that the LEDs should last up to 25 years.… Read more

Mini Museum puts skulls, gold, London Bridge in your pocket

You don't have to be a globe-trotting explorer to obtain a fragment of the oldest matter ever collected (C. 4,568,200,000 years old), an insect in amber (C. 3,430,000,000 years old), or even an ancient mummy wrap (C. 350 BCE). There's no need to trek across the desert to an archeological dig in hopes of laying your hands on a triceratops' brow horn, or a T. rex tooth.

Thanks to collector Hans Fex, avid natural history fans can be curators of their own Mini Museum via his successfully funded Kickstarter campaign. These portable collections of fossils, bones, lunar rocks, and pieces of history are painstakingly assembled by Fex who broke these covetable specimens into smaller pieces, then embedded them in resin. The Mini Museums are handcrafted, individually numbered, and extremely limited.… Read more

Kickstarter pledges surpass $1 billion; half pledged in last 12 months

Crowdfunding giant Kickstarter has reached a new milestone.

Total Kickstarter pledges have surpassed $1 billion, the company announced Monday. The total came from 5.7 million donors, and half of the sum was pledged in the last 12 months alone. In Kickstarter's first month in April 2009, its users raised nearly $3,900.

Kickstarter, along with competitor Indiegogo, have become funding places of choice for inventors, entrepreneurs, and anyone who has an idea they'd like to make a reality. So far, Kickstarter has cemented itself as the leader in crowdfunding.

In addition to announcing its milestone, Kickstarter said … Read more