This Week in Kickstarter - Week of June 14

Published: June 17, 2015 11:00 AM /


TWiK Cover

This Week in Kickstarter, we've got a nightmarishly happy town, sail through space on the light of the sun, and a water bottle that uses Bluetooth!

The Model 01: an heirloom-grade keyboard for serious typists

A keyboard that's not what you'd expect.

The Model 01 is a unique keyboard with a butterfly shape that contorts to the shape of your hands. It is fashioned in two blocks of solid maple, with tactile mechanical keys. The keycaps are sculpted to gently guide your fingers to the right keys.

With the key layout based on your fingers, your hands will more comfortably rest without the need to twist your wrists or scrunch your shoulders. The keys light up and are customizable as well. You can also split the keyboard in half if you really want to space out your hands.

The Model 01 really looks like an innovation in the keyboard world, one that hasn't seen many innovations in a long time. Being able to comfortably maneuver it the way I want is a welcome idea, but the device hinges on their promise that I will "get used to" the strange key layout. Only trying the thing in person can prove that claim, but until then, the Model 01 is certainly a fascinating piece of tech.

We Happy Few - Welcome to Wellington Wells, you Saucy Minx

Play as the only sane person off their meds, trying to escape a town of fanatical, joyous lunatics.

We Happy Few is a procedurally generated game where you must escape your city before society collapses. To escape, you'll need to learn to conform and avoid suspicion, as well as hunt for supplies and craft weapons to protect yourself. Learn what the town approves, and what turns them violent.

We Happy Few isn't about stealth; it's about hiding in plain site. You aren't trying to avoid being seen,  you are trying to blend in with a mod of psychotics. If blending in doesn't work, you can always whip out your hand crafted weapon fight for your life. You can also take Joy, the medication everyone is on, to blend in, but risk the chance of overdosing and having to start over ... in an entirely newly generated town!

Amnesia has mostly been used as a narrative crutch in gaming, but here it is generously used as a game over screen. Redoing the town every time you OD as a way to simulate amnesia is a wonderfully intelligent idea, and I'd love to take a tour through this creepily happy Twilight-Zone episode of a town to see what's in store.

LightSail: A Revolutionary Solar Sailing Spacecraft

Unlimited free energy, made by the man himself: Bill Nye

The LightSail Project is spearheaded by the Planetary Society and it's CEO, the energetic Bill Nye. The plan is to use the momentum generated by photons that exist in the light from the sun. If that made no sense please watch the video, as Bill Nye explains it far better than I can. Basically it's that thing Count Dooku has on his spaceship at the end of Attack of the Clones.

Unlike with NASA, which is funded through taxes and has decisions made for it, the Planetary Society bows to no government and can take it's fancy Light Sail wherever it wants. The plan is to get a Sail up and flying through space in 2016, and each donator can hold a part in that momentous day.

Space exploration is something everyone is fascinated by, yes including you, even if you think you aren't, trust me you are. Exploring the vast eons outward in all directions is something humans were always destined for, and the sooner we get this accomplished, the sooner I get my spaceship. In all seriousness, the sheer unthinkable mountain of data this could bring to the scientific community could be applied to millions of things on Earth to better our lives. Remember, the reason you have joysticks on your game controllers is because NASA invented it for the Apollo Rover (seriously! We also have LED lights, smoke detectors, and more because of space exploration.)

Ether Wars: A new dice based RTS Boardgame

An RTS video game transformed into a tabletop game.

Ether Wars is a sci-fi/fantasy board game about a conflict of races set in the stars. The game features dynamic strategies and abstract gaming that mixes cards, probability, and resource management. Players must change tactics on a moments notice in order to acquire the precious resources of Etheria.

The team strove to create a different experience with this game, incorporating elements of RTS and MOBA video games into a board game. The result is Ether Wars. The mechanics of the cars will give players the possibility of surprising their opponents and deciding strategies that can affect any and all elements of the game, including chance!

I suppose it was only a matter of time before someone tried to incorporate a MOBA game into a board game, as that genre has rapidly climbed in popularity in the last couple years. Ether Wars is certainly a bold take for a board game, and it's original set up and mechanics that can flip the game on its head could prove one hell of a ride.

Trago - The World's First Smart Water Bottle

No really, a Bluetooth water bottle!

Trago is a water bottle that accurately measures the amount of water you drink. It connects to your smart phone and other wearable devices and allows you to set and measure your hydration levels. Hydration is different for everyone, and using Trago can help you achieve your personal goal.

Optimal hydration can affect how well you work, sleep, exercise, and perform. It's the most vital part of your diet, and yet the majority of people don't get enough water. Trago can also fit on any standard wide-mouth bottle. All the tech is in the cap so you can swap it if you wish. Trago uses ultrasonic technology to measure how much water you've drank throughout the day, and tells you how much left you need.

The idea of this project alone was enough to grab my attention; the mere thought of applying this technology to a water bottle seemed rediculous! But after watching the video I was sold and really want one. Sure, tons of people will see this as B.S. stuff only rich people buy, which fair enough it totally does look like that. But as someone who tries to stay fully hydrated every day, and can be a pain to carry a water jug everywhere, having a little device keep track without me even having to measure would be a blessing.

Dragon Village TCG

An CCG of epic duels with monsters and dragons.

The goal of the game, like most games in the genre, is to win a 1-on-1 match with your monsters against the opponent. Each player chooses a tamer and a deck of 30 cards. Tamers have different play styles that can affect how the game unfolds. Once the game is set up, a virtual animation ala Yu-Gi-Oh! represents the game with adorable and colorful monsters.

Games will typically last 10-25 minutes. The game aims to require in-depth decisions and will be available on iOS, Android, PC and Mac. It is also designed to be appealing to entry level players while complex enough for the hardcore CCG crowd.

Dragon Village looks like it has potential, which is a nice way of saying I like CCG's, but I don't like Dragon Village. The gameplay looks bland and uninspired, the set-up is nothing we haven't seen done better countless times, and the "Zelda art style" appropriately seems to just imitate other games. In an effort to be like the big boys in the CCG genre, the game fails to achieve any personality or identity of it's own, attempting to be a card game for all skill levels while being interesting to presumably few.

Disclaimer: The author (Bryan Heraghty) does not back any Kickstarter projects he writes about, nor are any of these inclusions sponsoring TechRaptor. These projects are included solely because the author thinks they are interesting.

What are your thoughts on some of the Kickstarters we saw this week? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below! If you have a game or technology Kickstarter you think deserves attention, you can either comment below, email TechRaptor, or tweet @techraptr or @greyhoodedbryan your suggestion!


Have a tip, or want to point out something we missed? e-mail us at [email protected] or join us on Discord!