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Crowdfunded Project News: This week on Kickstarter and Indiegogo

Every week, TUAW provides readers with an update on what new or significant crowdfunded Apple-related projects are in the news. While our policy is to not go into detail on items that haven't reached at least 80 percent of their funding goal, this update is designed to give readers a heads-up on projects they might find interesting enough to back.

From Kickstarter:

  • The iMac. It's now incredibly thin, it's sexy, it's fast and it has a big display. But it's also missing a convenient USB port on the front of the device. For a lot of iMac owners (myself included), that means that if you don't want to reach around to the back of your device every time you need to plug in or unplug a USB device, you have to have a big USB hub sitting in front of your iMac. That's where the iMacompanion from Wiplabs comes in -- it is a USB 2.0 port that sits right in the front of the base of your iMac. Using an extremely thin cable makes it possible to gain a port while losing the typical round cable. This project was featured at Macworld/iWorld 2014 and is well past its funding goal, but it's definitely worth a look. And if they get enough funding and can figure out a way to do it, they may try to make it a USB 3.0 port as a stretch goal.

  • Apple's charger for the MacBook line has an ingenious design, with little "wings" that pop out that you can wrap the thin cable around. There's only one problem -- that design tends to put a lot of stress on the cable and it's not uncommon for the cable to fray or break. Juiceboxx is a really smart idea that slides over the stock Apple charger and reduces the stress on the cable so it shouldn't fall apart. Available in November of 2014 if the Kickstarter project gets enough backing, Juiceboxx comes in a variety of translucent colors that hearken back to the days of the original iMac. With three weeks to go, Juiceboxx is 30 percent of the way towards its $25,000 goal. (A hat tip to our buddy Hal Sherman for pointing out this project).

  • And now, for the iPhoneographers in the audience -- Lensbaby has developed a Creative Focus Lens for the iPhone and is successfully raising funds to get it into production. At 157 percent of goal with a little over three weeks to go, the Creative Focus Lens will be ready for your iPhone by August along with a companion app.

  • Another project for iPhoneographers is COVR Photo, an iPhone case with a built-in prism lens. What does that let you do? Well, take photos of people without them thinking you're taking their picture. You'll hold your iPhone flat, as if you're looking a map or something, and can take good candid shots. The project is spearheaded by professional photographer Thomas Hurst and is at about 40 percent of funding with almost a month to go in the campaign.

  • What does a walking stick have to do with Apple-related crowdfunded projects? Well, when that walking stick has a screw mount for holding something like a Glif on the end of it, that's pretty cool. When it has a specially designed notch for holding an iPhone for photography, that's very impressive. The WorkingStick is the brainchild of Joe Free and is a beautiful walking staff that can be personalized as well. The project has about three weeks to go and is already at 56.7 percent of goal. You can get one for as little as $55 by backing the project soon.

  • So why am I writing about a pair of "smart headphones with WiFi Android player"? The STREAMZ smart headphones may run Android, but they're also going to be able to receive your streaming music from any iOS smartphone or tablet. Heck, you can even use these wireless headphones with your Mac. The project is just 15 percent funded with about three weeks to go, but if you've ever wanted to use Google Now to control your headphones, this is the time to open up your wallet and back the project.

And one from Indiegogo this week:

  • Yes, it's another "smart tag" project. This one is apparently funded! Duet works with a companion app to help you find your belongings, and can also be used to determine when you've left your iPhone behind.

If you're aware of any other crowdfunded Apple-related projects, be sure to let us know about them through the Tip Us button at the upper right of the TUAW home page for future listing on the site.

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