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Crowdfunding Roundup: A bunch of dogs and one bright idea

Each week, TUAW provides readers with an update on new or significant crowdfunded Apple-related projects 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.

  • This week we're starting off with a couple of Indiegogo campaigns, the first of which is the MPortable, a wireless SSD for photographers. Well, at least it's an SSD external storage device with Wi-Fi in it, because at one point on the campaign page they show pulling photos from a camera with a cable... but that's beside the point. The idea is that you can use this to store large quantities of photos from a DSLR, then share the images over Wi-Fi using a special app. Too bad it probably won't make it to market: it's 7 percent funded with about 17 days left.

  • There's nothing to see here, let's move on. OK, how about a "smart iPad bag" called Padroo? It's smart if you think that putting a loaded backpack on the front of your chest is a good idea. At my age, I see this as nothing but a bad backache waiting to happen. Apparently others are questioning the primary design decision as well, as Padroo has no backers with 29 days left in the campaign. Back to the drawing board...

  • Now over to Kickstarter, where we'll hopefully have a few projects that are actually going somewhere... although I doubt it with this first entry, the Pocket Gamer video game controller for iPhone. It's a great idea; it's just that there are a number of similar products that are already on the market. Perhaps that's why this campaign is stuck at 3 percent of its goal with a week to go.

  • Well, that's going nowhere quickly. How about another "smart home solution"? That's a hot growth area, right? Qhome is a "next-generation smart home solution", powered by Quatanium. Huh? That's what I said, too. Anyway, despite an impressively long infographic, Qhome is 0 percent funded with 40 days to go.

  • Ooof. Well, let's try again. How about Live Lids, a baseball cap with a color LED display where the team logo normally appears? That's a fine idea if you like having a billboard strapped to your forehead. Seriously, though -- the idea is different, but how many people really want to worry about having to charge their baseball caps? Call me old-fashioned, but I'll just take a standard baseball cap that costs less than $75, even if I can't sync images and logos to it. The campaign is 9 percent funded with 40 days to go.

  • So, if you're not up for baseball caps with embedded displays, how about speakers with glowing color lights in the front? What? You say this seems like something that might have been popular with high school students in the 70's? Well, LumaPlay is actually 12 percent towards its funding goal, which is turning it into today's winner! There's still almost a month to go in this campaign, so your smartphone-controlled LED light/speaker may actually make it to market.

  • This last project is one that I find to be probably the most useful and worthy of funding: the Jolt Sensor, which is used to detect possible concussion conditions in youth athletes. It's a wearable with a mission, a tiny clip-on that can be used in a helmet or on any other headgear, providing notification when the wearer's head has been exposed to a possibly dangerous impact. The idea is that coaches and parents can keep an eye on concussions in real time. The Jolt Sensor is 21 percent funded with four weeks to go; if you have kids who play sports, you want to back this project.

Image from SCOTTeVEST website showing Scottish knockoff gear

  • Finally, let's end on a very upbeat note. Remember Noke, the Bluetooth-equipped smart padlock that I actually backed? Well, it's currently 389 percent funded with about three weeks to go, and the team is reaching for some stretch goals like a scratch-protecting shell and different colors. I can't wait to get mine early next year so I can quit having to dig for the right key for the stupid padlock I currently have on my gate.

Noke bluetooth padlock

That's it for this week. We'll be back next Thursday for another roundup of crowdfunded projects that you can support or ignore. Many thanks again to Hal Sherman for providing some tips about new and exciting projects, and 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.

Out of this week's rather sorry crop of crowdfunding projects, which one do you think you'd back? Make your pick in the following poll and then let your friends know via Twitter and/or Facebook.

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