MI Kickstarter Report: Hardware Rules List of Top 5 Projects in 2014

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also manufactured in the U.S. using mostly Michigan suppliers.

The project came out of Social Media Day Detroit in 2013, and it raised $74,026 from 405 backers, well over its $20,000 goal. According to the most recent update posted on Kickstarter in late December, the iOS version of the Ion app had just been approved by the Apple Store and units were in the process of being shipped to backers.

CANBus Triple: What would a Michigan Kickstarter report be without a car-themed project? The CANBus Triple allows users to “hack their cars” by sending and receiving raw data packets to the car’s computer and accessing the reams of data stored in its Controller Area Network (CAN), a message-based protocol found in all modern vehicles. It uses open source software and can be integrated with wearables.

Its creator, Derek Kuschel, calls it Arduino for your car, and he first invented the device as a way to tap into his vehicle’s navigation data. He posted the first iteration of the CANBus on a Mazda message board before launching the Kickstarter page, and the masses clamored for one of their own. Kuschel raised $67,965 from 807 backers, with his original goal being a mere $18,000.

Kuschel posted footage of the CANBus being manufactured in mid-January, and said he expected to ship them to backers immediately upon completion.

Wet diaper detector: Eric Schuh, based in tiny Stevensville, MI, apparently wasn’t content with the traditional “lift and sniff” method of detecting when a baby’s diaper needs changing. So he devised a patent-pending keychain that would light up when placed next to a wet diaper.

This diaper detector works with capacitive touch, using a USB connector as the electrode. It runs on a coin cell battery, which is included. Not just for babies, Schuh imagines his product could also work in nursing homes.

Schuh hit a nerve, because he far exceeded his initial request of $500: 628 backers ponied up $12,728 for the chance to never have to wonder about a wet diaper again. According to updates on the project website, Schuh has shipped all units and is now offering Kickstarter backers a portion of his of profits in exchange for helping get the word out about the keychain.

Maximite BasicBoxx: Inventor Chuck Hellebuyck has invented what he calls an “updated, modern-day version of the Commodore 64, Apple II, and TRS-80 style computers.” He wants to bring these early computers back, which don’t require installing an operating system or knowledge of programming languages outside of BASIC, which is how Steve Jobs and Bill Gates learned to program a computer.

Hellebuyck envisions this product as a great learning tool as well as a fun item for those nostalgic for the past. One hundred backers agreed, pledging $12,078—a few thousand over the $10,000 being sought. All BasicBoxx computers were shipped to backers in August.

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