Kickstarter’s Year in Design and Tech Trends
The past year has been a wild ride. Time has flown by, and it feels like just yesterday Kickstarter’s Design and Tech team was rolling out its favorite trends of 2021. As 2022 comes to a close, we continue to find inspiration in the many creators and innovators working toward the public benefit through creativity, great design, and plenty of fun. Whether it was intelligent lawnmowers, clothes made from seaweed, or VR that let you shoot a high five across the ocean, the year continued to motivate us to push on and out to the great beyond of human (and occasionally robot) ingenuity.
Here were 2022’s top trends and innovations.
Girl In Space Club
Escape To The Final Frontier
It seems that 2022 had us thinking about space travel–or perhaps just dreaming of a break from this planet. A record number of interstellar projects took center stage, including NASA astrophysicist Sabrina Thompson’s Kickstarter campaign to crowdfund the first space suit designed for a woman’s body. Bill Nye also returned with the Planetary Academy and a mission to provide subscription-based learning opportunities and community for kids. Similarly, Space O DIY electronic kits enabled curious minds to tinker with the cosmos and build detailed models of the International Space Station and the Apollo Lunar Module (among others). Bringing the wonder of the universe to your wrist, Xeric launched the commemorative NASA Voyager watch celebrating the farthest human-made object in space. Similarly, INTERSTELLAR’s RED3721, in collaboration with The Meteoritical Society, the International Society for Meteorites and Planetary Science, told the story of “Perseverance” with pieces infused with meteorites and actual space dust.
Off-The-Grid Living And The Great Outdoors
For those unwilling to leave this planet but still looking to escape the grind, we saw more projects supporting unconventional living, self-sustenance, and outdoor adventure. Oru Kayak’s origami-inspired kayak that “can go from box to boat in under a minute” made on-water exploration a breeze. At the same time, Cru-Coon’s insulated cocoon-like camping tent enabled even though most outward-bound inept to pitch a tent on the go. Lighting the way to adventure was ouTask’s Telescopic Lantern, an adjustable piece that can be broken down into a handheld flashlight, tossed into the rucksack, or even taken on an excursion in the Outisan e-Wagon, an elevated electric utility wagon with power assist. Before venturing off, many turned to Zendure’s SuperBase V, an advanced plug-and-play home energy storage system to gather juice for the next journey.
Maker Tools And Desktop Fabrication
A new generation is hacking, improving, and transforming maker technology to democratize creativity, and we love to see it. The 1 Tomahawk | Professional Digital Tape Measure by Reekon does the whole team’s job with its construction-site-ready digital tape measure with integrated e-paper measuring and laser line projection. The Revopoint POP 2: Precise 3D Scanner brings reality into the 3D Digital World with unparalleled scanning capabilities, while Bambu Lab’s state-of-the-art desktop 3D printers broke “the barriers between the digital and physical worlds” with its CoreXY Color 3D Printer with Lidar and AI – bringing to life fantastical creations and raising over 7 million dollars. And YesWelder’s Firstess CT2050, a Powerful 7-in-1 Welder & Cutter, finally introduced an accessible tool to garage welders and backyard builders.
Sound And Spectacle
Nura returned with the NuraTrue Pro, the first wireless earbuds to support lossless audio over Bluetooth® and combine award-winning personalized sound with adaptive active noise cancellation. Meanwhile, HEAVYS introduced headphones specially engineered for users to “listen to metal the way it’s meant to be heard,” utilizing two frequency ranges and four drivers. And GENKI Waveforms unveiled Bluetooth-enabled earphones for Nintendo Switch and PS5 designed from the ground up to serve the unique needs of gamers.
Waste Less, Do More
With a New Year’s resolution on the horizon, many of us may be thinking of cutting down on waste in all forms – which was certainly a trend in 2022. Nebia lived up to its reputation of creating bathroom rituals “more thoughtful, more enjoyable, and better for the planet” with its first Electronic Bidet Seat and bidet attachment. re:Mix made a kitchen mixer to accommodate glass jars built from 100% recycled plastic casing and e-waste. Meanwhile, the GULP self-cleaning washing machine’s microplastic filter set out to prevent microplastic pollution from seeping into the laundry (and our oceans). Finally, Shelfy offered an elegant solution to food waste with an intelligent device designed to make food last longer and reduce bacteria.
Style Steps Outside The Box
Inclusivity is a perennial trend on Kickstarter, but Nuudii made it a feat of engineering with its Backless Boobwear collection available in expanded sizes. Meanwhile, Capable created a line of garments that shield facial recognition technology. Inventive reuse continued to be popular, with projects ranging from Vear’s all-season gear made from seaweed to cactus leather bags. And the Style category extended to reimagined luggage pieces– especially as we began to travel again– with Trolala, a line of sustainable cork luggage inspired by the art of travel, vegan leather backpacks, and shapeshifting luggage.
Hacking Plant Ownership
We may have begun venturing outside our comfort zones again, but post-pandemic plant ownership was here to stay. Innovations like Halo–a smart grow light by Massimo Cappella Studio–brought home gardening upscale; Multo and Patella Crescenda enabled users to grow their own kitchen farms and fresh superfoods; Cura gave hobby horticulturists the power to automate watering, and Plant Light No 1 brought the forces of the sun right to bedside tables. And for the aesthetically minded, the Noku Canvas made creating a living vertical wall a sinch.
Mini Pupper 2
Robot Friends And Allies
In 2022 you were never alone with Loona, the intelligent pet bot, and with Mini Pupper 2’s robotics kit for dreams also providing a digi companionship. Meanwhile, tech was working hard to make life easier via AI-powered yard-clearing robots like Yarbo and Luba, which intelligently spruced up homes and raised millions. And home-keeping bots also got a little boost from devices like the pool-cleaning AIPER seagull and Switchbot 3.0’s solar-powered retrofit intelligent blinds.
Cycling Toward The Future
Biking got a significant upgrade in 2022. Making a “smarter ride,” CoreCap’s next-generation bike computer fit directly into a bike’s steerer tube and navigated the way. At the same time, the Lumos Firefly, from the award-winning Lumos Helmet, elevated rides with illuminated turn signals, brake lights, synchronized flashing, and magnetic mounting. And capturing the imagination was the Dyson Award-winning Flock Light, which set out to humanize the daily commute with a series of projection lights designed to keep riders safe.
Picturing The Next Generation In Images
Camera and photo gear continued to have its moment in 2022. Specifically with Moment’s Moment Anamorphic, which enabled users, via a cinema-grade 1.33x adapter, to transform any camera lens into an anamorphic. Meanwhile, HEIPEI’s tripod helped the easy conversion of a standard tripod into a mini tripod and beyond; Maven’s Color Coded Magnetic Photography & Videography Filters turned boring images into photographic masterpieces; and Solarcan Puck turned camera obscura on its head with a reusable camera intended to capture the Sun’s path. But what good is an excellent camera if you can’t keep it safe? So we bundled up with SPINN’s protective wrap for your gear. Finally, taking the show on the road, the Snoppa Rover Dolly created a revolutionary cinema dolly with an all-terrain advanced electronic stabilization system for stably and smoothly navigating uneven roads.
Gaming Gets Upgraded
This was the year that gaming went beyond the screen. The Pimax Portal ushered in the next generation of handheld with a unique Hybrid VR Gaming System that can easily switch modes between standalone, mobile gaming, PC gaming, and living room entertainment. Meanwhile, the AOKZOE A1 provided a powerful handheld exclusively designed for portable gaming, powered by the award-winning CPU AMD Ryzen™? 7 6800U Processor. Taking sound to the next level, Genki Waveform earphones allow you to connect and stream two multiple audio sources for immersive sound. And S-Arkade’s spatial augmented gaming system enables users to project their own 80s-inspired arcade game design scenarios and rules onto any surface.
AR/VR Comes Of Age
Virtual reality(VR) and augmented reality(AR) have become mainstream care of the Metaverse – at least according to a certain billionaire that will remain nameless. But 2022 was the year the medium finally came into its own. The Kat Walk C2 created an all-action & cross-platform VR gaming treadmill able to “Unleash Your Body in VR ” with capabilities in any SteamVR, Oculus Home, and PSVR Free Locomotion Game. Similarly, Viture One’s XR Glasses enable users to play AAA games or watch movies anywhere, anytime, on a 5G/Wifi connection. Emerge empowered folks to reach across the ocean to connect, interact, and even hug loved ones through force fields. At the same time, Surplex’s VR shoes not only looked cyber-punk chic but also allowed for full-body movement tracking without a base station or webcams.
Mechanical Keyboards And Desktop Hacks Got Us Geeking Out At The Workspace
Keychron was back with a new ultra-slim keymap that was QMK/VIA enabled for endless customization possibilities. Meanwhile, MelGeek Pixel’s Brick-compatible Mechanical Keyboard was a retro backer favorite that brought the joys of childhood to the desktop. For minimalists and Fine Art majors, the Cerakey introduced a stunning set of keycaps made of ceramic for a silky smooth typing experience. At the same time, AngryMiao CyberBlades’s true wireless stereo earbuds (TWS) fused futuristic-looking gear with next-gen gaming capabilities. And finally, Lab22’s ultimate line of adjustable tech stands turned the typical WFH setup into something that looked downright professional.
We Got Back Into Time
Time moved a little differently during the height of the pandemic, but as we arrived at something resembling the new new normal, we returned to tracking the moments (and even showing up on time). Projects like Focus Timer‘s adjustable hourglass sought to boost productivity and enhance creative flow with unique timekeeping, while traditional markers of time were also popular: 2022 saw an explosion in new watch creations, including a blockbuster limited-edition Micro-Rooter from 3rd-generation French watchmakers Yema, which raised almost 2.5 million in just weeks.
Just as we saw creators look to the future, many also drew inspiration from the past. In a nod to the famous Futuro House by design legend Matti Suuronen, the Wololow Future House Style Nightlight provided an illuminating take on architectural history. Similarly, ToyHaus launched an elevated mini-playhouse for kids based on the modernist design principles of the Bauhaus Movement.
Wonder And Delight Made Comeback
It hasn’t been the easiest couple of years, so we were thrilled to see creators explore their more experimental, playful side in 2022. Artist and inventor Tom Lawton launched a dynamic, undulating meditative art piece fittingly called Wonder. At the same time, Invisibility Shield Co unveiled a working Invisibility Shield to “surprise your friends, avoid your enemies!” But for those looking for a little more together time, the Tandem Shower offered a way to jointly bathe in comfort and style, while the Plufl Dog Bed For Humans finally allowed us to curl up and nap like (and with!) our favorite furry friends. And if you still had brainpower to spare, Craighill’s Wavelinks puzzle – a collaboration with Art of Play– created a stunning objet d’art with a function.
-Kickstarter Design & Tech Team