Each week Grid rounds up the most conspicuous Chicago projects on Kickstarter, the crowdfunding site that connects everyday inventors with everyday investors. You may say, “Why didn’t I think of that?” or perhaps, “Good luck with that.” But we’re not here to judge — it’s your money.
If you give a gift that needs batteries, it’s good form to give those too. So if you give your foodie sister-in-law the Urban Farmer mini greenhouse to grow precious microgreens, don’t forget the CO2 tank and UV lamp. Actually, Urban Farmer is not for her. It’s for someone who needs a quickly collapsable, not-that-small indoor greenhouse, perfect for growing “any herb you can think of,” says inventor Brian Hirsch, who has 420 Facebook friends. Seeking: $9,500 in seed funding by Oct. 13.
It’s not a speaker dock — it’s a nonelectronic sound amplifier and stand that fits iPad, iPhone and Android. A problem with Apple devices, says the dev team at Chicago’s Innovation Factory, is that the speakers project the sound down or to the side. Opus aims to redirect that sound while also letting you watch video hands-free at an ergonomically ideal 60-degree angle. Its form is smart too: Opus is a portable plastic sphere that splits in two to create the stand, then uses magnets to reassemble in a snap. Raised so far: $2,433, or 24 percent of its goal.
You can’t blame a guy for thinking a TV show, taped in Chicago, with dance segments and musical acts could really take off. But one thing a startup “Soul Train” didn’t have back in the day: the ability to crowdsource funds in exchange for a chance to dance on the show. Days to go: 20 to raise $100,000.