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Posts tagged with "kickstarter"

Marshmallow Run Kickstarter Seeks to Teach Girls Programming and Design

Design Code Build and Girl Scouts San Diego are developing a curriculum to teach girls programming and design by building a game called Marshmallow Run. It’s an ambitious program to bring Marshmallow Run to life through Scratch, the web, iOS, and Android as a way to reach girls of all age levels and provide opportunities that will appeal to a wide variety of interests. To make the program a reality, Design Code Build and Girl Scouts San Diego launched a Kickstarter campaign to cover the cost of computers, meeting space, developer accounts, and other overhead.

What’s unique about the Marshmallow Run campaign is its breadth. The project isn’t constrained by the programming platform chosen or other structural decisions that might limit its appeal. Design Code Build has developed the characters for Marshmallow Run, but the rest is up to the girls who participate in the program. The participants will have the opportunity to learn to program physics into a game, design levels, set timers, detect collisions, along with everything else that programming a platformer game entails. Girls will also learn graphic design, storyboarding, audio design, and much more. The result is a curriculum designed to foster imagination and creativity in a fun way that teaches new skills.

The project’s campaign has just 3 days left to reach its goal of $25,000. As of publication, pledges are just over 50% of that goal. If Marshmallow Run is funded, backers will receive a variety of rewards depending on their pledge levels including stickers and t-shirts, but the reward that’s most interesting is a programming starter pack for backers who pledge just $25. The starter pack includes character sprites and other game elements for building Marshmallow Run in Scratch. At higher pledge levels backers receive beta access to the web and mobile versions of the game. The starter pack and access to the betas are a terrific way that Design Code Build and Girl Scouts San Diego are sharing what they hope to create beyond their local community.

I have three boys and have experienced the frustration of trying to find opportunities for them when they wanted to learn to program. There just aren’t enough good programs available for kids in general, and even fewer for girls. Marshmallow Run is a chance to start fixing that, foster the next generation of programmers and designers, and make a difference in addressing the gender imbalance in tech fields.

If you want to make a pledge, you can do so on the Marshmallow Run Kickstarter page.


Turn Touch: A Smart, Flexible Remote Control

Samuel Clay, the founder of NewsBlur, is seeking funding on Kickstarter for an interesting new project: Turn Touch.

Turn Touch is a four button remote control carved out of solid wood. Get instant control of your devices and your home. With only four buttons, your Turn Touch connects you to apps, lights, speakers, and more.

While most smart devices found in the home today are designed to be controlled via a smartphone or a voice-controlled device like Amazon Echo, Turn Touch is a more tactile option. It's designed to look less like a standard remote control and more like a piece of decor in the home.

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Enhanced eBook: Storytelling Through Dance

I've been a fan of Keone and Mari's dance videos since my girlfriend introduced me to their YouTube channel a while back (she's a dancer, and an avid follower of their work). I often watch choreography videos, but what Keone and Mari create is exceptionally unique. In addition to being masters of their craft, every video they produce blends choreography and story – revealing a deeper meaning to the song they are dancing to. Truly, Keone and Mari's videos are works of art.

Now, Keone and Mari have set out to produce a multimedia eBook to combine "dance, writing, music, film, design, photography, and technology to tell a story". I'm not a dancer myself, but, knowing their work, I'm intrigued:

We’re best known for our work as dancers and choreographers, yet we’ve always had a dream to use dance as a medium between different/collaborative art forms. With Mari’s creative writing degree and our love for various art forms we never saw dance being completely independent of the different crafts. Our dream is this: An enhanced eBook with storytelling through dance.

Enhanced eBooks are digital books that include immersive, interactive, and interesting features like video, music, audio narration, animation, photography, and more. While dance videos online have become a norm in the millennial age, we hope to give dance a new home within this enhanced ebook. Imagine following a movement-driven story, that’s accompanied by originally produced music, partnered with interactivity - like flipping through photos, learning a dance, or potentially dictating where in the story you’d like to go next. The imaginative possibilities are truly there. The hope for this creative and visual novel is to have it available on your devices to download or stream.

I would love to see this project happen. Keone and Mari have launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking $45,000 in funding to cover costs for production, artists, and design. With 11 days left, over $24,000 have been pledged, and there are some great rewards for dancers such as tutorials, Q&As, and even private dance lessons.

If you're interested, you can contribute to the campaign and check out more details on their Kickstarter page.

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Inclusive Toolkit: Tools for iOS & OS X App Accessibility

Sally Shepard has launched a Kickstarter campaign for the Inclusive Toolkit, a set of tools to help developers make iOS & OS X apps inclusive and accessible.

From the project's page:

The common difficulties around implementing inclusive concepts in apps are a lack of resources, knowledge and empathy. All of Apple’s products have features that enable inclusivity, and they make a huge difference to people’s lives. Anyone developing for their platforms has access to the APIs to make their app equally accessible.

So how can we fix this?

From a user point of view, I want the Inclusive Toolkit to help solve two problems: unusable elements and poor experiences. And from a developer/designer/QA point of view, I want it to speed up development and testing time, as well as build empathy. It’s great if you work in a company that already has specific resources and knowledge about accessibility—but for many developers, that isn’t the case. I want to provide ways of making it part of the development process instead of something tacked on at the end.

Make sure to check out Sally's ideas for the Inclusive Toolkit, such as 'Visual Voiceover' and ways to simulate impairments in the app testing process. Too many developers still ignore inclusive design and features in their apps, and anything that could help them simplify implementing these frameworks is, I believe, welcome and necessary.

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Glide

A new Kickstarter project by Chris Harris, Glide aims to simplify app creation with drag & drop of text and images in Dropbox and a variety of templates for different app types and native iOS features.

From the project's page:

Building an app yourself is hard work. Normally you need a lot of technical skills that most people don't have. Glide makes it easy to create beautiful apps that look professional right from the start.

You simply put text, images and movies into folders, and Glide will build the app for you. When you change the content, the app updates automatically.

We have created a number of award winning apps using Glide, but we believe that everyone should be able to afford their own app. This Kickstarter is our way of making this happen.

If this sounds too good to be true, Harris and team have been building apps with Glide for years, including The Loop Magazine and Wonders of Life. Glide has been optimized for various app types, and it also sports integration with iOS features such as push notifications and iBeacon.

This is an interesting project for me, especially because it's entirely based on files in Dropbox, which makes content creation easy for someone who primarily works on iOS.

Here's how Marco Arment describes Glide:

I’ve never seen anything quite like Glide, and I think it’s going to be huge.

The best way I can explain it is that Glide is to apps as Squarespace is to websites: it lets you build a lot of common app types (especially content, informational, and portfolio apps), with very little effort or expertise, and yields stunning results.

I'll keep an eye on this. You can check out the Kickstarter campaign here.

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A Preview of the SpeakerSlide, A Kickstarter Project

Over the past few years Apple has continued to improve the speakers in the iPhone and iPad quite significantly, except for the fact that they continue to be directed out to the side rather than the front. In fairness, this is probably the most practical location for Apple but it has meant that I've purposefully cupped my hand around the iPad's speakers to help redirect the sound on a number of occasions. It is exactly this weakness where a Kickstarter project, the SpeakerSlide, is trying to improve things. It's a simple plastic (polycarbonate) accessory that redirects the sound out to the front of the device. The SpeakerSlide team were able to ship me 3D-printed evaluation models of the SpeakerSlide for both iPhone and iPad, so I gave the product a test run over the last week.

I first tested the SpeakerSlide with the iPad Air and I can honestly say that the effect it had was instantly noticeable and fairly significant. Sound coming from the iPad actually sounded like it was directed to me, which shouldn't be surprising, but what was surprising to me was how much more natural that felt. When I started taking the SpeakerSlide on and off to try and hear the difference, the effect was even more noticeable. It almost felt like the sound (without the SpeakerSlide) was muffled because of the direction of the speakers. Because the sound is being directed at you with the SpeakerSlide, it also means you don't need to have the volume as loud as you would without it, and that shouldn't be underestimated.

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“App: The Human Story” Documentary Wants to Capture the Story of Apps and App Creators

Launched by Story & Pixel on Kickstarter today, “App: The Human Story” is a documentary based on a theme that's extremely dear to me and, I believe, to MacStories' readers: the story of apps and their cultural impact over the past seven years.

By highlighting what “it means to be human in a world of technology”, the documentary doesn't simply want to focus on the evolution of the App Store and iOS devices – rather, Story & Pixel (who are Jake Schumacher and Jedidiah Hurt, with Adam Lisagor as executive producer) aim to document the human effort, the stories, and the voice of people who craft software. And not just any computer software, but the cultural and economic phenomenon of the decade – the app.

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Kickstarter: Lunecase – A Unique iPhone Case with a Wireless Notification System

Here's a unique product looking for funding on Kickstarter, the Lunecase by Concepter. It's "an intelligent case that receives notifications from the iPhone. Powered by electromagnetic energy. Wireless, smart, elegant."

So what's so unique about another iPhone case? For starters, the back has a built-in notification system that displays an icon for both incoming phone calls and SMS messages -- all without using a drop of the device's battery. Lunecase does this with the help of LEDs, as it uses free energy that is emitted by the device, converting it from the iPhone's electromagnetic energy into a usable energy to power the notification system embedded in the case. Read more