By Todd Bernhard on Tue, 01/31/2012
I'm becoming a fan of Kickstarter, because it's democratizing manufacturing and enabling individuals with an idea to bring it to market faster. In a way, it is the hardware equivalent of the App Store. As consumers, we benefit form a wider variety of gadgets that otherwise might never see the light of day. The downside is, as a Kickstarter funder, you have to make a leap of faith and preorder an item without the benefit of even seeing a prototype of the product in person.
The team at Studio Neat has created and launched a few products on Kickstarter, such as a tripod mount for the iPhone, but the one I really liked, and bought at MacWorld, is their Cosmonaut stylus. Their design goal was to create something more akin to a whiteboard marker than a ballpoint pen.
The Cosmonaut stylus looks like an oversized black crayon but has a nice heft and rubber grip to it. It's very comfortable, especially for drawing and pointing. I wouldn't use it for writing or typing on the virtual keyboard, as its size blocks much of the view. But I loved using it for the right task. It just has a great feel, and it's a shame you can't see it in person. I got to try the Cosmonaut at MacWorld and bought one on the spot.
An interesting side effect of the Kickstarter model seems to be that many products are made in the USA. Studio Neat's products are a good example of this. The low overhead also means you're skipping the middleman and can get some good deals. Chalk one up for Kickstarter and Studio Neat!