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10 Crazy Crowd-Funding Ideas that Worked!
By Glenn McDonald,
Discovery News, 5 July 2015.

Crowd-funding ideas are a dime a dozen, quite frankly. They rotate into the business and science news cycle for a few days, then submerge into the ocean of terrible ideas. But the interesting ones are those that are so crazy...they just might work. Here are ten that actually did.

1. Robocop


Detroit's statue of Joe Louis' fist caused a commotion when it was unveiled in 1986. The city's warm and cuddly image will soon be getting another boost with this ten-foot-tall, 3,000-pound statue of Robocop, successfully crowd-funded in 2011. The official public unveiling is scheduled for later this year.

2. Mechanical Snake


A 50-foot long, fully articulated electro-mechanical snake, the Titanoboa was initially funded via Kickstarter and has since made the rounds at various science and technology expos. (The Titanoboa is also a real prehistoric snake, by the way.) [Titanoboa website]

3. Combat Kitchenware


In December 2012, creator James Brown raised US$46,261 - from 651 backers - to realize his dream: A line of Combat Kitchenware for the martial-minded gourmand. Brown's manufacturing shop is currently up and running in Philadelphia.

4. Pi Pan


Sometimes the best ideas are the simplest ones. Yes, that's right, it's a pi pan. Hungry mathematicians are clearly generous - creator Garrett Heath initially raised US$17,542, well past his US$2,000 goal, and has been shipping out pi pans ever since.

5. Breathometer


Set for shipping in August of 2015, the Breathometer Mint monitors breath quality and hydration and wirelessly transmits data (and advice) to your smartphone. In case you're wondering, the Mint gadget assesses breath quality by measuring volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs) in your breath sample. [Breathometer website]

6. Couch Power


Never underestimate America's passion for convenience. The Couchlet is a dual USB port designed to wedge between your couch cushions or bed mattress and box spring. The recently concluded Indiegogo campaign raised US$64,227 from 2,130 backers.

7. Magic Wheelchair


An idea that can only be described as unequivocally awesome, the Magic Wheelchair campaign is designed to fund "epic wheelchair costumes" for kids in time for Halloween of this year. The initial funding goal of US$15,000 has already been surpassed, and the team plans to build an extra costume for every US$3,000 pledged. [Magic Wheelchair website]

8. Aroma Clock


A winner at last year's Google Science Fair, the SensorWake is an olfactory alarm clock that rouses you from your slumber with the aroma of your choice - coffee, bacon, the ocean…even the smell of money. Teenage inventor Guillaume Rolland quadrupled his starting goal of US$54,751 and hopes to start shipping in November 2015. And yes, the device includes a backup audio alarm. [SensorWake website]

9. Sleep Mask


In 2012, two Brooklyn developers raised more than a half a million dollars for the Remee - a lucid dreaming sleep mask billed as a device that allows users to control their dreams. Remee's built-in LEDs can be set on a timer to flash particular sequences during REM sleep, triggering lucid dreaming. Reviews have been mixed, but Remee is still a going concern.

10. Salt Gun


One of crowd-funding's greatest and weirdest success stories, the Bug-A-Salt is a non-toxic "insect eradication device" that kills by way of high-velocity table salt. Just drop a pinch of salt into the plastic shotgun - then cock, aim and fire. No batteries required. Since its initial 2012 Indiegogo campaign, the makers have sold more than 20,000 units worldwide, with accessories. [Bug-A-Salt website]

Top image: Magic Wheelchair. Credit: Kickstarter.

[Source: Discovery News. Edited. Some links added.]