What's hot now in tech products?

<p>If you're wondering what's hot in emerging technology, one look at Kickstarter's most-funded tech projects provides the answer: 3D printers, wearable technology and smart home monitors lead the list of innovative products.</p> <p>Since Kickstarter launched in 2009, more than 800 products have been funded, accounting for $64 million from individuals who want to get a jump on the latest innovations.</p> <p>Take a look at the top tech projects so far this year, listed in order of pledges received. And don't worry about missing pledge deadlines. Once funded, most products go on sale to the general public. You'll likely pay a little more than Kickstarter backers, but you can still claim the title of early adopter.</p>

3Doodler Pen from WobbleWorks

<p>In place of ink, the 3Doodler pen uses plastic filament that is heated and then extruded through the tip — cooling and hardening into a shape within seconds. You can use the pen on a hard surface or in the air to make 3D figures. <p>WobbleWorks also offers free traceable stencils, including one to make a 2-foot-tall (61 centimeters) model of the Eiffel Tower. (You make several small pieces, and then assemble them into the larger structure). More than 25,000 Kickstarter backers reserved their 3Doodlers, making it one of the most popular projects in the history of the crowdfunding site.</p> <p>Funding: $2,344,134 (target: $30,000)</p> <p>Price: $99</p> <p>Available: Preorder; shipping scheduled for February 2014</p>

RigidBot 3D Printer from Inventapart

<p>This kit is an affordable way to start 3D printing and can expand as your skills — and budget — grow. Unlike other 3D printers, RigidBot uses a system of plastic joints and metal rods for its frame, so it can be made larger or smaller by swapping out the rods. The bare-bones RigidBot kit makes a 3D printer with a 10-by-10-inch (25 cm) printing bed. Upgrades include a module with an LCD and SD-card reader, so makers can control their printers without a computer connection. They can also upgrade to a fancier rod that allows for more precise calibration and a heated bed (a must for using the higher-quality ABS plastic filament instead of the basic PLA). RigidBot printers are also available preassembled for a bit more money.</p> <p>Funding: $1,092,098 (target: $31,500)</p> <p>Price: Starting at $365</p> <p>Available: December 2013</p>

Almond+ Touchscreen Wi-Fi Router and Smart Home Hub from SecuriFi

<p>Imagine you're late for work and forgot to turn down the air conditioning. With Almond+, you can do that as you're running for your train, as well as perform similar tasks remotely. Almond+ looks like an attractive digital photo frame, but it's actually a Wi-Fi router and home-automation control system that syncs with your smartphone. Through the Almond+ app, users can run their wirelessly connected devices from their phones. Almond+ can be set up without a computer, using its touch-screen controls. It offers data-transfer speeds of up to 1.17Gb/s and is powerful enough to provide Internet access throughout a 5,000-square-foot (1,524 meters) home. It can also connect smart home devices that contain Z-Wave & ZigBee smart sensors, such as thermostats, door sensors and lighting systems.</p> <p>Funding: $855,625 (target: $250,000)</p> <p>Price: $99</p> <p>Available: Sign up to receive an alert when preorders begin at www.securifi.com.</p>

Next Generation LiveCode

<p>LiveCode is not a gadget; it's a visual coding language for making apps for iOS, Android, Windows and Mac. LiveCode uses everyday words and no symbols, making learning code a far less daunting challenge. For example, one plain-English sentence can be used to program a step in a mobile game that would have required an entire block of precisely written symbols without LiveCode.</p> <p>The Kickstarter program funds an updated version of LiveCode with a new visual editor and the ability to allow changes from the community, meaning LiveCode will become an open-source platform. The new program comes in two versions: a free one for people who want to create open-source apps, and a paid version for developers who want to build apps without sharing the code.</p> <p>Funding: $775,110 (target: $548,695)</p> <p>Price: Community version is free; $500 per year for developers</p> <p>Available: Fall 2013</p>

RoBo 3D Printer

<p>Another 3D printer for beginners, RoBo 3D Printer is larger than other 3D printers on Kickstarter, measuring 10 by 12 by 9 inches (25 by 30 by 23 cm). All software is left up to the user. The RoBo team suggested Google Sketchup for free design software and Thingiverse for ready-made projects that can be downloaded, imported into a design program and then printed. The base unit is designed for PLA filament, but an upgrade to a heated print bed for ABS plastic is available.</p> <p>Funding: $649,663 (target: $49,000)</p> <p>Price: $599 (PLA); $699 (PLA and ABS)</p> <p>Available: Now online at www.robo3dprinter.com</p>

GameStick Portable TV Game Console

<p>At last, there's a game console that costs little more than a regular video game. The handheld gaming controller contains a removable stick that plugs into the HDMI port of a TV. The GameStick runs Android, so users can download their favorite games from Google Play and enjoy them on a really big screen. A dock for the pocket-size unit is also available, and allows players to plug in accessories like a microphone and joystick.</p> <p> In response to Kickstarter backers' requests, the developers designed a new app that lets players use an iPhone or an Android phone as a controller for games that rely on a phone's accelerometer and touchpad. The GameStick is currently available for preorder.</p> <p>Funding: $647,658 (target: $100,000)</p> <p>Price: $79</p> <p>Available: Preorder at gamestick.hostedbywebstore.com</p>

UDOO: Tiny Android Linux Computer

<p>About the size of a deck of playing cards, the UDOO is a tiny computer designed for software developers and DIYers. It allows users to run two operating systems, Android and Linux, by swapping microSD cards and then rebooting the computer. UDOO has the power of four Raspberry Pi computers (a popular model for makers) plus Arduino Due functionality, which means it can be used to control other electrical components without the need for a stand-alone Arduino unit. It can be used to test software and to run things like homemade LED-light controllers, RFID readers and new game controllers. UDOO is scheduled to ship this September.</p> <p>Funding: $641,614 (target $27,000)</p> <p>Price: $129</p> <p>Available: September 2013</p>

Click & Grow Smart Herb Garden

<p>This winner proves you don't have to be a geek to find something intriguingly high-tech on Kickstarter. In fact, your mother will love this one: The Click & Grow Smart Herb Garden is based on NASA technology used to grow plants in space without water or sunlight. The unit grows a single plant, and has small holes in the base for new shoots. These plants don't use soil; instead, they grow in a nanomaterial that provides the correct amount of oxygen and nutrients.</p> <p>The Kickstarter campaign was designed with stretch goals: At increasing levels of funding, the Click & Grow team offered additional plant choices. This project was so well funded that you can get tiny pepper plants for your garden, as well as arugula, mini tomatoes and herbs.</p> <p>Funding: $625,851 (target: $27,000)</p> <p>Price: $79 for starter kit, plus $49 for attachable grow light</p> <p>Available: Now from www.clickandgrow.com</p>

Radiate Athletics Body-Sensing Shirt

<p>The Radiate shirt is made of a material that changes color based on heat produced during a workout. Wearers of the shirt can see which muscles they are using most and those they are neglecting, as well as gauge the intensity of muscle activity. In addition to its thermal-imaging technology, the Radiate shirt provides the same moisture-wicking properties as traditional workout wear.</p> <p>Rather than raising money to make or finish a prototype, the sponsors of this project were seeking a big number of pre-orders that would allow them to reach the economies of scale to cut the price by nearly two-thirds. Radiate shirts are available in a variety of colors and designs for both men and women.</p> <p>Funding: $579,599 (target: $75,000)</p> <p>Price: Starting at $35</p> <p>Available: Now from www.radiateathletics.com</p>

Spark Core: Wi-Fi Board for Makers

<p>Another popular product for makers, this tiny Arduino-compatible device adds Wi-Fi connectivity to just about anything, providing a Wi-Fi range from 100 to 300 feet (30 to 91 m). With a fairly modest funding goal of $10,000, this versatile component was a huge hit with Kickstarter's tech community, receiving nearly 60 times the pledges requested.</p> <p>The Spark device team has used the Core for some pretty smart and really fun gadgets, such as a "pizza orderer," a three-button device that sends a message to the local pizzeria. They also built a Wi-Fi fridge magnet that displays a Twitter feed.</p> <p>Funding: $567,968 (target: $10,000)</p> <p>Price: $39</p> <p>Availability: Preorder at http://www.sparkdevices.com/; shipping slated for October 2013.</p>

Top 10 Kickstarter Tech Projects of 2013