Get in on the ground floor

<p>Few of us are inventors, but we all appreciate just the right gadget when we see it. While you're unlikely to stumble upon something great in the aisles of mass-produced merchandise at Walmart, you might find it online at Kickstarter, a site that lets inventors bring their ideas straight to you.</p> <p>Over a period of 60 days, inventors pitch their projects through video to reach would-be investors — that's you. If enough people back a project — pledges usually start as low as $1 — it's a "go." You get one of the first devices or games at a discount — and some interesting extras, depending on the amount you pledge.</p> <p>Though pledges start small, projects have raised millions. Take a look at the biggest-funded tech projects so far this year that are heading into production.</p>

Pebble: E-Paper Watch for Android and iPhone

<p>A smartwatch with downloadable faces that can run apps such as cycling and running monitors, a music player, and a range finder for golfers. The Pebble also syncs to your phone to alert you to incoming calls and texts. App developers could pledge $235 to get early access to Pebble app design, while those that just wanted a useful smartwatch got a $50 discount off the planned retail price.</p> <p>Price: $150</p> <p>Funding: $8,895,675</p>

Galileo: A Robotic Platform for iPhone and iPod

<p>A stand lets you rotate and tilt your device by using a second iOS device as a remote controller. It's useful as a mount for video chats, for shooting photos and video, and even as a baby monitor. Special edition in "Kickstarter green" was offered for higher pledges.</p> <p>Price: $130</p> <p>Funding: $702,427</p>

Elevation Dock for iPhone

<p>Built from solid aluminum, the dock connects to iPhones with or without cases. Those who pledged higher amounts received a dock in a choice of limited-edition colors, with laser-etched serial numbers.</p> <p>Price: $90</p> <p>Funding: $1,464,706</p>

Hidden Radio and Bluetooth Speaker

<p>An unobtrusive radio and wireless speaker for iPhone and iPad is controlled by twisting and lifting its cap — the more you twist, the louder the volume. Backers received a big discount and invitations to the launch party.</p> <p>Price: $175</p> <p>Funding: $938,771</p>

Double Fine Adventure Video Game

<p>A San Francisco game studio brings back the old-school adventure genre, with a twist: it will document the process through video and ask backers to provide input. "Rewards" (incentives for higher pledges) include a digital soundtrack of the documentary, a boxed copy of the game and a mini-portrait of the backer by the game's artist (100 of the latter sold out at $1,000 a pop).</p> <p>Price: $15</p> <p>Funding: $3,336,371</p>

Twine

<p>You can easily program this palm-size device to send a text or tweet when something happens, such as the laundry finishing or the basement flooding. Temperature, moisture and vibration sensors are included. Bigger backers could opt for extra sensors.</p> <p>Price: $100</p> <p>Funding: $556,541</p>

Geode iPhone Digital Wallet

<p>This iPhone case holds a programmable card that takes the place of all your individual cards — both those with magnetic strips such as credit cards and those with bar codes such as loyalty cards. The single card syncs with your iPhone to track all purchases. For a higher pledge, iCache threw in T-shirts like "Fat Wallets Are So Last Year."</p> <p>Price: $200</p> <p>Funding: $352,918</p>

LunaTik Touch Pen

<p>Compatible with any touch-screen device, the LunaTik can function as either a screen stylus or a conventional rollerball pen. Backers at $30 received a pen, while larger pledges included multiple pens in special colors.</p> <p>Price: $40</p> <p>Funding: $309,183</p>

HuMn Wallet

<p>The super-durable wallet protects against RFID skimming — using a radio-frequency device to read the information from credit cards or a driver's license. Backers at $25 received a $10 discount; those at higher levels could choose carbon fiber material and additional colors.</p> <p>Price: $35</p> <p>Funding: $295,402</p>

Cloud FTP for iPhone, iPad

<p>This pocket-size adapter allows any USB storage device, such as a hard drive, to share files with Wi Fi-enabled devices. It can also connect to the Internet to back-up and synchronize data with online storage services such as iCloud and Dropbox. All Kickstarter backers received a $30 discount. Bigger contributors will be featured in upcoming magazine ads.</p> <p>Price: $100</p> <p>Funding: $262,351</p>

Top 10 Gadgets on Inventor Site Kickstarter