These People Want Your Money: A One-Wheeled Self-Balancing Skateboard
[kickstarter url=http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/4422853/onewheel-the-self-balancing-electric-skateboard width=600]
Cash Ask: $100,000
Concept: It's kinda self-explanatory from the title: A hybrid between a unicycle, Segway, and skateboard that propels itself forward.
Creator: Kyle Doerksen, a Canadian-born and Stanford-educated engineer. He apparently sketched the initial prototype design on a napkin, which makes me profoundly envious of his ability to a) make the things he drew on a napkin come to life, and b) illustrate anything even remotely coherent on a napkin.
Worth funding? Depends: Got $1,299 to burn on a skateboard? Sure, there are various tchotchkes available with lower-sum pledges, but unless you know Doerksen personally you probably won't be eager to broadcast your commitment to the project by displaying a poster of it on your wall or wearing its logo on a cap.
Suggested pledge: If you're gonna pay the 1300 bucks to receive the item in late-2014, you might as well up your contribution to $1,399 and receive the "ultra charger," which will restore the battery in 20 minutes as opposed to two hours. Even with the ultra charger, though, you'll only be able to spend 20 minutes at a time on the onewheel, which is one of the bigger downsides to the whole thing.
The other main concern is that it might be too easy. Part of the appeal of being good at surfing, snowboarding, or skateboarding is the coolness factor when you look graceful in an endeavor that makes most people fall flat on their face. If a schlub like me can just ride all over town at will, well, that's hardly an exclusive club.
But still: If you've got the funds and the patience to wait until about September for the first production run to be completed, the onewheel does look a whole lot less dorky than a Segway. There are certainly more wasteful ways to spend your money.