In the right hands, crowdfunding is a powerful tool to vet your idea and find out if there is consumer interest before you go to market. In the wrong hands, it’s a great way to scam people out of some money with the promise of an idea that won’t ever exist.
We’ve surely covered our share of both, but these are some of the most exciting and–we hope–most viable of the projects that asked for regular folks to help get them off the ground this year. The big theme is, of course, fish. Yes, fish. One project wants money to make fake fish out of tomatoes. Another wants money to deliver fresh, sustainable fish right to your door so you can skip the sushi bar entirely (last year was all about scanners).
There are also newfangled bikes, recycled plastic skateboards, and a cookbook for fancy pot recipes. There’s even a chance to move to Detroit. All the crowdfunding deadlines for these stories are long past, but not to worry, you’re still finding out about them very early. If they hit their goal, they should be just about available now. You can still be an early adopter.
These tomatoes are cooked so finely you’ll have a tough time distinguishing it from fish, which is a good thing because all the fish are disappearing from the sea.
If you’re already a portable-solar-charger sort of person, perhaps you’d like to add a portable wind turbine to your renewable charger collection?
I want my guilt-free sushi, and I want it now.
Serve a fancy meal, complete with “medicated butter nut squash soup,” and get your guests extra giggly.
Original Unpacked won’t have any plastic containers or paper wrapping—but tell that to the line of other package-free grocery stores that have tried that, and failed.
The “Minnow” is a fish-shaped skateboard made of pulverized fishing nets from the Chilean coast. Can a trio of surfer dude engineers turn excess plastic into a local commodity?
The founders of the Solar Roadways project want to cover every highway in thick, LED-lit glass.
The newest version of Revolights popular Tron-like bike lights lowers the price point so everyone can glow as they ride.
Have you always wanted to try out a standing desk but didn’t want to commit? This recyclable model is assembled without any glue or fasteners and costs only $65.
The “Lammily” doll has the proportions of an average American 19-year-old. Can she beat Mattel for a slice of the toy market?
In hopes of building a literary scene in the downtrodden city, a new nonprofit aims to rebuild vacant homes and just give them away. Can’t get better than free.
Read more of our best stories of the year, in these categories: Most-read, photos, infographics, lists, videos, maps, buildings, robots, transportation, bikes, food, collaborative consumption, cities, energy, environment, health, education, crowdfunding, innovative workplaces, and privacy.