Hardware startups are in no short supply. In fact, it seems that there a hundred new hardware startups every time you turn around at the moment, and crowdfunding, along with better manufacturing tools, play no small part in the hardware startup revolution.
Without meaning to sound cynical though, what is in slightly shorter supply are the truly innovative and exciting startups, clearly destined for great things. But that’s not to say they aren’t out there too – you just need to know where to look.
Here are some very exciting top hardware startups that we think you can gain inspiration from and keep your eyes on…
WobbleWorks created a 3D pen called ‘3Doodler’. It lets you draw figures out of thin air, which is one of those examples of advanced technology being indiscernible from magic…This was a rather inventive and novel approach to 3D printing, so it will be interesting to see what they come up with next. An iteration on the pen, or something new?
Luna created Luna Sleep, a smart bed that can heat and cool the user and works alongside IFTTT for integration with all kinds of apps.This is a completely unique way to approach the current fitness tracking trend, and this alone might offer some interesting insights for makers looking to enter the space.
PodoLabs recently introduced the world to Podo; a ‘stick and shoot’ camera that can turn any surface into a photo booth. Basically, Podo is a tiny camera that can attach to a wall to capture whatever’s going on, while you control the action from an app. With the popularity of GoPros and the ubiquity of ‘selfies’ this seems like a no-brainer. It will be interesting to see how the concept catches on – if it’s a hit then there are lots more opportunities for similar solutions.
Quite the interesting idea cause who knew that so many people wanted to have Honey on tap. We aren’t talking about a machine that dispenses store bought honey but an actual device that harvests honey from a bee colony. FlowHive re-invented an old method and attracted some good publicity which helped them reach a crowdfunding goal of $12 million plus. However, they have been getting some pushback from the beekeeping community on their device. We look forward to seeing where this company goes in the coming months.
The wearable space is definitely one to keep your eyes on right now and BLOCKS Wearables is one of the most exciting innovators in that domain. What this company has done differently is to provide a smartwatch that’s modular; meaning you can pick and choose the features you need and create a look unique to you. Want a heart-rate monitor but don’t need phone capabilities? Great! Want GPS and a bit of extra juice? That’s possible too. And it’s not just a gimmick either. BLOCKs has some features that are actually unique to any smartwatch – such as a fingerprint scanner and ‘air quality’ module. And thanks to the form factor, it’s endlessly upgradable too. Definitely one to watch, if only for ideas as to what can be achieved with a wearable.
Next Thing Co. successful found funding for ‘Chip’ this year, which is basically a Raspberry Pi, only more so. It’s going to cost only $9, and be the size of a payment card, yet it houses a 1GHz processor, 512MB or RAM and 4GB of storage. And for their next trick…? Raspberry Pi took off like wildfire a few years back and gave rise to many more fascinating creations. It will be interesting to see whether ‘Next Thing Co.’ can do the same and how it competes with new competition such as the Chromebit from Google and Asus.
Doppler Labs successfully found funding for their ‘active listening’ device, Here. Here essentially lets you mix your own soundscape, so that you can decide to hear more or less of specific sounds. In other words, you have noise cancellation that you can precisely target to specific sounds. Can’t hear the live performers for the crowd? Then turn down the crowd and turn up the band. The device was named ‘Best Invention of 2015’ by Time Magazine, which is a pretty impressive vote of confidence.
One idea that is ubiquitous when it comes to visions of the future, is wireless charging for all our home appliances and gadgets. ‘Wattup’ from Energous promises just that, and has numerous partners to suggest it may actually be able to deliver! Wireless charging is something that could make life considerably easier, and whichever company cracks it is one you’ll be wanting the API for as a hardware startup.
Educational toys that take advantage of modern technology are highly popular and have a ton of potential. Few examples of this are better than littleBits, which lets you build your own gadgets as simply as you might build a Lego creation. This is a great one for those makers hoping their offspring might follow in their footsteps.
So we’ve covered a crop of hardware startups as varied as 3D printers, through to self-tightening belts! Whilst you may not be in the same industry as all of these startups, hopefully these popular and unique ideas will give you inspiration to improve your own ideas too!
What do you think are the hottest startups right now? Are you in the process of designing one of them? Do let us know your views in the comments section below. Also, do subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with the latest updates in the hardware industry.