SLIDESHOW

Bug robots, NASA-class baby onesies launched on hardware-only crowdfunding site

Dragon Innovation's new crowd-funding site is now live, specializing in hardware only. Seven new awesome projects have launched (plus a special-edition Pebble smartwatch). Here they are.

Dragon Innovation's coolest crowdfunded hardware products

Let's face it – we're all tired of funding Web apps that are simply platforms to sell you ads. Dragon, a manufacturing services firm with offices in Boston and in Shenzhen, China, hopes to change all that with its new crowdfunding site, specifically focused on hardware.

The projects range from hard-core building blocks for embedded designers, to lovely consumer geekware. And since several are at or near full funding, you can treat this slideshow as a shopping trip rather than an investment opportunity.

Rest Devices' Mimo Connected Onesie

Mimo's connected onesie will either reassure or freak out new parents: sensors inside the machine-washable cotton onesies will monitor respiration, skin temperature, even body posture and activity level.

Each onesie communicates to a "Turtle" via Bluetooth, and then to a "Lilypad" router, and then to the Mimo app. The app provides trend data, an audio feed, and alerts. $100 gets you three onesies, a Turtle, and a Lilypad.

Hammerhead Navigation Bike GPS

While products like the Garmin Edge track distance, heart rate, and other functions, the $75 Hammerhead is designed to be an almost eyes-free guide to the best routes.

The T-shaped guide has a built-in headlamp in front, plus sidelights to alert drivers you're sharing the road. But the Hammerhead communicates via Bluetooth with your iPhone, using its GPS to direct you left and right, even off-road. The app lets you share your favorite routes, alert other riders of hazards, and can even pre-load information in case you're truly venturing into the unknown.

Weartrons Run-N-Read

Describing the Weartrons Run-N-Read is simple enough: it's a small gizmo that attaches to either a shirt or headband. But it what it does is a bit more complicated: the device compensates for vibration as you move.

An e-reader app connects to the $40 device. As you bounce and jiggle while exercising, the app jiggles the e-reader text in sync, so that, to your eye, the text doesn't move.

Dash Robotics' Dash Robot

Move over, LEGO Mindstorms. Like LEGOs, the Dash DIY robot was designed to be an "origami" robot that kids could put together and control.

The difference is that these little guys are fast. The Dash robots can be programmed and steered from a smarphone app, and using legs, not wheels, means it can whiz across a variety of terrain. A $50 Alpha model isn't steerable, the $65 Beta, is.

Infinite Corridor Technologies' LimberBoard

The human body is curved, not angular, and wearable technologies will need to compensate. Infinite Corridor hopes that its flexible printed-circuit-board LimberBoard design, using an MIT-designed hinge, will be the answer.

The first Limberboard contains a ATMega168 microprocessor, 3-axis accelerometer, Li-ion battery, and Bluetooth, although future designs will be, ah, flexible.

Onehundred Ollie

Ollie is a pocket-sized tool designed to solve problems from tightening bolts to opening bottles.

"Ollie is world-ready with both metric and standard scales, a square that can also find any angle with the on-board protractor, includes a dual standard gauge for sizing up dowels, rod stock, wire, drill bits or bolts," Onehundred writes. The project is fully funded, and Ollie can be yours for $25.

Technical Machine Tessel

Tessel is an open-source microcontroller that is programmable in JavaScript and compatible with Node.js. The idea is that it should be as easy to develop hardware as for the Web, according to Technical Machine.

For $89, users can buy a Tessel, plus one of four modules, that plugs right into the board. Simply plug it in, then use the node package manager to install the matching library—which is printed right on the module itself.

Pebble Special Edition

The Pebble smartwatch isn't new; customers have been able to purchase it for a few months now.

What Dragon is offering is a $150 special edition of the Pebble, co-signed by Pebble founder, Eric Migicovsky and Dragon Innovation co-founder Scott N. Miller.