Putting the fun in funding: 8 weird and wacky crowdsourcing projects

Lunar One Mission is sending an unmanned probe to the South Pole of the moon to drill into the satellite and study its geological composition. At the same time, it is placing a time capsule in the borehole that will hold digital memory boxes from ind
Lunar One Mission is sending an unmanned probe to the South Pole of the moon to drill into the satellite and study its geological composition. At the same time, it is placing a time capsule in the borehole that will hold digital memory boxes from individuals, as well as their DNA, in the form of a strand of hair. -- PHOTO: KICKSTARTER.COM SCREENGRAB

As of Thursday morning, a Kickstarter project to bury a time capsule on the moon has got more than £220,000 (S$449,000) in funds.

Lunar One Mission is sending an unmanned probe to the South Pole of the moon to drill into the satellite and study its geological composition.

At the same time, it is placing a time capsule in the borehole that will hold digital memory boxes from individuals, as well as their DNA, in the form of a strand of hair.

The lure of space has inspired more than 2,400 people to support the project, even though lift-off may not happen for a decade.

What makes some projects take off and leave others grounded? It's hard to say.

This year, a project on kickstarter to make a potato salad raised more than US$50,000 (S$65,000).

But there are some projects out there that make asking for funding to make a potato salad seem almost reasonable. Here are eight such projects.

1. The Buy Nothing Experiment

GP Nothing 2011em

"Saying you will buy nothing is pretty easy. What about doing it?" goes the sales pitch for this "conceptual art" project.

Backers were to get their names added to a digital word cloud - one time for each dollar donated. The project set a goal of US$10,000 and got US$5.

Looks like most people still prefer to buy things.

2. The Cube and the Tarc

"What if your desktop lost all of its bad features?" Euclidion Developments asked.

Their answer is the Cube, which is basically an aluminium cube. Yes, that's all.

Gp Cube 2011em

But it can't beat the Tarc, which stands for Thought Attenuated Resonance Communicator.

GP Tarc 2011em

The pebble-like object "amplifies and focuses thought waves. Hold between your fingers and your thoughts become amplified. A little practice is required", says the Indiegogo campaign page.

3. Graphing the deliciousness of a chicken burrito

GP Burrito 2011em

Visual artist Noboru Bitoy asked for US$8.10 to find out just how delicious a chicken burrito from his local Chipotle was.

He then filmed himself eating it, and scored it a "yum". He got US$1,050 for his efforts. I give this a score of "hmmm".

4. Crystal bacon

GP Crystal 2011em

Bacon, in crystal! "Bacon is awesome. Crystal Bacon is awesomer." says Greg Kiesow who received US$2,786 for his pork-inspired sculpture.

No, you can't eat it, which is the whole point of crystal bacon, isn't it?

5. The Watermelon Strap

GP Watermelon 2011em

Always wanted a custom-made strap for that special watermelon in your life? Look no further.

The klutzy founders of this quirky idea say: "The idea behind Watermelon Straps was simple. During our July 4th vacation, we purchased a watermelon at the grocery store. It was a pain carrying it around and lifting it in/out of the shopping cart. The plastic bag wasn't big enough to fit the watermelon either. Then, when we got home and in the kitchen we accidentally dropped it on the floor trying to hold it right and the watermelon broke!"

They even posted a production schedule in the hope that watermelon growers would order the straps. It raised US$332 out of the US$25,000 projected.

6. NEO Neurophone

GP Neuro 2011em

This project has got more than US$400,000 in funding, and is one of the top performers on Indiegogo.

Dr Patrick Flanagan, who claims to be a good friend of Deepak Chopra, says the device will send gentle ultrasonic waves to the brain that balance the left and right hemispheres and - for many - boost their IQ.

Hundreds of people backed it and want their brains examined, I mean, enhanced.

7. Axent Wear Cat Ear Headphones

GP Axent 2011em

Who knew that cat ear headphones would be so in demand? This project asked for US$250,000 to fund earphones that could also blast music from cat-ear speakers.

It has raised US$2,772,803, and is closing on Nov 22.

8. universal boop zone.2012 burningman )'(

GP Universal 2011em

It raised US$500 and reached its purported goal - whatever it was.

We can't figure it out either.

chuimin@sph.com.sg