Travel innovation is everywhere, just don't look for it exclusively in travel startup or tech world.
Not all the innovation in travel is happening on the startup and tech side, in fact, not even close. The delta between travel tech and actual future of travel is huge, as we document it here every day on Skift.
One of the repositories of innovation these days that we watch closely is Kickstarter, much like a lot of other future watchers are. And on it is a fair amount of projects that may end up being in the larger travel sector, whether they are categorized as such or not.
Below are 10 projects that caught our eye, some of which are in larger tech or design or media space that end up being useful in travel, while some are directly in travel.
- This is in the mobile charging category, but very unique: using a stirling engine powered solely by heat disparities, such as a hot or cold drink, a candle, ice, etc to provide enough power to fully charge your cell phone battery. Sounds too good to be true, but the technology and the engine apparently has been around since 1800s, but the lab behind this new product is says that using modern materials and modern electronics, they were able to put them to use in ways that weren’t previously possible. Fully funded with 41 days to go, so definitely popular and anticipated.
- Traveler-friendly high capacity battery for mobile devices, which says it overcomes the shortcomings that a lot of other mobile or camera focused third party batteries or battery-cases have. Fully funded many times over with 11 days still to go, so clearly something that potential users are looking for.
- Timelapse photography is becoming big in the world of travel and outdoor photography and especially video. The Timelapse+ is a timer device for automatically triggering SLR cameras. Beyond that, it will have Low-Energy Bluetooth for connecting with accessories, including newer smartphones. Fully funded 8 tes over, and now on sale for $149.
- Aimed beyond the usual bevy of devices aimed at travelers and public computer users, this device and service offers private and secure browsing using any computer, even for home users. Using this device, IP address, location and other identifying details are shielded from the websites you visit and anyone looking to abuse your personal information, it says. SurfEasy creates an encrypted tunnel through the network so all data travelling over Wi-Fi hotspots is protected, even on unsecured networks. The project was funded many times over in 2011, and now on sale for $69.
- A fun project, a guide to ice cream destinations, a collection of stories and inspired recipes, based on travel throughout the world, in the form of a physical book or ebook. Creating these guides for Philippines, Argentina, Ohio (Columbus), Washington (Seattle) and future destinations will include Italy, New York City, Los Angeles.
- Travel documentaries are dime a dozen on Kickstarter, though the failure rate, as you can imagine, is a lot higher than other categories. But this one is an unlikely one, and that’s its appeal: about a local Kyrgyz man and his quest to make a environmentally-sustainable ski tourism project in his little known country. The project reached its goal of $10,000, just in time, and will proceed.
- Admittedly, every few months we get obsessed about a new kind of multi-purpose bag, and Kickstarter and similar sites have really accelerated this cycle. This one “Yield Picnic Bag” unfolds from bag to blanket in one zip, great for family picnics, travel and other needs. It uses a “zipper instead of seams, allowing them to unfold flat and reveal a clean surface for use indoors or out.” Fully funded and in productions now.
- An iPad stand, really? Well, this one is built specifically to prop up the tablet on tray table of a coach airline seat, turning the iPad into an adjustable, heads-up display, essentially turning it into where the seat-back TV would be. It also adjusts in elevation, tilt and orientation and the elevated design allows for use of a separate keyboard in the cramped coach airline seat. Fully funded so going forward, and priced at around $100.
- This is political statement through travel markers, and especially works in the blighted towns of upstate New York state. “They look just like the historical markers found on country roads, in front of stone houses, or near scenic overlooks all over America, but instead of commemorating the site of a battle or a place where a famous person slept, these markers deal with contemporary social issues such as gender wage disparity, global warming, illegal immigration, taxes, health care and many, many others.” Currently in the middle of large-ish fundraising of $63,515.
- A very useful service and a well defined market: a resource for parents and caregivers of children with special travel needs such as autism, food allergies, diabetes, mobility issues, etc. This language-learning audio series — audiobook/app/printed book — puts key words and phrases you need for nutrition, access, or medical assistance in easy reach during travel.
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Photo credit: Arctic Flight, an iPad stand that becomes a heads-up display in a coach airline seat.