I am a Kickstarter sceptic. A big one. And as such I have never felt compelled to risk putting down money for something that might never actually come to fruition — until now. I just gave $US45 to a glow-in-the-dark toilet, and I don't regret it at all. Probably.
IllumiBowl is a product that, for all intents and purposes, sort of already exists. You wake up in the middle of the night to nature calling, fumble your way to the bathroom, and a motion-sensor flips on the light to lead you home. Not a wholly novel concept. But! The IllumiBowl's light changes colour every few seconds. Disco toilet.
We get a lot of pitches here at Gizmodo, so what was it about the IllumiBowl that finally melted my black, icy heart? It's fun, it's useful, and the most important factor in any decent Kickstarter: it's humanly possible. Not only does the technology already exist, but it doesn't attempt to break the laws of physics! That is a rare and beautiful thing in Kickstarter land. For instance, this air umbrella — this absurd, goddamn air umbrella — has exceeded its funding goal eight times over. It's nearly at $US100,000. That is a lot of money for something that a) doesn't have working prototypes for everything its offering and b) will only work for 15-30 minutes even if everything goes according to plan.
Which is not to say that we shouldn't support innovation, certainly. We should; our future livelihood depends on it. But throwing mass amounts money at lofty promises on a crowdfunding website probably isn't the best way to go about that. At least not until some stricter guidelines for what qualifies as a viable project start being enforced.
So instead, I have given my money to this motion-sensor illuminated toilet. A motion-sensor illuminated toilet with working prototypes, no less.
Sure, they're still rough, but getting this right is within the realm of possibility. If these kids make it to their $US20,000 goal, fantastic! I just lost $US45 but gained three awesome, colour-changing toilet bowl lights. Will I be donating to a Kickstarter again in the future? For now, let's just see how my disco toilet experiment goes.
Then again, $US250,000 for an objectively impossible "gravity-powered generator" seems like a good investment. Sure. [ Illumibowl]