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Home brewing beer is a leap of faith. In the best case scenario, aspiring brewers do some research before firing up the kettle, but even after reading up on the process, there's still plenty of guesswork involved in the first few batches. The Brewbot is a new small scale brewing appliance that automates some of the trickier parts about brewing, such as exact water quantities and temperatures, brew times, straining grains, and transferring wort, with the help of an iOS app. The appliance handles most of the dirty work, lets the brewer know when it's time to add ingredients, or when the brew is ready to ferment.

If you're not convinced the Belfast-based team behind Brewbot is serious about their system, consider that the entire team recently relocated to Portland, Oregon to study with craft brewers.

There's still a month left to get your own Brewbot.

If you've been wondering why designers have taken to cork so heartily in recent years, the Kickstarter page for the Subrr wallet sumarizes its benefits well. "Cork is as durable as leather but water resistant, and harmless. Cork oak intakes 5x more CO2 when regenerating harvested bark." California's Subrr has a Kickstarter campaign going for the wallet, available in two versions and two types of cork. The designs themselves, each hold up to 10 cards and one version has three compartments, also encourage simplicity—basically you can't carry more than you need. They've also got a cork iPhone back—available through the same campaign.

Support the Subrr wallet now on Kickstarter.



Cold drip coffee brewing, a smaller subset of the cold brew method, has an equipment problem. The cold drip machines currently available are complex, large, and pricey towers that look like they belong in a Victorian chemical lab rather than a kitchen, and can easily cost a few hundred dollars. The Cold Bruer is a much more compact version of the cold drip tower, designed to use filters from the cult classic Aeropress

The Cold Bruer is made almost entirely of glass, save for the silicone plug that regulates the drip speed. Depending on which drip speed the user chooses, a full pot can take anywhere from three to 12 hours. While it may not be much quicker than cold brewing in a french press, the drip system works as kind of a low-tech timer that can have a pot of cold brew ready in the morning.

The Cold Bruer system starts at $50 for Kickstarter backers.


We tend to like cheeky homages to the design past better than the ultraserious ones. They're often better than literal remakes. Designed by Berlin-based Axel Pfaender, the Berlin Boombox won't be mistaken for an actual '80s-era blaster upon close inspection. The cardboard boombox system features its own integrated ampiflier and speakers, and comes in an build-it-yourself kit. But from a distance, the black and white graphics capture that fresh in-your-face look of the breakdancing era. The 3.5mm jack takes input from any digital music device.

The Berlin Boombox is $80 from BiteMyApple.co

Since it launched a little more than three years ago, Kickstarter has established itself as a boon to budding designers, bringing nearly 3,000 often ingenious design concepts to some stage of development or completion. On August 22, Chicago’s MNML design studio, a crowdfunding success in its $1 million-plus campaign for the TikTok+LunaTik Watch Kits, will host a Kickstarter All-Stars night, showcasing a curated collection of some of the platform's biggest success.

 The Vers 1Q Speaker 

The 25 items on display include the following:

CST-01, Porthole, TidyTilt/JustMount, Pebble, Designing Obama, Vers 1Q, HiddenRadio, Zooka, More/ Real Stylus, Ouya, Lumio, The Glif, TikTok+LunaTik, Cosmonaut, 10-Year Hoodie, Wabi Nabe, Tylt VU, Resketch, Kern & Burn, Pinch, LUNATIK Touch Pen, Sharpener Jar, Piccolo, Biblio, Chromatic, Hex6agon, LUNATIK Taktik, and Facet.

The Kickstarter All-Stars Exhibition will be on display during the MNML Maker Mixer on Thursday, August 22 at 9pm. RSVP to attend at mnml.com then bask in the glory of the latest wave in design. 

The canvas tote bag has a dead simple design. While that simplicity makes it the best option for tasks like transporting flat stuff like records or books, the bag isn't suited for changing uses. The CarryAll from Portland's Blank Brand is a modified tote that uses clever strap design and durable fabric to convert from a tote to a briefcase or a messenger bag without any clips or knots. 

Blank Brand started in 2004 when designer Matt Geiger made a bag for his wife as a gift. Since then the company has expanded to his full-time gig, with all products manufactured in Portland, OR in a factory with the delightful name of Spooltown

Back CarryAll on Kickstarter for rewards including Blank Brand wallets, and a fresh donut delivery straight from Portland.

Photo by: Brandon Bird | "Prelude to the Magic Hour"

Brandon Bird, the artist who painted the modern day classics "No One Wants to Play Sega with Harrison Ford" and "Lazy Sunday Afternoon," the latter depicting Christopher Walken spending a leisurely day building robots in his garage, has just launched a Kickstarter campaign to paint "the greatest Sears stores in the country." He's seeking funding for a 30-day road trip starting from his home base in Los Angeles sometime in the fall in order to produce a total of ten new Sears paintings. Rewards include prints of various sizes, the original oil paintings, and at the very top level, a custom painting of a backer in front of their hometown Sears.

The funding period runs until the end of August, with possible reach goals including a gallery show, and a trip to a Sears outside of the lower 48. 

Roll-out garden planner The Nourishmat takes a bit of the guess work out of starting a new garden. The mats come with irrigation systems to regulate water, a weed barrier to reduce maintenance, and room for up to 19 types of vegetables arranged for complementary growth. Instead of regular seeds, the Nourishmat uses seed pods which require less refined soil. The designers estimate that one mat can produce an impressive 30 pounds of food per season in just a 4' x 6' space.

The Nourishmat Kickstarter campaign is just short of its goal. Mats with seed pods start at $55.

A blast of clean water at a camp site is an invaluable resource. Aquabot is a new compact water pressurizer that fits on top of most standard drinking bottles with the potential to make our time off the grid less grimy. The product works by swapping the lid of a water bottle with a hand pump made with food-grade plastic, capable of three spray patterns of varying intensity. Outside of obvious creature comfort uses like improved camp showers and hand washing, the Aquabot's Kickstarter points out it's also useful for cleaning game and fish on hunting and fishing trips without running water.

Check out the ongoing Kickstarter campaign to read more and pick up an Aquabot, starting at $29.

Fans of early photography and shutterbug steampunks will want to investigate the latest from Lomography + Russian camera brand Zenit, the Petzval lens.

The Petzval lens shot many, if not most, of the great photos of the 19th Century. Invented by Joseph Petzval in Vienna in 1840, the lens design was known for its swirly bokeh effect and ability to focus crisply on objects in the focus area while producing a dreamy blur on elements out of focus.

Zenit and Lomography reverse engineered the original 1840 Petzval lens with adjustments to make it work on modern (D)SLR cameras—so it is compatible with digital and analog cameras. The new Russian-made lens features the Petzval lens's famed swirly bokeh effect, sharpness, large f2.2 aperture, narrow depth of field, field curvature, and high contrast in multicoated glass. Worth noting: it is evidence of Lomo warming to the digital photo shooting consumer.

Check out the images below, all shot on the Petzval.

The Petzval lens is available for pre-order exclusively on Kickstarter.com.