Kickstarter is an amazing crowdfunding platform that helps bring creative projects to life, giving a fighting chance to all the great ideas out there without the capital to get off the ground. Many of those projects tie into our aim of helping you get the most from your iPhone and iPad, with creators pitching apps and accessories alike on the website.

Considering we’re slap-bang in the middle of a global pandemic, we’re trying not to go out and spend money on non-essential items. So supporting a Kickstarter project instead could be the perfect outlet for your spending – you can help a small business get off the ground, and (in most cases) you’ll get the finished product when the pandemic is over.

If you’re new to Kickstarter, pledging support is a bit like making a pre-order – your money will directly fund the product’s development, and you’ll often get an early copy for less than the eventual retail price. Plus the risk is minimal, as you’ll only be charged if the project meets its funding goal.

We’ve scoured the site to find some of the most interesting Kickstarter projects that incorporate or improve your Apple tech. Read on for three of our current faves that we think are worth backing.

Lumenate

Now here’s something we’ve not seen on the App Store before. Lumenate claims to be able to guide users into an “altered state of consciousness” using only the LED flash on the back of an iPhone. Fire up the app, close your eyes, and you’re away. The stroboscopic rhythms tap into the subconscious to create an immersive experience somewhere between deep meditation and drug-fueled psychedelia.

Though it may sound like hippy wizardry, this is actually a product designed by mechanical engineers and backed by world-leading neuroscientists. Anyone familiar with the Dreamachine experiments of the 1960s will recognize the concept, though the Lumenate team has supercharged the idea with modern technology and scientific research. When completed, it will provide a safe way to try out this kind of “mind palace” exploration – if you don’t like it, just open your eyes!

Lumenate’s creators say the app’s voice-guided sessions are perfect for self-improvement, “kickstarting valuable personal growth cycles and allowing you to understand yourself like never before.” Of course, it’s hard to know just how well this will all work in reality – but for just $10 you can help bring the project to life and nab yourself two months of full access when the app launches later this year.

If you’re curious, check out the Kickstarter page for more detail on the science behind the subconscious.

Berashield 2

iPhone cases are ten-a-penny, but for the most part they follow the same basic design – and many of them don’t offer adequate protection against drops. Berashield has a different idea, using a series of titanium plates to cover the weak spots while keeping as much of your device as possible exposed. This design is intended to maintain the feeling of using a “naked” phone without the risks. It’s certainly a striking look, especially with the red finish.

A combination of an aerospace-grade titanium backbone, a silicone pad, and shock-proof bumpers ensure your iPhone can take some serious impacts without damage. And for an extra pledge, they also make an aluminum battery and charger that connect with a super-strong magnet to provide wireless fast charging. Not only is it waterproof to IP-68 standards, but the battery even charge your phone underwater!

What really sold us on the concept is the fact that this is the second iteration of an already successful product. Berashield mark one already shipped, and the team is using customer feedback to improve it further for this next generation.

Berasheild 2 is compatible with the iPhone 8 and up, plus the smaller iPhone SE model. You can check out the Kickstarter page for more info.

PICO

As everyone settles into a new pace of life thanks to the pandemic, many of us are experimenting with houseplants for the first time. But if you don’t have a green thumb and a lot of spare time, it can be difficult to keep your flora thriving. “Watering too little can kill your plants, but so can too much,” explains PICO’s designer. “Getting it right takes time and experience. Not many of us have it.”

“Oh,” you might be thinking. “Is this an app that helps me water my plants properly?” Not quite. In fact, breaking our own roundup rules, this project doesn’t require your iPhone at all. The pots themselves do all the work. Using a smart self-watering system and LED grow lights, this is a set-it-and-forget-it approach to plant parenthood.

PICO’s “high-performance power-efficient LEDs” ensure successful growth even without natural sunlight. Three types of mount ensure it’ll fit somewhere even if you’re short of space. Just top up the water reservoir once a week or so and it automatically feeds your plants as and when they need it. Plus you can chain multiple pots together to create a whole wall display!

Sure, in some ways an automated plant waterer is an unnecessary luxury, but pre-industrial farmers probably said the same thing about the combine harvester. If nothing else, it’s a great look at how technology can be used to make things easier – read more on Kickstarter.