Bicycle Quad-Copters of the Mind: The Most Innovative Crowdfunding in 2013

By Brinkley Warren

In 2013, 3 million people from 214 countries on all 7 continents collectively pledged over $480 million which resulted in 19, 911 projects on Kickstarter alone. We live in amazing times. People are even launching satellites into outer space with crowdfunding!

I love watching new technology achievements involving human travel — and that’s why my favorite Kickstarter project this year was Altas — this massive quad-copter powered by 1 guy on a bike….because when I see it or think about it, I can’t help but think about history and it gives me the chills. Google Vimāna to see what I mean.

Those alchemist flying-machines, like something out of Waterworld — all those illustrated prototypes did in fact exist not only in someone’s mind, but in early prototypes or models of one kind or another, all a vision of the same idea trying to come to life, all associated with a common desired end-state. Da vinchi’s “aerial screw” combined with the glory of the Montgolfier brothers’ balloon. This is the magic of human imagination. Insight comes from decades and centuries of failure, learning from failures, and having vision and passion to keep getting after it. It took Edison over 10,000 failed attempts before the lightbulb lit up the world. This notion of man-powered human flying machines seems crazy, and yet it’s an idea that won’t seem to go away.

2013’s bike-quadcopter achievement is so basic and pure — the magic of a new idea that makes you realize that it’s not new at all, but a representation of one of our most ancient imaginative pursuits and an idea that has been chased for over a thousand years, but our collective conscious finally putting all the pieces together with the help of digital computing, networks, the hive mind and Kickstarter.

This project was barely funded, under $40k — and yet I think it is my favorite Kickstarter project of 2013, because it represents the long-term path of innovation, from ancient history all the way finally to 2013. That makes it a meta-idea, and I love meta-ideas. It’s meta because it’s around the idea of extending human consciousness and empowering it to travel, to fly in fact — as easily as riding a bike. So the idea has traveled through centuries to get to this point — and it is an idea about travel.  Grateful to be living in these magic times.

The bicycle quad-copter of the mind. Just imagine where it can go from here.

In addition to Atlas, it was a transcendent year for crowdfunding movies. As a film junkie, I love that Jeremy Saulnier’s Blue Ruin won at Cannes and Inocente won an Oscar. I’m really proud of the movies my friends are making through crowdfunding also. My friend Dave Becker’s documentary about the Catskill mountains is due to be release in 2014, and my friend Jason Miller’s rockumentary about Of Montreal should be also — I expect both to do well on the festival circuit.

To see more of the best Kickstarter projects of 2013, check out the Year in Kickstarter:

What about you? What was your favorite crowdfunding project in 2013? Why?