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Best and worst of crowdfunding: End-of-the-world fitness and pointless wireless

This week in crowdfunding we’re looking at two of the most common first-world complaints – a lack of motivation to exercise, and the day-destroyer that is forgetting to charge your phone. The fitness issue is tackled in a cool, creative way. The flat phone battery? Well, you’re probably still going to have to keep a second charger at work.

Apocalypse Survival Training on Kickstarter


Based on the massively cringe-worthy pitch video, I may come to regret the endorsement of this project. But the idea is cool, original, and fills a gap in the market.

For most people exercise is a painful, boring chore. We do it because we feel like we should, not because we enjoy it, and as a consequence it’s easy to put off for weeks, months and years at a time.

Apocalypse Survival Training is the first series from Imaginactive – a company seeking to create and corner the market on exertainment (and terrible portmanteaux).

So what is it? “An app-delivered radio play series that drops you into the heart of an action story, to work out off headphones or speakers in the company of some fairly unhinged characters”.

Apocalypse Survival Training characters

Your fellow survivors: Cass, Beatrice, Trigger, Bay, Vix, Sarah and Thomas. (Art by Mark Williams)

It aims to make exercise fun by turning you into the hero of an adventure story.

AST Season 1 is a progressive full body and mind/body workout set during an apocalyptic alien attack on London*. You are dropped in with a dysfunctional group of survivors of the initial assault, who are forced to band together to get through London to try to halt the invasion.
(*though the story is set in London, the programme can be played anywhere.)

So rather than running and doing push-ups out of a begrudging sense of ‘because otherwise I might die aged 40’, you do them because if you don’t you might die right now!

Plus each episode is 30 minutes in length – that’s an exercise commitment harder to justify not doing than doing.

Sure, it’s not going to appeal to everyone, but my personal experience tells me that people who enjoy alien apocalypse adventures are generally reluctant exercisers.

And it clearly has found a market, as over £12,000 has been pledged – well in excess of the £10,000 goal.

If you’d like to get a terror-sweat workout with Apocalypse Survival Training, a pledge of £10 (around $18) will get you the app and entire first series – expected delivery next October. Funding will finish on October 31.

EnergyPad on Pozible


We’ve all been there – you forget to put your phone on charge overnight and have to leave the house with 12 per cent battery. You get to work and ask to borrow someone’s charger, but everyone’s moved on from 2009, so no one’s chargers work on your iPhone 3GS.

Wouldn’t it be so much easier if we just had wireless chargers, ones that would charge any and every phone, no matter then make, model or age?

Unfortunately, at this point in time, wireless chargers don’t offer that kind of convenience, because you have to own a phone that is wireless compatible. If your phone doesn’t have Qi compatibility – although it is worth pointing out that an increasing number of phones do – then you’ll need a Qi-compatible case to fit your phone to charge it wirelessly.

And that sort of defeats the purpose, doesn’t it? It’s just one more thing – not unlike a standard charger – for you to have to remember if you want to juice-up your phone.

Which brings us to the EnergyPad, and its quickly debunkable benefits.

Standard wired chargers are restricted to individual devices and reduce mobility.
The EnergyPad isn’t restricted to individual devices per se, but if your device isn’t Qi enabled, then you’ve got a better chance of charging your phone’s battery by yelling obscenities at it.

If you want to charge any iPhone or most Samsung phones on the EnergyPad, you’ll need to buy a case, and the company are only making cases for the iPhone 5, 5s, 6, 6 Plus, and the Samsung Galaxy S5 and Note 4.

How is that not restricted to individual devices? And what’s the advantage of a case that makes your phone wirelessly chargeable over a case which acts as a back-up battery?

In an age where everyone seems to own a mobile device, the power supply has become a bottleneck. Wired charging is in the past, cordless charging will rise to dominate.
The EnergyPad can fit one phone on it at any given time. So even if every person in your home or office has a phone that can be wirelessly charged, how is the EnergyPad going to ease the power-supply bottleneck, if only one phone can be charged at a time?

When the novelty wears off, you go back to wired.
The EnergyPad isn’t a novelty?

All my criticisms of the EnergyPad can be levelled at any wireless charger. Fact is, until the major manufacturers get on board with wireless charging, all wireless charging pads will be a novelty.

On the plus side, the EnergyPad is water and dust resistant, it’s the slimmest wireless charger on the market, and the coolest (in a literal sense – it doesn’t get as hot as the others). But do you really care what your charger looks and feels like? And has water or dust ever been a problem for any of your other chargers?

And when you can buy a USB cord for a few dollars, would you be willing to pay $55 for one of these pads plus a single case to charge your phone?

I want a wireless bank in my home – somewhere I can place my phone, tablet, camera and computer, and they’ll charge without the need for exterior cases. That’s the wireless dream. Not this.

At time of writing, the EnergyPad has raised $US728 of a $US4,898 goal. Funding will continue until November 28.

About the author

Joe was Junior Vice-President at Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net until it was bought out by Bill Gates. He now subedits for Conversant Media and considers it a step up.

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