GOT A GOOD IDEA?

Kickstarter.com started out as a way to bring patrons together with struggling artists. Now they’ve branched out to technology, theater, food, fashion and comics. We just became technology patrons by spending $5 to back an unmanned, unsinkable robotic sailboat that can clean oil spills.

The robotic sailboat “Protei” has garnered $18,463 toward its construction goal, but most of these dollars came from other sources. Visitors to Kickstarter have contributed $3,250 so far. Contributions start at $1, and for $10,000 you can have your name emblazoned on the sailboat. Unfortunately, there are no rewards in stock or cash.

— Another idea site is Quirky.com, but we’ve been disappointed in it so far. You pay to submit an invention idea, and if enough people commit to buying the product, it gets produced—theoretically. We committed to buying an innovative mouse pad and were told it would be produced, but it never was. On the plus side, they don’t charge you if it’s not produced.

Their latest gizmo is “Switch,” a modular pocket knife, which has been made. The knife has 18 attachments that you mix and match. It’s $79, at Quirky.com.

Ahhha.com (a lot of h’s) is a brand new site that doesn’t charge you for submitting an idea.  However, the ideas submitted so far look weak. The founders say Ahhha will help you design a new product, make it, market and distribute it. They say they also plan to award prizes to contributors. That looks tough, because it’s hard to see how the site makes any money.

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