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$500k "Energy-Harvesting" Kickstarter Scam Unfolding Right Now

Unknown Lamer posted about 4 months ago | from the stolen-goa'uld-technology dept.

Wireless Networking 448

New submitter FryingLizard (512858) writes For a while I've been following the saga of the Kickstarter "iFind" Bluetooth 4.0 tracking tag. Nothing new about such tags (there are many crowdfunded examples; some have delivered, some have disappointed), but this one claims it doesn't require any batteries — it harvests its energy from electromagnetic emissions (wifi, cell towers, TV signals, etc). The creators have posted no evidence other than some slick Photoshop work, an obviously faked video, some easily disproven data, and classic bad science. So far they've picked up half a million in pledges. With six days to go until they walk off with the money, skeptics abound (10min in) including some excellent dissections of their claims. The creators have yet to post even a single photo of the magical device, instead posting empty platitudes and claims that such secrecy is necessary to protect their IP.

Using just their published figures, their claims are readily refuted, yet still backers flock in. Kickstarter appear uninterested in what can only be described as a slow-motion bank robbery, despite their basic requirement to demonstrate a prototype. It seems self-evident that such scams should not be allowed to propagate on Kickstarter, for the good of other genuine projects and the community at large. Skeptics are maintaining a Google Doc with many of the highlights of the action. Bring your own popcorn and enjoy the show."

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Thanks for the tip! (4, Funny)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | about 4 months ago | (#47304841)

I pledged $120.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47304855)

Matched FTW! Pair this up with the Canadian scheme to convert all their garbage to diesel fuel and the world's problems will be solved!

Re:Thanks for the tip! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47304889)

in other news:

a violent criminal was arrested in my area. they finally caught him. and guess what? he was black! I tried so hard to act surprised, I really did.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305243)

In other news:

A kiddy rapist was arrested in my area. They finally caught him. And guess what? He was white with a mustache! I tried so hard to act surprised, I really did.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (-1, Troll)

msauve (701917) | about 4 months ago | (#47304905)

The submitter obviously thinks that things he doesn't understand [mouser.com] are scams.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (4, Insightful)

thaylin (555395) | about 4 months ago | (#47304961)

Or maybe he thinks that when people post no proof of their claims, all data they have provided have been refuted by pretty much all sources, and the people post nothing to contradict those sources it probably is a scam.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (2, Interesting)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47305039)

Or maybe he thinks that when people post no proof of their claims, all data they have provided have been refuted by pretty much all sources, and the people post nothing to contradict those sources it probably is a scam.

Or not. I'm sorry, I don't trust kick starter campaigns. I don't donate to them, nor would I ever. But, to say what they're claiming to be able to do is impossible? That's clearly wrong. I could build an EM harvester in my livingroom in an afternoon. This isn't even that complicated technology. Can they fit in something the size of a dog tag? I dunno, I'm not a miniaturization expert. Attach that to a small battery, the bluetooth locater thing are in IC's everywhere. The only question in my mind is the size thing, so to claim this is an obvious scam is patently false.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (3, Insightful)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47305075)

To not see the glaring red flags of scamminess is patently blind.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (5, Insightful)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#47305089)

Thing is, it is being called a scam by people who are familiar with miniaturization and physics.

A classic element of pseudoscience and scams like this is to take something that has some small connection with physics but the numbers are so far off the engineering actually is impossible. This particular one is actually a pretty old 'free energy' thing, with people claiming you can collect usable amounts of energy from ambient signals. But the numbers, even though yes they are non-zero, are so tiny as to be useless.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305137)

That's just it - we live in the magical marketing society today. Facts are cliche. Engineers and Scientists are at the bottom of the social ladder. Ignore reality.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305215)

And the Tea Party is making sure that none of the kids get any of that "book larnin'" that tells us the Flintstones aren't a valid source of historical data.

Hope they enjoy their perpetual motion machine...

Re:Thanks for the tip! (1)

Deadstick (535032) | about 4 months ago | (#47305169)

...and I'll bet the filthy infidel doesn't believe we're gonna get flying cars, either.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (1)

leonardluen (211265) | about 4 months ago | (#47305309)

i know you were joking.

but we never will get flying cars, and it has nothing to do with the technology, but entirely to do with the FAA/Govt.

just look at the issues they are having with civilian operated drones right now as an example.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (4, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 4 months ago | (#47305363)

Forget civilian operated drones. Look at civilian operated cars. Take a glance at the kinds of drivers you see on the road every day and then ask yourself: "Do I really trust these people with a flying vehicle moving in three dimensions?"

Once we get self-driving cars, we might stand a chance of self-flying cars. Until then, though, flying cars would be a safety nightmare!

Re:Thanks for the tip! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47304997)

Hey, I have a bridge that I can sell you. It has toll booths already built so you really only need to know how to apply paint every few years to maintain the free flow of cash. I'm out of the country right now, doing some government level consulting in Nigeria, so if you're interested let me know what kind of deposit you are able to provide. I can provide some financing if you need as well. This could be great for all of us.

Hope to hear from you soon!

Re:Thanks for the tip! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305085)

I'm not sure what you want us to get from that link.
That RFID is a thing?
If you'd even bothered to read your own link you would know that RFID doesn't rely on ambient radiation, but rather on a strong RF signal directed at it.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (1)

plover (150551) | about 4 months ago | (#47305159)

From your link: "RFID works by rectifying a strong local signal (not ambient RF) " [emphasis mine.] The scam in TFA is that they're ignoring the same laws of physics you apparently didn't bother to read.

Pro tip: If you're going to cite a source for your argument, you probably want to make sure it's not refuting the argument you're trying to make.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (5, Insightful)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 4 months ago | (#47305149)

I suspect that many scammer Kickstarters have a mass of pledges just as fake as yours--only not intended for humor, but rather "self-giving" to create buzz and give the impression of legitimacy. I doubt very seriously that most of that $500,000 they've raised on this particular campaign is real.

But this does raise a real point. Kickstarter needs some basic donor protections and means of reporting scams. Otherwise they'll just devolve in a feeding ground for con men and no one will take any project posted there seriously.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47305179)

This is also a kick in the nuts to the SEC's proposed rules for crowdfunding startup companies, but its a great example why it has not been allowed to this point.

You could just decide to let people get scammed, some would learn and be more selected, some would never invest again, some would get fooled again. Or, you can regulate the crap out of it and make it hard for everyone. Not an easy answer.

Re:Thanks for the tip! (-1, Offtopic)

LVSlushdat (854194) | about 4 months ago | (#47305283)

The U.S. will always be at war now, until the government is bankrupt. Should have listened to Eisenhower.

Umm.. hate to break it to you, but the U.S. government *IS* bankrupt.. The world just hasn't called us on it yet.. If you don't call 17+ TRILLION DOLLARS in the hole, and not to mention an uncountable number of trillions in unfunded "entitlements" bankrupt, I don't know what to tell you... And yes, we certainly *should* have listened to Eisenhower, the last somewhat honest president.... I'm not a (R) and I'm DAMN straight NOT a (D), I'm a FUCKIN' AMERICAN, AND I'M PISSED!!!

But it's green! It works through magic! (1)

tp1024 (2409684) | about 4 months ago | (#47304849)

Everybody knows that green tech works without regard to laws of physics. Give them your money, they are green! They know how to make magic work!

Re:But it's green! It works through magic! (1)

MrBingoBoingo (3481277) | about 4 months ago | (#47304919)

For a while I've just assumed kickstarter and scams went hand in hand. Actual VC funding might go to shitty causes, but with something like this you'd expect a VC could at least ask an engineer acquaintance.

Re:But it's green! It works through magic! (1)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47305151)

A VC would be able to actually see the product, the patent, and the actual people producing it before he invested.

Re:But it's green! It works through magic! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47304993)

Dude, everyone knows magic is not green. It is a limited, non-renewable energy source. Seriously, when was the last time you saw an elf, a werewolf, or a lich? Maybe your grandfather told a story about his grandfather who knew a guy that had a great uncle with a magic ring that made him invisible. But the days of peak-magic are well in the past. And don't get me started on the carbon footprint. Do you know how much CO2 your typical dragon put out in a year? Be glad those days are far behind.

Re:But it's green! It works through magic! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305161)

The republicans harvested the magic, how else do you think they've maintained even their failing parity with the Dems? Unlimited campaign contributions? Hah.

Unfortunately they're too stupid to use it correctly.

This fake too? (2, Interesting)

0dugo0 (735093) | about 4 months ago | (#47304857)

Re:This fake too? (5, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 months ago | (#47304975)

Just because harvesting of RF energy is a legitimate field does not mean that this product is genuine.

Or to give you a car analogy, just because internal combustion engines are used to drive cars does not mean that you can run a 4 litre V8 engine at full power and get 100 miles to the gallon.

Re:This fake too? (-1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 4 months ago | (#47305061)

Just because harvesting of RF energy is a legitimate field does not mean that this product is genuine.

Or to give you a car analogy, just because internal combustion engines are used to drive cars does not mean that you can run a 4 litre V8 engine at full power and get 100 miles to the gallon.

ok, WHY is it disingenuous? What about their claims don't make sense then? They plan to make a product that is clearly possible, so why is it a scam?

I read through a lot of that supposed "proof" and all I can find is some general wishy washy "Well, it wouldn't get enough power from the air" That's not nearly as definitive as the summary makes it out to be.

Re:This fake too? (5, Insightful)

OzPeter (195038) | about 4 months ago | (#47305123)

ok, WHY is it disingenuous? What about their claims don't make sense then? They plan to make a product that is clearly possible, so why is it a scam?

Take a look at the google doc. It has a lot of technical information as to why the claims of *this* kickstarter project are suspect.

Re:This fake too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305155)

The devil is in the details.

It is a fake. They didnt show the required hard science to prove theyre not attempting the impossible (as in: something that requires such a dense electric field, that it will not be available anywhere that is not close to extreme high voltage lines).

Powering a bluetooth transmitter *is* going to require a reasonable eletric field, you wont get that from human-safe eletric field levels. Youd get it from a powering station or some other field generator, but thats not what theyre proposing to do.

Re:This fake too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305187)

Well not with that attitude! :)

Re:This fake too? (3, Interesting)

Rei (128717) | about 4 months ago | (#47305299)

Or to give you a car analogy, just because internal combustion engines are used to drive cars does not mean that you can run a 4 litre V8 engine at full power and get 100 miles to the gallon

Sure you can, if you run it in pulse-and-glide mode or use it as an intermittent generator, in a very light / streamlined vehicle. Even if you want to add on a requirement that it has to be run continuously, you could probably pull it off by going to extremes with your streamlining (going for a Cd of 0,1 or less and a cross section of under 0,5m... basically a little teardrop 1-man reclined capsule going at incredible speeds, thus quickly racking up those "miles" to compensate for the fast fuel consumption) and/or using an electrolysis cell to regenerate hydrogen fuel using whatever power your engine has in surplus (wasteful, but better than throwing away the surplus power from your full-throttle requirement for no purpose). Hmm, that's another thing one could do to game your challenge, one could mess with the fuel mix and the fuel-air ratio; some fuels or fuel progenitors are a lot denser than gasoline (more energy per gallon) - for example, using aluminum powder to generate hydrogen for the V8, a gallon of aluminum powder contains 2 1/2 times more energy than a gallon of gasoline, even with the losses in hydrogen generation it'll still leave you way ahead of the game. And there's all sorts of other possible ways one could tweak the engine, too, to reduce both its consumption (and correspondingly, power output) at full power. Including the easiest one, just tweak the throttle control so that full throttle is actually a very low power output. You could also get some small efficiency gains by sabotaging the pollution controls.

Re:This fake too? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305041)

No, because WA U have published peer reviewed data to back up their claim. Unlike this kickstarter, which has published random data that doesn't even stand up to the most cursory checks. Hopefully you can spot the difference.

Re:This fake too? (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about 4 months ago | (#47305235)

Look at the size of the antennas they are using, and compare them to the size of the iFind tags. Note how the legit project is going for much lower frequencies where there is much more energy available (hence the larger antenna), while iFind are trying to harvest intentionally low power wifi on a band with poor propagation. Look at the size of the PCBs and the size of the energy storage available in each design.

Wireless energy harvesting is an exciting field, but it can't do what these guys are claiming I'm afraid.

In a rush.. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47304859)

...so only scan read the article, but that sounds great. I've just pledged $100. Looking forward to it arriving.

Calling it iFind (0)

Chrisq (894406) | about 4 months ago | (#47304861)

Calling it iFind ... they will need all the money they can get for the Apple suite

Re:Calling it iFind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305003)

You mean iSuit.

Re:Calling it iFind (1)

skovnymfe (1671822) | about 4 months ago | (#47305031)

Apple doesn't own iNames.

Re:Calling it iFind (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#47305177)

They're going to rent the Apple suite? If it's at the Hilton, then it's obvious they'll need all the money they can get!

Re:Calling it iFind (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305197)

It's named for all the investors who will probably be saying "iFind a bunch of money missing from my account, but no product."

Weren't these guys advertising on slashdot? (1)

bangular (736791) | about 4 months ago | (#47304863)

I swear I remember a period of a few weeks where I'd see ads for this product on slashdot...

Re:Weren't these guys advertising on slashdot? (4, Interesting)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47304981)

If you want a chuckle, read the Dr. Paul McArthur "bio" post.

https://www.kickstarter.com/pr... [kickstarter.com]

Re:Weren't these guys advertising on slashdot? (3, Interesting)

NotDrWho (3543773) | about 4 months ago | (#47305239)

The best part is

Some people have wondered why I do not have a robust presence online. Well, unfortunately, my identity was once stolen. And when that happens, you think twice about posting anything online. I have not even created a LinkedIn profile.

I think I had a Nigerian prince write me last week with the same story.

Re:Weren't these guys advertising on slashdot? (1)

ebcdic (39948) | about 4 months ago | (#47305327)

There are ads on Slashdot???

If they walk away with this money... (1)

Kensai7 (1005287) | about 4 months ago | (#47304867)

Game over for Kickstarter. This will bite them hard...

Re:If they walk away with this money... (1)

governorx (524152) | about 4 months ago | (#47304991)

Kickstarter will be fine. I mean 'Solar friggin roadways!'.

Re:If they walk away with this money... (2)

Rei (128717) | about 4 months ago | (#47305373)

Hey, at least they're technologically feasible. Anti-slip glass exists, LEDs exists, resistive heaters exist, solar cells exist, etc. The complaints with that one were always over the economics, in particular, their ridiculous snow-melting idea, which would take about a dollar at average US prices per square foot if you assume 100% efficiency to melt just a couple inches of snow (the crazy thing is, there are better snow-prevention/removal solutions that don't waste that much energy... but the people running the program didn't even take the time to do the simple energy requirements calculation for melting to realize that their particular solution is a non-starter)

This case is even more ridiculous because what they're claiming here isn't even technologically possible.

Kickstarter/Amazon still get their cut (5, Interesting)

EmagGeek (574360) | about 4 months ago | (#47304875)

This is why there is zero oversight from Kickstarter/Amazon - they get their 20% cut if the projects gets funded. There's no way Amazon.com is going to walk away from $125,000 in free money when they have absolutely no risk.

(We've heard this song before - from ISPs back in the day who claimed they were "common carriers" and "only providing a network" to avoid being charged as accessories to piracy).

They'll take their 125k, and if questioned, simply state they were providing a platform, and that they are not responsible for what users do with it.

Re:Kickstarter/Amazon still get their cut (1)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 4 months ago | (#47305001)

If they are wise than that is NOT what they'll do.
If it is a scam and word gets around that they didn't care then the income from Kickstarter would stop quite fast.
Even if they don't care for the platform itself but only the revenue stream from it they should actively block scams.

Re:Kickstarter/Amazon still get their cut (1)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#47305117)

Maybe this is why they 'opened up' the process and removed the requirement for review. Now they can plausibly say they were not aware of projects like this.

Re:Kickstarter/Amazon still get their cut (2)

Mr D from 63 (3395377) | about 4 months ago | (#47305211)

I think its more of removing the risk of a scam getting through the initial review, which would provide a liability path.

Re:Kickstarter/Amazon still get their cut (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305207)

And what if it is not a scam? There are a lot of people running around with their hair on fire accusing this group (which consists of people with some pretty serious credentials, I might add) of very serious felonies with only speculation and supposition.

Re: Kickstarter/Amazon still get their cut (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305029)

I have no problem with that. It's like gambling. Some people informed and aware of the odds and can make money others just dump money into slot machines hoping for a payoff. You aren't forced to go into the casino and they could care less if you win money.

Re:Kickstarter/Amazon still get their cut (2)

jellomizer (103300) | about 4 months ago | (#47305225)

There's no way Amazon.com is going to walk away from $125,000 in free money when they have absolutely no risk.

No Risks except from legal action, possibly a class action suite. Distrust in the service and decline of its brand name. Lack of repeat customers and new projects being posted as they are afraid they will be considered a scam project as well.

Some Public Records ... You Know ... Just in Case (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 4 months ago | (#47304885)

So a whois.net domain name lookup on their site yielded nothing. And there are suspiciously no patents mentioning "wetag" or "ifind" and the names they listed (Dr. Paul McArthur) are in patents but for cold fusion BS in California.

Surely, though, they must have registered the "iFind" trademark? And if you search on TESS we find:

Owner (APPLICANT) WeTag, Inc. CORPORATION TEXAS 3309 San Mateo Drive Plano TEXAS 75023

With an attorney listed as "Richard G. Eldredge" which corresponds to a local attorney [dfwpatentlaw.com] . Before you deploy the door kickers to lynch somebody, that address is just somebody's $200,000 house and could possibly be a random address used by a jerk. Remember that it's entirely possible that this is all a front by some other actor and someone was paid western union/bitcoin to register this trademark through this attorney without realizing they were just being used by literally anyone in the world ... of course, kickstarter should have even better transaction details (hopefully).

Re:Some Public Records ... You Know ... Just in Ca (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305167)

Actually, according to Zillow, the house was rented for $1,250 in May 2013. It isn't even an owner-occupied house.

Re:Some Public Records ... You Know ... Just in Ca (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305381)

US Patent 6788199

so how is Kickstarter not liable? (5, Interesting)

gbjbaanb (229885) | about 4 months ago | (#47304887)

If they allow projects to float their rules,and yet still take pledges?

There's a lawsuit waiting to happen here, it could be as lucrative as posting a dodgy kickstarter campaign!

hmm..

1. post obviously crap kickstarter
2. pledge yourself
3. complain vigorously when you "lose" your money
4. start a class-action suit against kickstarter for not checking things out
5. profit!!!

no need for ??? on this one!

Re:so how is Kickstarter not liable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305013)

Typically it's the lawyers who make out in a class-action. The plaintiffs generally see a fraction of their losses. The bullshit argument that is made in favor of this is that the important thing is to teach the defendant a lesson. So unless you're a lawyer... "???" is very much required.

Re:so how is Kickstarter not liable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305059)

3.5 Pass the bar exam.

Re:so how is Kickstarter not liable? (5, Funny)

wbr1 (2538558) | about 4 months ago | (#47305043)

I am just gonna start a kickstarter to pay a lawyer to sue kickstarter.

Kickflouter (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305083)

Just floating an idea.

Re:so how is Kickstarter not liable? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 4 months ago | (#47305095)

Do people who are defrauded out of money often make a profit in court? I would think that at absolute best you would make your money back + lawyer's fees.

Why would you even be awarded more than you lost?

Re:so how is Kickstarter not liable? (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | about 4 months ago | (#47305305)

4 needs to be "start a class-action suit against the ACTUAL fraudsters". IIRC there was a story floating around the internet about such a lawsuit recently and the backers won.

Of course, this is because the kickstarter was a scam. If the actual product isn't delivered but the company was acting in good faith, you have no case. You're not guaranteed to get anything out of a kickstarter; it's an investment, and some investments fail.

Re:so how is Kickstarter not liable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305339)

If they allow projects to float their rules,and yet still take pledges?

float [google.com]

flout [google.com]

Big deal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47304913)

What's the big deal? No secret sauce, it's an RFID tag, NFC, there are quite a number of them out there now, big deal.

Re:Big deal (4, Insightful)

queazocotal (915608) | about 4 months ago | (#47305173)

Cars exist, right? Foldable bikes exist, and there are quite a number of them out there.
Buy my foldable 400MPH 400 miles to the gallon car which folds up into a suitcase, only $1K.

$500K is not enough to develop custom silicon for the task. They're using someone elses chip.
The format can't capture enough power, due to unfortunate laws of physics to do bluetooth pairing.
Batteryless NFC RFID tags work with a comparatively huge field to power them. (millions of times as
strong as a nearby wifi router)

Re:Big deal (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#47305379)

Not NearFC and not RFID. These actually work but do not harvest energy. RFID also needs a specialized, pretty powerful sender and you do not have anything suitable in a smartphone.

Raw lemon (1)

BlackPignouf (1017012) | about 4 months ago | (#47304915)

https://www.indiegogo.com/proj... [indiegogo.com] also was a scam, purportedly concentrating diffuse radiation.

Re:Raw lemon (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 months ago | (#47305189)

The Internet says "rawlemon scam" is a revolutionary new technology. Everywhere. Provide that this is a scam, because I can't find any such evidence, and there is a lot of tech that looks stupid because I don't understand it but is actually brilliant and awesome.

Re:Raw lemon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305275)

My armchair skeptic guess is that PV cells are getting dirt cheap now and the giant (acrylic?) sphere lens is probably itself as expensive as a PV cell the size of the lens, that would have captured the exact same amount of light that was focused through the lens, so there's no point in buying a tiny PV cell and a giant ball to focus light onto the tiny PV cell.

Patent pending? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47304929)

Ok so they have a patent pending, or claim to have it. Can't we look it up through the patent office?

I'd rather crowdfund a Star Trek movie. (2)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 4 months ago | (#47304931)

I'd rather crowdfund a Star Trek movie - at least there are some nice ones already made that way.

Re:I'd rather crowdfund a Star Trek movie. (2)

Opportunist (166417) | about 4 months ago | (#47305223)

Just don't clean your glasses for a few days and look at the sun and you'll get the same amount of lensflares, why do you need crowdfunding for that?

Only 500k? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47304943)

This is like the solar roadways on Indiegogo. (2.2 million dollar scam)

How this works... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47304989)

They start with 100k, spend a few days on presentations, make a marketing splash and start donating their own money to give credibility to their scam. "Look, loads of people are investing, surely they're not idiots."

Simple, (1)

Dan Askme (2895283) | about 4 months ago | (#47304999)

Too many people in the world with far too much money to burn, and, no common sense.

To begin with, iFind tag doesn’t have a battery. Instead, it uses our patent pending EM Harvesting technology and stores the energy in a uniquely designed power bank

I smell BS. Unless, these guys have invented a new power source system unknown to NASA/Goverment and billion dollar tech companies? Yep, bullshit.

Re:Simple, (1)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | about 4 months ago | (#47305193)

Or it's an RFID.

Re:Simple, (4, Funny)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | about 4 months ago | (#47305209)

Not to mention that if they store the energy in a bank, they're going to lose most of it to transaction fees.

Re:Simple, (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#47305335)

The problem is that their tech is in theory feasible (and used in some very low-energy swarm sensors), but that the numbers do not work out for their application at all. One problem is that bluetooth requires way too much power for this and a smartphone does not have a low-energy receiver. And doing anything audible with harvested energy? There are several orders of magnitude missing in what you can harvest and store.

ALLLLLL ABOARD !! the crazy train (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305007)

Ha ha h a h a h a h a h a h a a h !! Next they'll be trading in the Airs for a Surface !!

And so it goes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305037)

A fool and his money are soon parted

Lets list other free energy communication scams.. (0, Troll)

sjwt (161428) | about 4 months ago | (#47305051)

Man, this is good to see, here is another one to hit up,
  It claims to allow you to receive and create an auditable sound of most AM broadcasts [wikipedia.org]

It openly states no battery or power source is needed other then the ambient radio signals.. total bull shit obvisouly

Please for the love of god ppl, get a clue, free energy claims are 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999% likely BS, but read what is being written, no 'free energy' here, just the claim of converting energy.

Re:Lets list other free energy communication scams (3, Insightful)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#47305301)

They do not have the antenna and storage for what they claim they can do. There are limits what you can capture in something this small and they are rather low. and way below what Bluetooth needs.

the problem is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305079)

pseudo-intellectuals (read hipsters) who think kickstarter is gods way of communicating ideas with the world...

Give Kickstarter a break, they're busy (2)

drainbramage (588291) | about 4 months ago | (#47305093)

Give Kickstarter a break, they're very busy protecting us from conservatives.

False Hope is the Easiest Sell (4, Insightful)

Andover Chick (1859494) | about 4 months ago | (#47305109)

From Snake Oil in the Old West to weight loss scams, baldness fixes, male vitality enhancers, or Breatharians, the easiest thing to sell is false hope since it tricks the buy into thinking about only what they want, not what is actually possible.

Wait for the kneejerk of the kickstarter (1)

MrKaos (858439) | about 4 months ago | (#47305113)

And so ends what was once a good way for ideas to find funding. Trust some asshole to come in and fuck it up for everyone.

Why not this one? (1)

jythie (914043) | about 4 months ago | (#47305135)

Strange thing is, I see free energy or alternative physics projects pop up on Kickstarter now and then, and usually they are shut down pretty quickly. I am curious why this one was allowed to continue when normally they are pretty good about not allowing them.

Solar roadway? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305139)

What about that kickstarter for a solar roadway? That sounds like total BS too.

Re:Solar roadway? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 4 months ago | (#47305157)

The technology for the solar roadways is completely legit, it's the business case for it that's total BS.

Re:Solar roadway? (1)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#47305247)

Indeed. The business case for these locator tokens is completely clear and seems to be working: Take the money and run.

Will they get away with this? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 4 months ago | (#47305141)

If (when) they just take the money and run, are they legally in the clear? If so, I think I'm about to switch careers...

Deja vu (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305201)

I recall a scam project around this time last year for Kobe beef jerky [kickstarter.com] that just got suspended shortly before the campaign ends. I wonder if Kickstarter will do the same at the last minute.

Nice, 1/2 mill for a few pieces of plastic (2)

gweihir (88907) | about 4 months ago | (#47305231)

And no, they cannot do what they claim. It is possible to build locators like they describe, but they would need to be passive. There is just no way to harvest and store enough in something this small. RFID tags derive all their energy from the sender that queries them, and with good antennas you can go up to, say 30m with them. But that is the limit these days and it is for a passive device that has its energy specifically and targeted beamed to it by the sender. For a harvesting device, you get very low power radio, almost no computing power and a few meters in reach and that is with a specialized receiver, not a general-purpose cell-phone.

EIEIO (1)

JimDempsey (2947637) | about 4 months ago | (#47305253)

A long time ago a farmer discovered that the bailing wire he was using to tie his rickety silo together was electrified by the RF from the overhead power lines. Not wanting to let a good thing go to waste, the improved the hookup and started drawing power. When the power company found out, they sued... and won. Therefore, legal precedence has been established that you cannot siphon off power without permission of the producer of that power.

If you're an adult and you haven't figured out how (1)

mark_reh (2015546) | about 4 months ago | (#47305257)

to keep track of things like your wallet and keys by habitually keeping them in a single place, you probably shouldn't be walking around with either anyway. You should probably be holding a real adult's hand when you cross streets, too. Using technology to enable people to continue to be dopes is not a good idea.

I can see where this would have value for people with dementia. If would help caregivers locate personal items that may be needed.

When I think about how many airheads are walking around, I can't help but think that if it works the project will make phat stax. I wonder if their target market will be able to find their credit cards to place an order...

Not half as bad as videogame kickstarters (4, Interesting)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 4 months ago | (#47305279)

Videogame kickstarters have (from experience) more false claims than any other Kickstarter type I've ever seen. For instance, there was one that Retsupurae covered on Youtube yesterday, where a person claiming to be a "former Square-Enix employee" was trying to get people to crowdfund a remake of Chrono Trigger... made entirely in RPG Maker. Apart from the fact that said "former employee" didn't have the rights to Chrono Trigger, it was pretty clear that he had never actually coded anything before. In comparison, there have been several groups attempting to remake the game, all of whom were doing it for free. They were all sent C&D letters and stopped - but this guy didn't have to because his Kickstarter came nowhere close to getting funded.

There was also the guy who tried to make a 3D version of Monster Girl Quest. Compared to the Chrono Trigger guy he was a little better off rights-wise: he didn't own the rights to the real Monster Girl Quest, which hadn't even released its third and final installment when the Kickstarter went up, but MGQ wasn't registered in the United States yet and was only purchaseable through Japanese websites. The developer of MGQ is small enough that I don't think they would have the resources to sue, but they didn't have to - the guy didn't make funding, which was probably for the best, seeing as he featured his family (including his son, who was like five years old when he made the Kickstarter) in a pitch video for a "clean" version of an h-game.

If Kickstarter can't catch basic things like these, where they're clearly an infringement of copyright that could be discovered in a matter of seconds (both of the Kickstarters I mentioned had the names of the games they were stealing from clearly listed in their summaries) there's no way they're going to catch bad science.

Money Laundering (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305349)

Doesn't make sense that despite the evidence against them, people would continuing pledging funds.

Seems like an attempt to clean a few thousand stolen credit cards.

Actual PhD students getting slandered? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47305371)

Before the witch hunt begins, someone should kindly ask this guy, one of the listed affiliates:
http://www.ifp.illinois.edu/~zwang119/
whether he knowingly has his name on this project. From the looks of his research, he does nothing with hardware. And so someone may have just listed him.

If it actually is him, this can be roped in really fast by either contacting his academic advisor and if necessary, the chair of the department or a Dean. This would create such horrible publicity for U. Illinois that action should be swift and decisive.

Look, if people really doubt the science (and I do: wireless electromagnetic power transission is really only a near field phenomena because those contributions to the E and B fields that can drive currents usefully drop much harder than 1/r).

Now go and be nice, he's probably a victim too.

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