Crowdfunding has emerged as a popular way for passion-based projects to find funding from future customers, especially those for health projects.

Founders who would rather avoid the difficult search for investors post their fledgling businesses on these platforms. Contributors are offered special perks, like advance products, signature swag, or face time with the founders as an incentive for helping to fund the project. People may contribute any amount of money, often anywhere from $1 to several thousand dollars.

A variety of interesting projects have been funded this way—projects that may not have seen the light of day otherwise.

1. OneoEight.tv

The new online yoga platform founded by yoga teacher Rachel Brathen achieved its $108,000 fundraising goal in less than 24 hours, reports Crowdfunding Insider, an achievement spurred by Brathen’s massive social media following that approaches two million. The month-long campaign raised $430,000.

Depending on the level of support, backers received a range of goods that included first access to the site, custom yoga leggings, a t-shirt, and for the biggest contributors, a Caribbean yoga retreat.

The money helped to fund video production and other operations costs.

2. BetterBack

If you’re having trouble sitting up tall while at the office all day, you’re not the only one. BetterBack is a device that creators say to wear 15 minutes each day for improved posture and reduced back pain. The device attracted nearly $1.2 million in funding on Kickstarter, helped along by plenty of press mentions in places like Fast Company.

Founders say the key to healthy posture lies in the pelvis, but most types of back support target the lumbar spine. BetterBack resembles a large belt that wearers strap around the belly, automatically training the body to sit up straighter.

3. MyTransHealth

The transgender community faces many barriers to accessing medical care, including fear and discrimination. About 19% of transgendered men and women have been refused care, according to MyTransHealth founders.

The Kickstarter raised $33,000—$13,000 over the goal—to create a free online resource connecting people who are transgendered to quality healthcare providers. Website features include doctor ratings, reviews, and customized searches. Categories for service providers will include medical, mental health, crisis care, and lawyers.

The additional funding raised will be used to improve provider lists and develop community partnerships to help more people become aware of the service.

4. YoYo Mats

If you’ve ever struggled to roll your yoga mat up at the end of your practice, or perhaps keep it rolled in the car while you drive around town, try YoYo Mats, which says it’s the world’s first self-rolling yoga mat.

The inspiration for this mat came from the slap-on wristbands that were popular decades ago. The founders thought, why not apply that same technology to relentlessly feisty yoga mats?

The mat has been carefully designed so that it rolls up only when you want it to, and not mid-down dog. The Kickstarter campaign raised $155,000, well over the $50,000 goal.

5. Oura ring

This Kickstarter literally wraps the possibility of better sleep around your finger. Oura is a computer contained within a high-tech ring that measures your body’s vital signs around the clock, automatically uploading the information to the owner’s phone. The data helps wearers sleep better and, as a result, enjoy increased health and productivity.

The computerized ring analyzes data and helps users determine how daily choices affect the quality of their sleep that night, making it possible to modify behavior and enjoy enhanced sleep. A sample alert might read:

“Your long REM sleep last night should help your mental recovery. Your earlier bedtime paid off!”

The Kickstarter collected more than $650,000, well surpassing the original $100,000 goal.

6. Sun LifeLight

This product was founded to bring light therapy into the office, where many people work all day in spaces without natural light. Funded with $10,000 on Indiegogo, the system includes a lamp that resembles an ordinary light and an app.

The light that emanates from the lamp is more than artificial sunlight, it shines sky blue, which founders say brings the “color of a bright sunny day to every workstation.” Of course, the lamp can also be used at home or any other place.

The app is used to control the lamp and also helps to recommend personalized levels of sunlight to achieve optimal health.

7. Antelope Sportswear

Supercharge your workout with muscle-activating sportswear. This Indiegogo campaign smashed its $75,000 goal and raised $514,000.

The clothes contain hidden electrodes that activate key muscles, which founders say helps people achieve fitness goals more quickly. The compression fabric resembles ordinary sportswear, but contains the powerful, German-engineered technology.

The power for the technology comes from an electronic unit known as the antelope booster, which is programmed through a corresponding mobile app.

Clothes are available for men and women, and come in a variety of styles. The suit covers nearly the entire body. Then, there’s a tank top to work the core muscles and build back strength. Pelvic floor pants help to strengthen the upper legs and pelvic area, which is sometimes a source of health problems for women as they age. Calf guards focus on the calf, and the antelope wing resembles a shrug, featuring sleeves without covering the torso.

8. HidrateMe

The smart water bottle makes it easier to stay hydrated. Drinking adequate levels of water is essential to maintain optimal health, but many people forget to chug away. This smart bottle reminds you.

The Kickstarter raised $627,000, substantially more than the $35,000 goal.

The water bottle comes in a variety of colors and includes technology that tracks how much you drink. When it’s time to drink water, the bottle lights up, the glow offering a gentle reminder to increase your intake.

With BPA-free plastic, the water bottle is dishwasher safe despite the smart technology. The bottle contains a sensor that sends data to an app on your phone. The app allows people to glance at an overview of their daily water intake to get an idea of how much more they’ll need to drink that day.

Which startup do you find most interesting?

Image by Sebastiaan ter Burg via Flickr

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