Five Genius Ideas That Would Make da Vinci Proud

Since its inception in 2009, Kickstarter has successfully funded over 55,000 projects — not bad for an independent startup with fewer than 100 employees. But the real credit belongs to every well-to-do aunt, benevolent employer, and scrappy friend who helped fund these pipe dreams — and of course, the inventors themselves. After all, without them there'd be no such thing as a Quadcopter Fight Club.

Da Vinci's Demons, a Starz original series that chronicles the turbulent life and career of genius Leonardo da Vinci, serves to celebrate a certain kind of creativity found in abundance on Kickstarter. Wouldn't it be awesome to bring that celebration off-screen and into the lives of visionaries? Here's your opportunity: choose your favorite Kickstarter from the five choices below and Studio@Gawker will contribute $2,500 to the project that best demonstrates the genius of Leonardo.

Mohu Channels

Five Genius Ideas That Would Make da Vinci Proud

via Kickstarter

Channel surfing can easily turn into channel drowning when you venture out of your comfort zone in search of a new show to watch. It's a tale as old as time: one minute you're in familiar cooking channel territory, the next you're surrounded by televangelists. Enter Mohu Channels. You can give the channels you actually watch priority placement and stream shows through apps like Netflix and Hulu without switching your input source back and forth. Best of all, you don't even need cable to use it — Mohu Channels uses an HDTV antenna to scan for all available OTA (over-the-air) channels in your area. Basically, it's everything good about TV in one simple package.

X-Space: A Library Designed and Built by Students

Five Genius Ideas That Would Make da Vinci Proud

via Kickstarter

In Berkeley, CA, 108 eighth-grade students are designing and building their own environment to read, relax, explore, and discover in. While some might call it a library, the students at REALM Charter School prefer X-Space. From the Kickstarter page: "For us, X is something that can be anything, and we thought that would be the perfect place to explore." D'awwww.

The students have collaborated to design bookmarks, book stamps, book bags, and STAX: a custom shelving system made from hundreds of stacked X's (pictured above). The STAX shelves will hold 3,000 books (which they need funding to afford). They also need funding for construction materials, lighting, fixtures, hardware, technology, software, subscriptions, periodicals and e-books. If this project doesn't tug at your dork-strings, what will?

Lathon 3D Printer

Five Genius Ideas That Would Make da Vinci Proud

via Kickstarter

3D printers are ever-ubiquitous in theory, but they still remain belligerently unaffordable. So Georgia Tech grad Nohtal Alex Partansky created the LATHON with cost efficiency in mind, producing a 3D printer for half the price of comparable machines. (It's currently $1,400, for early adopters.) Aside from its price, it boasts a 12 x 9 x 8-inch build volume that prints large, high-quality items (like this Iron Man mask), has dual-nozzle printing capabilities, and supports up to eight materials.

Fluux LiquiMetal

If you're looking to level up from plants and Zen gardens, consider Fluux LiquiMetal for your next desktop distraction. What is LiquiMetal? Fluux Design Lab founder Krunal Patel explains: "LiquiMetal consists of a cylindrical glass capsule that contains ferrofluid, a liquid that becomes strongly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field. The ferrofluid glides around effortlessly as the capsule is moved."

The gorgeous ferrofluid suspension blends chemistry and design into a flexible, interactive display. Bored daydreamers can control the density and fluidity of the ferrofluid within the main display using an aluminum wand, which contains N-40 Neodymium magnets that reacts with the LiquiMetal. "Once you bring the included magnetic wand towards it, you can manipulate the ferrofluid, causing it to dance around and assume absolutely amazing shapes and patterns. It's the perfect distraction," says Patel.

Mini Museum

Five Genius Ideas That Would Make da Vinci Proud

via Kickstarter

If you're a regular on Gizmodo, you may recognize the Mini Museuman individualized collection of miniature artifacts that lets you keep a piece of history in your pocket. Hans Fex has spent the last 35 years researching and collecting 20 rare specimens like T-Rex teeth, mummy wrap, and brick from Abraham Lincoln's house. To create the Mini Museum, Fex broke each historical specimen he collected into small pieces and enclosed them in resin for preservation. The Mini Museum comes in three sizes, is handcrafted, and makes for one nerdy, terrific ice breaker.

Which of the geniuses would you fund? To vote, add your choice to the comments or tweet a link to their project with the hashtag #FundAGenius — the winner will be chosen and announced next week.

Watch the Genius in action with the series return of Da Vinci's Demons, March 22 at 9/8c on Starz.

This post is a sponsored collaboration between Starz and Studio@Gawker.

Brain designed by Eric Bird from the Noun Project.