What is it: While most people think of a printer as just ink and paper, the Glowforge laser 3D printer will do way more than print your everyday document.
The Glowforge broke crowdfunding records in late 2015 when it raised more than $27 million to produce its printer. While the company calls it a 3D laser printer, it's actually more of a compact laser engraver and cutter. Whereas a 3D printer builds things up layer by layer, the Glowforge users lasers to whittle it down into shape.
The printer only has so much space, so you can't go crazy engraving wine bottles, for instance, but every day objects like wood cut outs, invitations, or board game pieces can be customized.
Most importantly, it's taking a normally dangerous tech (you can't play with laser beams just anywhere) and turning it into something that an average person can use in a space the size of your desktop printer — no special workshop required to unlock laser production.
Keep an eye out for Glowforge in 2016. Its first units to Kickstarter backers are expected to ship in the first half of 2016, followed by all other pre-sale orders in Q3 and beyond.
Funding: $37.91 million, including a Series A led round by Foundry Group in May 2015 and a $27 million round from Kickstarter in October 2015.