Sometimes, it's just plain good to kickstart something even if it looks unlikely they will reach the goal. I would argue that is what happened in this case, because they found out a LOT about making this thing a lot of people want, and are sharing what they found. Eventually the thing people really wanted may well get made. If I had contributed to this Kickstarter (I did not) I wouldn't be mad, just a bit sad it didn't go through.
What they "found", you say, as though it's all over. As microfunding is illegal as investment in the US, Kickstarter projects are contracts of sale under US law. Under the Ts & Cs of the site, it is made clear that the project owners have a duty to deliver the promised rewards. With T-shirts and stickers, that's trivially easy -- with a product that was largely theoretical at the time of project launch, not so much.
Triggertrap have set themselves up for potential class action from the Kickstarter backers -- from TFA:
And so we only have one option left: Refund the remainder of the money we raised from Kickstarter to our Kickstarter backers, and double down on Triggertrap Mobile.
So they're returning what's left of the Kickstarter pot, but no, that's not their only option -- it's not even a legal option. Once you get funded via a Kickstarter project, you have to honour the contract, and there are three ways that can pan out: 1) you deliver the product; 2) you refund 100% of the money; 3) the customer accepts your offer of an alternative product of equal or greater value. If you cannot honour the contract, there's only one remedy: insolvency.
It is clear from the article that Triggertrap is a single company, and that Ada was a project carried out by Triggertrap -- as can be seen in this passage:
But Triggertrap is a going concern; We have hundreds of thousands of customers around the world, and more than a million photographs are taken with Triggertrap’s Mobile products every month. If we commit to delivering Triggertrap Ada, there’s an extremely good chance that the company won’t survive. If that happens, we don’t just let down our Kickstarter backers; We also let down the six-figure number of customers we have around the world, the Triggertrap staff lose their jobs, and it all grinds to a halt. That simply cannot happen on my watch.
If Triggertrap Ada had been set up as a separate LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Triggertrap, they would be able to declare the subsidiary insolvent and the liability would be lost as the company folded, and debts would be written off. However, as long as Triggertrap continues to trade, the liabilities persist, and paying back 20% isn't going to cut it with the buyers.
This could still kill Triggertrap...