Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Tennis ball bots, eco-straws, sm - Montgomery Alabama news.

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Tennis ball bots, eco-straws, smart swear jars

By Drew Prindle

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At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the web. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find no shortage of weird, useless, and downright stupid projects out there — alongside some real gems. We’ve cut through the fidget spinners and janky iPhonecases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even those with the best intentions — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

July 15th

Supa Huka tankless diving system

If you’ve always wanted to try scuba diving but been scared off by the high cost of gear and the prolonged certification process, this new Kickstarter gizmo just might be your dream come true. The Supa Huka promises to deliver a full diving experience that offers the ease and simplicity of snorkeling. It’s a diving apparatus that doesn’t require you to wear a tank on your back, thereby making it easier and more accessible for beginners and pros alike.

Rather than forcing you to swim around with a monstrous can of compressed air attached to your body, Supa Huka floats on the surface above you, pumping fresh air to you through a flexible tube that’s connected to a mouthpiece regulator.The device can reportedly run for up to 45 minutes on a rechargeable battery, allowing the diver to descend as far as 40 feet below the surface without being encumbered by heavy equipment in any way.

Nano cure tent self healing tent

Here’s DT’s Will Nicol with the scoop: “Tents are an essential part of camping, but they can also be a huge investment, and so it can be a real pain if they end up getting damaged, whether by catching on a particularly sharp branch or getting ripped open by a curious bear. The creators of the Nano Cure tent have a solution, however: A seemingly magical tent, made of fabric that heals after being punctured.

NCT (Nano Cure Technology), as Imperial Motion puts it, is a nylon “ripstop” fabric composed of durable fibers. When something pierces the NCT, it pushes the fibers apart, but they don’t break. By applying friction (even just the rub of a finger), users can massage the fibers back into their original state, closing the wound, so to speak. It might sound too wild to be true, but self-healing fabrics are a topic of much research now, with universities like Penn State working with such materials. The Nano Cure tent comes in four colors (Rust, Asphalt, Olive, and Soft Blue), and it’s water-resistant and can hold roughly four people, according to the campaign.”

Drizzo automatic ironing system

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that ironing sucks. We live in a world where virtual assistants can make calls and schedule haircuts for us, and where you can order a pizza just by pressing a single button — so why the hell do we still have to haul out an ironing board and manually press a hot hunk of metal onto our clothes just to get rid of a few wrinkles? It seems silly, but if the creators of Drizzo have their way, getting the wrinkles out of your shirt might not be such a hassle in the future.

Drizzo is essentially an adjustable drying rack that’s designed to fit inside your shirts. By applying light tension to the fabric (which you dampen beforehand), the frame pulls your clothing taut and prevents wrinkles from forming. Sure, it might not be that much more convenient than whipping out your ironing board and doing it the old fashioned way, but at least somebody’s finally tackling the problem and pushing humanity toward a utopian future where irons are obsolete and everyone drapes themselves in perfect, wrinkle-free garments.

Airwirl Personal AC

Here’s a quick excerpt from our full post: “In Florida, summertime means spending most of the day inside to avoid sweltering temperatures and sweat-inducing humidity. Hell, if it wasn’t for air-conditioning, Florida would probably still be a balmy, pristine, practically uninhabitable tract of land jutting out from the United States. So it makes sense that a couple Floridians recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for what may be the next evolution in air conditioning the Airwirl.

Taking the form of a fortified 7-Eleven Big Gulp, the Airwirl is actually a personal cooling (or heating) device that is small enough to fit in a cup holder and big enough to pack a punch of cool (or hot) air into your face, providing much-needed (albeit temporary) relief when temperatures reach certain extremes. The device features a cup and a lid, and works using thermal convection. Load the cup up with ice or activated heat warmers depending on your needs. Within the lid is a motorized turbine fan system and elongated air post that pulls air out of the chamber and sends it through a nozzle in the lid. An attachable hose allows for more flexible control, while an insulated foam insert helps keep the cup’s contents at a steady temperature.”

Duo — Laptop screen extender

If you’ve ever worked on a laptop before, you know exactly how limiting it can be. It’s certainly not impossible, but without as much screen real estate to work with, you’re forced to hide stuff in tabs and flip between way too many windows. Obviously, this isn’t nearly as comfortable and conducive to productivity as working on a full-size desktop with a big ol’ monitor — but what if there was a way to enjoy the best of both worlds, and get some extra screen space on your portable workstation?

That’s precisely the idea behind the Duo — a device that its creators describe as a “completely portable dual-screen laptop accessory that promises to boost your productivity by up to 50% and allows for efficient multitasking. Attach DUO to the back of any laptop, and you’re ready to work wherever you are!” It’s outfitted with a 12.5-inch 1080p screen, a hinge system that allows the screen to swivel, and a magnetic mount assembly that’s easy to install/remove on your laptop. Pretty nifty, no?

July 8

GoSun Fusion

Solar energy is increasingly popular, and it’s no surprise why. Aside from the fact that it’s cleaner than traditional forms, the sun has been providing energy since long before humans existed, and will probably keep going for a few billion years more. GoSun has been making solar-powered ovensfor a few years now, and the Fusion is the company’s latest, most efficient model, with enough volume to make five meals, whether you want to steam, bake, or even roast.

The Fusion is vacuum-insulated, so you never need to worry about burning yourself on it, and despite the large size, it’s easy to take with you anywhere. Of course, your plan to use solar energy falls apart if you end up cooking on a rainy day, but the Fusion can hook up to a lithium-ion power bank for cooking with or without sunlight (the power bank can charge via solar power, so you never need to worry about your environmental footprint).

Mix AR glasses

Virtual reality gets so much attention that it’s easy to forget the technology’s hard-working sibling: Augmented reality, in which virtual constructs are projected onto the real world. Yes, while AR won’t immerse you in an illusory world, it has a lot of potential for a variety of fields, including gaming, engineering, even medicine. There have been a few high-profile attempts at making AR glasses (such as Google Glass), but for the most part, the field remains in its infancy.

The Mix AR glasses are one of the most exciting entrants into the AR space, offering a grand field of view in a svelte package. Although the glasses are relatively small (compared to VR headsets and the like), they offer an impressive 96-degree field of view, far larger than that of the Google Glass, for example. Even better, they’re compatible with SteamVR, so if you just want a lightweight headset for playing VR games, Mix has you covered.

FixIts moldable plastic

Some inventions are so complicated, you can only wonder how they work. Others are beautifully simple, like FixIts, which are small, plastic sticks that users can heat and mold into whatever shape they want. FixIt’s creators claim that if users immerse the sticks in hot water (around 140 degrees Fahrenheit), they become soft, pliable putty. You can mold the warmed-up FixIts into whatever shape you want, and when they cool down, they become hard and unyielding once again.

So what exactly are FixIts good for? As the name suggests, they’re intended to be a handy tool for fixing household problems. The Kickstarter page offers a few examples, such as wrapping a FixIt around a fraying cable, or fastening on to the bottom of a wobbly chair leg. As with the best tools, FixIt’s design is simple, its uses limitless. The creators also claim that FixIts are biodegradable (in accordance with European Bioplastics’ standards), so you needn’t worry about contributing to one of those garbage islands drifting in the world’s oceans.

Jellyfish lamps

Ah, the elegant jellyfish. Its beautiful appearance belies its cruel nature, its flowing tendrils lined with venomous, stinging cells. If you want to adorn your house with jellyfish, you could build a specialized tank for them, but if the upkeep (or chance of getting stung) don’t appeal, designer Max Jrgensen has a solution: Lamps that mimic the appearance and even movement of jellyfish.

From the outside, the lamp looks like a jellyfish. Housed within the lamp is a motor that tugs on strings, quietly moving the body. Jrgensen’s jellyfish lamps may not be revolutionary, but they feature a lovely design, one that would probably catch the eye of any visitors to your home.

July 1

Giiro — Posture robot

Here’s DT’s own Luke Dormehl with the details: “Imagine telling someone half a century ago that, here in 2018, our watches would order us to get up out of our chairs, we would have always-listening smart speakers in our homes, and a data-collecting tech giant would probably know more about you than your immediate family. Nineteen Eighty-Four-style dystopia? Jetsons-style utopia? Whatever it is, it’s happening! The latest example of this is a new Alexa-connected gadget recently launched on Kickstarter, taking the form of a miniature robot and connected smart mat that will nag you to stand up straight even in the comfort of your own home. Called Giiro Bot (the associated mat’s referred to as the Giiro Mat), it looks a bit like a cute Minion from Despicable Me, but is, in fact, a pretty nifty posture coach that will warn you whenever you begin standing in a way it deems to be less than optimal.

‘The Giiro Mat uses more than 600 sensors that can detect 256 levels of pressure to draw a hyper-accurate map of how you stand,’ GazeLab CEO Juyoun Lee told Digital Trends. ‘It tracks your posture over time, provides alerts, shows weight distribution in real time, and makes recommendations on ways to improve your posture. The Giiro Bot is a personal posture robot, paired with Giiro Mat. It sits on a desk and mimics your posture, while you work. It provides feedback with nine different facial expressions, by moving its legs, and leaning in the same direction as you do.’

Beeline Moto

GPS is great. It allows us all to get from A to B with effortless efficiency and speed. But all that simplicity does come at a cost: The more we use GPS, the more reliant on it we become. Think about the last destination you went to with the help of GPS. Could you find your way back to that spot without Google Maps? These days, the answer is probably “no” for most of us. We’re so used to using computers to navigate that we’ve lost our ability to do it ourselves. But what if it didn’t have to be like that? What if there was a way to get navigational assistance, but in a way that’s easier to wean yourself off of?

That’s exactly the idea behind Beeline — a “smart compass” of sorts that helps you get to your destination without providing a rigid set of turn-by-turn directions. When locked in place on bicycle or motorcycle handlebars, the compass provides navigational cues in the form of an arrow that points toward the destination. The Beeline offers two different modes of navigation, either providing turn-by-turn directions for the fastest route, or a more free-flowing option that points the rider in the general direction, but allows him or her to choose the path for themselves. The company’s original product was designed for cyclists, but is now back on Kickstarter with a motorcycle version.

NILS — Wearable charging cable

Until wireless charging becomes ubiquitous, keeping charging cables handy everywhere you go is an unfortunate fact of modern life. If you’re anything like me, you probably keep a bunch at your house, at your workplace, and a couple in your backpack or purse just in case. Wouldn’t it be nice if you didn’t have to fiddle with all those cords, and could just keep one with you for every occasion? Well, that’s exactly what the NILS cable is designed for. It’s a wearable charging cord that pulls double duty as a fashion-forward bracelet.

It’s pretty straightforward: just a short, flexible, and durable USB charging cable that’s outfitted with a clever locking system that allows the two ends to fit together securely. To use it, all you’ve got to do is wrap it around your wrist, snap the ends together, and head out. Then, when it’s time to charge, you can just bust off the bracelet and start juicing up. To be fair, NILS definitely isn’t the first company to make something like this. You can snag one on Amazon right now if you don’t feel like waiting. But as far as we can tell NILS is far cheaper and far better looking — so it’s probably worth the wait.

Speaksee — Auto-transcriber for deaf users

Here’s a quick excerpt from the full article we published earlier this week: “In case you hadn’t noticed, we love gadgets here at Digital Trends. But, as much as we like them, gadgets can often fall under the “nice to have” banner, as opposed to being things which fundamentally transform our lives on a regular basis. The same isn’t true when it comes to accessibility devices, aimed at helping people with disabilities carry out the kind of day-to-day tasks many of us take for granted. That is why we’re excited about a new crowdfunding campaign created by a team of Netherlands-based entrepreneurs. Called SpeakSee, it’s a multi-mic system which will accurately transcribe conversations for deaf users, rendering everyday chat between groups of people as a multi-person script.

‘Both of my parents have severe hearing loss since birth,’ Jari Hazelebach, co-founder and CEO, told Digital Trends. ‘Throughout my life, I’ve seen the communication barriers that they had to face. My father has difficulties following meetings at work, and misses out on a lot of relevant information he needs to do his job. Enabling him and millions of others around the world to be a full part of conversations again is what inspired my co-founder Marcel van der Ven, Joshua Flowers and I to create SpeakSee.’”

Kick Asteroid — Planetary defense campaign

Bill Nye and his companions at the Planetary Society are worried about asteroids. Every few thousand years, Earth gets hit with an asteroid the size of a bus, and it causes a lot of damage. But every few million years, Earth gets hit with a much bigger rock — one that’s roughly the size of a football stadium. When that happens, it’s catastrophic. The last one that size wiped out the dinosaurs — and the Planetary society is on a mission to ensure the same thing doesn’t happen to humans.

So how exactly are they going to stop a giant space rock from smashing into us? Well, the first step is getting people to care about it, and that’s exactly what this Kickstarter campaign is designed to do. The idea here is to raise awareness by getting people behind the “Kick Asteroid” campaign by wearing t-shirts and slapping stickers on stuff. The hope is that by starting the conversation, eventually our lawmakers will recognize that asteroid defense is something we should probably be thinking about, and that we should allocate some funding for satellites to keep an eye on the void. So in other words, by buying one of Bill Nye’s t-shirts, you’ll be helping to save the planet from Armageddon. You’re basically Bruce Willis if you pledge support to this campaign!

June 24

Infento — ride kit for kids

Kits that teach kids STEM skills are a dime a dozen these days. Take a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find them in just about every shape/size/configuration you can imagine. Butof all the skill-building toys we’ve ever seen, Infento is one of the most intriguing. In addition to teaching kids how to build stuff in a very hands-on and interactive way (without a screen), this kit also transforms into a bunch of different rideable gizmos your kid can zip around on.

“Our modular Kits empower your family to become makers,” the creators explain on Kickstarter. “You create something tangible together and spend quality time: building while bonding. At the same time, you give your child an important skill set for the future.With one Infento Kit and one hex key, parents and kids can build a wide variety of rides together. One box packs fun for the entire childhood; from toddler to teenager.”

AM1 — low-key electric bike

Electric bikes are all well and good, but regardless of how advanced or long-range they are, they all still suffer from teh same big drawback: theylook like electric bikes. Do you really want to be that guy or gal riding an aluminum ox to work? Do you want to grunt and groan every time you have to hoist your behemoth of a bicycle onto the wall rack at work? Of course you don’t — and that’s precisely why this new ebike on Kickstarter is so enticing.

“The AM1 is a lightweight motorised bike,” the creators explain on their campaign page. “It looks like a bike, handles like a bike, weighs the same as a bike but rides like you’re freewheeling downhill with a tailwind. It brings together the lightweight handling and simplicity of a single speed bike, with the effortlessness of an electric bike. It has a lightweight 20-mile battery that easily covers an average commute of 8.5 miles each way with plenty of range spare to meet your friends after work. A lean battery meant we could create a compact motor that gets rid of gears altogether. We’ve merged the best of a classic single speed bike with the effortlessness of an electric one, into a sleek, minimal design.”

Limbo — high tech top

Here’s a quick cut to our full article, which ran earlier this week: “Remember how, in Christopher Nolan’sInception, Leonardo DiCaprio’s character Dom Cobb uses a spinning top to work out whether he’s awake or dreaming? If the top spins a few times and then topples over, Cobb knows he’s awake. If it keeps spinning in perpetuity, he understands that he’s asleep. Well, the team behind a new Kickstarter campaign just blurred the lines between reality and the dreamworld in a big way, courtesy of a metal top that’s capable of spinning for hours on end.

Called Limbo, the metal spinning top achieves this by way of a hidden silent mechanism which functions as a gyro, and keeps the top running as long as the battery still has some juice left. Inside the top, there’s a rechargeable battery, a special asymmetric flywheel motor, a high-end motion sensor, and an advanced system-on-a-chip which constantly monitors Limbo’s stability and applies dozens of motion corrections every second.”

Domio Pro — helmet speaker

Here’s DT’s Amanda Ellis with the scoop: “Traditional helmet sound systems require cumbersome wires or inserts, leaving you less aware of your surroundings. Portable carry speakers can be loud and distracting to people around you and you don’t really want to end up being “that guy” on the slopes. But listening to music while performing your favorite activity can be inspiring and enriching. This is why Elevety Sports is back on Kickstarter with a new-and-improved version of itsDomio Helmet Audio Device, which effectively transforms your helmet into a sound system.

The device easily mounts to any helmet — on the side or the top — and comes with an extra support strap for added security. The system is powered by vibro-audio technology, which utilizes micro-vibrations and transforms the inside of your helmet into your own personal sound system. As opposed to transmitting sound through air, as a traditional speaker does, vibro-audio technology takes micro vibration pulses and transmits them through a solid, i.e. your helmet. This results in audio that only you can hear while allowing you to remain alert to your exterior surroundings.”

Chiiz — sonic tooth cleaner

Ever since the first toothbrush was invented, designers have been trying to re-invent it. And ever since the dawn of crowdfunding, this effort has ramped up considerably. Whether it’scrazy new bristle designs,sensor-studded brushes, orsubscription-based oral care packs; we’ve seen a veritable boatload of new toothbrushes come out of Kickstarter and Indiegogo in the past few years — and the trend is showing no signs of slowing down. Case in point? This clever new toothbrush from Chiiz.

“CHIIZ is invented to help your brush your teeth correctly,” the creators explain on Kickstarter. “With360-degree coverageof every one of your teeth, the automatic toothbrush appliessonic technologyto help brush your teeth in asmartandhands-freeway.To brush with CHIIZ, all you need is to pop it into your mouth and bite down slightly with your front teeth. Applying afixed strength, CHIIZ will then start brushingautomatically for 30 seconds. Its brushing strength is gentle but effective enough to remove plaques on your teeth. Thus, these harm-free methods prevent your gum tissues from hurting or receding, ultimately preventing your teeth from becoming sensitive to hot or cold temperatures.”

June 17

Titan — underwater drone

We’ll let Digital Trends’ Luke Dormhel give you the scoop on this one: “Underwater drones are everywhere these days — especially on crowdfunding sites. The latest of these is an underwater drone named Titan, which recently splashed down on Kickstarter with the goal of raising funds to go into production.

‘Titan can dive up to 150 meters (490 feet), which provides users more space to explore and more choices,’ Alan Wang, chief technical officer for manufacturer Geneinno, told Digital Trends. ‘Other drones can only take people down to 50m or 100m. Some people will say 100m is enough, but we believe exploring the unknown is human nature and [something a lot of people want to do]. The only reason they haven’t done it yet is because they don’t have the right tools to achieve it.’

As Wang makes clear, Titan’s big selling point is the fact that it can go where few drones dare. It can then document this undersea world with a high-end 4K camera, which is capable of capturing both video and still images. Moving around is accomplished with six thrusters that give Titan a high degree of movement and impressive maneuverability at a speed of up to two meters per second. There are even a couple of LED spotlights that throw out a combined 3,000 lumens of illumination so you can see where you’re going.”

Scribit — write and erase robot

Robotic drawing machines are nothing new at this point. Neither are web-connected gizmos that let you display digital artwork on your walls. But what is new is the idea of combining both of these ideas with a single device. How neat would it be to have a little robot that can not only draw stuff on your walls, but also erase and draw something new whenever you feel like switching up your decor? That’s precisely the idea behind Scribit, the latest robot to hit Kickstarter.

“Scribit is a small ‘writing robot’ that can draw images and text on any vertical surface,” the creators explain on their campaign page. “What if you could instantly turn your office or living room wall into a canvas for digital content, and update it in real time? A restaurant can post the day’s menu on its wall, professionals can support their focus by writing new motivational sentences every day, or someone who loves art can draw on a Van Gogh — or their own drawings — onto their bedroom wall.”

Runvi — smart insoles

Here’s a quick excerpt from the full article we published earlier in the week: “We’ve seen a lot of smart exercise tools designed to help runners become faster and more efficient, including a host of fitness trackers, smart shoes, and apps. Now you can add smart insoles to the list as well, as a new product called Runvi promises to be an artificial intelligence-driven running coach to help you achieve your running goals. Runvi, which launched on Kickstarter on June 12, consists of smart insoles and an iOS app complete with Apple Watch support which work in tandem with one another to offer insights into a runner’s performance.

For instance, each of the insoles is equipped with 30 advanced pressure sensors and two accelerometers to collect an accurate representation of an athlete’s form while running. The device can tell whether or not the user pronates his or her foot, has too slow of a cadence, or is a heel striker, all of which can impact running efficiency. That data is then compiled and examined by A.I. to offer real-time feedback to the runner on how to improve their form. That feedback can even come in the midst of a run, with a voice in their headphones making suggestions on how to correct inefficiencies while on the go. The goal is to eliminate excess fatigue, avoid injuries, and improve speed.”

Car Hammock — in-vehicle hammock

Sleeping in your car is a pain in the ass, both literally and figuratively. It combines all the things that suck about sleeping in a tent with all the things that suck about riding in your car all day. No matter how much you adjust things, your sleeping platform always seems to end up being uneven and uncomfortable. But what if there was a better way? What if you could fit a hammock inside your car and enjoy the unparalleled comfort of a suspended sleep system? Well, if the creators of the Car Hammock have their way, that dream might soon become a reality.

Car Hammock is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a hammock that goes in your car. How does this work? It’s pretty straightforward, actually. The hammock is basically a big reinforced sheet equipped with a series of adjustable straps on its edges. These straps wrap around your car’s frame and collectively provide enough support to hold the hammock aloft. Not only does this give you a comfortable spot to sleep, but it also frees up the area beneath you for gear and other miscellaneous crap you keep in your car.

GoCube — connected Rubik’s Cube

As DT’s Luke Dormehl explains, GoCube is “a smart, connected cube that promises to open up exciting new play experiences and features for all players. It works in a couple of key ways. One is as a more accessible entry point into the world of Rubik’s Cubes, a puzzle that can often be daunting to (and therefore quickly discarded by) new players.

GoCube keeps track of your cube solving through a virtual re-creation on your mobile device, allowing you to examine your moves, progress, statistics, and even gain access to step-by-step tutorials. It also turns the experience into a multiplayer game by opening up features like online battles, shared leaderboards, live competitions (in which players all start from exactly the same cube positions), and more. In other words, whether you’re a fresh-faced newbie or a grizzled veteran with the Rubik’s Cube scars on your digits to prove it, this could be the cube for you.

‘Rubik’s is a great game,’ GoCube creator Udi Dor told Digital Trends. ‘However, so many people don’t cross the barrier of learning how to solve it just because it seems so complicated. For cubers [who have completed the puzzle], there’s no real feedback or a way to properly measure their performances and to improve. GoCube doesn’t change the basic game; it improves and modernizes the overall experience, making it modern, accessible, intuitive, measurable, and most importantly, globally connected and socialized.’”

June 10

Onyx — lightweight, protective camera gimbal

Gimbals have become a staple of professional and amateur filmmakers alike, and for good reason. Unlike the bulky, cumbersome SteadiCam rigs of yesteryear, gimbals stabilize your camera by measuring external shakes and bumps, and uses a series of motors to instantaneously cancel them out. This process produces incredibly smooth video footage but unfortunately, the majority of multi-axis gimbals on the market right now are cumbersome and difficult to hold for extended periods of time. To make matters worse, they also don’t provide much in the way of protection, so if you drop your rig, you’re screwed.

Onyx — a new gimbal from New Zealand-based startup Arculus — is an attempt to solve these problems. “ONYX is the first additively manufactured and protective three-axis camera gimbal” the creators explain on Kickstarter. “Its revolutionary new design, advanced materials, and manufacturing techniques allow it to be incredibly lightweight, intuitive to use and helps protect your camera. The skeleton is laser sintered aerospace grade titanium alloy which is surrounded by a carbon fibre skin. Every gram of weight has been calculated to provide maximum strength and structural integrity. So it can be operated for longer, go further and capture shots nobody else is willing to get.”

Muwi — ultra-compact camera dolly

Much like stabilizers, dollies are another video production staple. By using wheels to move the camera around (instead of your jerky legs/arms), dollies provide a stable, reliable, and precise way to actuate camera motion. Thing is, they’re generally not particularly compact or portable — but thanks to the magic of modern technology, that’s starting to change. Case in point? The Muwi: an ultra-compact, ultra-portable, and extremely versatile robotic camera dolly.

When folded up, Muwi isn’t much bigger than your smartphone, and vaguely resembles a slim bar of soap. To use it, you simply unfold the legs, attach your camera (it can handle a smartphones, GoPros, and even your DSLR), and give it a push. The wheels are designed to stay on track, so you get tight, consistent movement every time. It’s also equipped with a hinge in the middle, which allows not only linear motion, but also rotational motion. There’s even an estension kit that lets you move it remotely, using motors instead of your hands. All that, and it only weighs 100 grams (0.22 pounds).

Geyser — outdoor shower system

Here’s the rundown from Digital Trends’ outdoor gear guru Amanda Ellis: “Playing in the outdoors means getting dirty. Whether you’re on a weekend camping trip, living out of your van, or traveling in a foreign land where running water is limited, staying clean can be a difficult task. When you don’t have access to a hot shower, you resort to rubbing down your body with baby wipes, wet rags, or pouring gallons of water over your head resulting in the waste of a valuable resource. Geyser System is the innovative solution to these backcountry woes, serving as an advanced and portable shower system that you can take with you anywhere.

Geyser System addresses the three most common issues with outdoor shower systems: Minimal amounts of water, lack of storage space, and lack of electricity. This unique product offers a full range of flow rates that you can tailor to your needs. One gallon of water lasts for seven minutes which is plenty of time to get clean, whether you’re covered in mud, sunscreen, or debris. The shower system is compact and weighs just 11 pounds, making it ideal to carry in a car trunk or a backpack. No power? No problem! The Geyser System runs off the 12-volt DC power supply found in all vehicles and is also compatible with one deep cycle battery.”

Sensorwake — scent-based alarm clock

Here’s DT’s Luke Dormehl with the scoop: “Like a lot of people, we’re usually woken up in the morning by the insistent beeping of our smartphone alarm. That is a method that is certainly effective at rousing us from slumber, although it’s not exactly enjoyable. Could there be a better way? That is the question that the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign clearly asked themselves. To answer it, the Google-accelerated French startup Bescent has created an alarm clock capable of combining sight, smell, and sound for an altogether more pleasant wake-up experience.

The so-called Sensorwake olfactory alarm clock offers a mix of blue halo light, five preloaded melodies and most excitingly scent capsules. There are 16 different scents in total, ranging from the smell of ground coffee or orange juice to the evocative aroma of the seaside, a pine forest, or a freshly cut grass meadow. These scents have been created in collaboration with Swiss fragrance manufacturer Givaudan and use dry diffusion without any ‘liquids, heating elements, mist, or mess.’ A single capsule promises to last up to 30 wake-ups, after which you simply slot in a new one to repeat the process.”

Unihertz Atom — tough and tiny 4G phone

We covered this sucker earlier in the week, so here’s a quick excerpt from our full article: “Unihertz Atom is a rugged 4G smartphone and the follow-up to last year’s Unihertz Jelly phone. With a tiny 96 x 45 x 18 mm body and a 2.4-inch display, the Atom aims to become the second phone of choice when heading out into the wilderness, or a capable alternative to a smartphone industry that’s getting larger and larger. It’s sturdily built with chunky bezels and plenty of textured surfaces for grip, and it looks like it could survive falling down a mountain.

But it’s not just the small footprint that’s caused excitement Unihertz has packed a whole lot of specifications into that tiny body. The Atom comes with an octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 processor, as well as an impressive 4GB of RAM and 64GB of onboard storage as standard. That’s an awful lot of numbers for such a small phone. The fun doesn’t stop there the Atom comes with a full suite of utility tools, including NFC, USB on-the-go (so you can connect accessories with an adapter), and an IP68 waterproof rating. It’s not short on biometrics either, thanks to a front-facing fingerprint scanner, and face unlock. There’s a 2,000mAh battery which should last a good time, considering the tiny screen it’s powering. Best of all, boot it up and you’re greeted with the latest version of Android Android 8.1 Oreo.”

June 3

Earth — Interactive AR globe

Spherical scale models of our planet have existed for centuries. Ever since we discovered the Earth is a sphere (which it most definitely is) back in the 3rd century B.C., humans have been building globes and using them to make sense of this pale blue dot we call home. But despite the fact that globes have existed for so long, they haven’t received a significant design update for quite a long time. This Kickstarter project aims to change that.

Earth, as it’s called, is essentially a high-detail physical globe with augmented reality superpowers. Fire up the accompanying smartphone app and you can access information about the planet — in real time — as you hold it in your hands.

“Beyond the physical globe of EARTH, the AstroReality App contains a wealth of scientific knowledge selected to show our planet as a dynamic and interconnected system,” the creators explain on Kickstarter. “This knowledge was developed by researchers from around the world and made public for us to share with you. AstroReality’s developers are working with our science advisor, J.R. Skok, PhD, a planetary scientist at the SETI Institute, to put the stories of EARTH into your hands.”

RaceYa — STEM-teaching RC cars

Robots that teach kids STEM skills are a dime a dozen these days. Most are just a slightly different take on the same exact idea, but RaceYa is special. Of all the coding/STEM skillbuilding toys we’ve ever seen, it’s arguably one of the best. Why? Well, in addition to being a fully functional RC car, RaceYa is also designed to teach kids STEM principles in a very hands-on and interactive way — a function that doesn’t require them to gaze unblinkingly into a screen for hours on end.

“Tons of studies have shown kids get excited about STEM when they get to do science, not just look at science,” creator Abigail Edgecliffe-Johnson explains on her Kickstarter campaign page. “RaceYa is all about hands-on learning through play. Our activities were designed with Next-Gen Science Standards in mind and have been tested by incredible teachers at science camps, schools and hack days.”

Zen Float — inflatable float tank

Sensory deprivation float tanks are awesome. If you’ve never used one before, or haven’t heard some new-age hippie talking about them, here’s a quick rundown. Essentially, the idea is that you lie down in reservoir of very salty water inside a small pod that’s sealed shut so that no light or sound can enter. As you float there in complete darkness, suspended in the salty water, you’re essentially weightless — which means that your muscles don’t need to stabilize you, and suddenly your body has all these extra resources it can direct back to your brain. With all that extra energy, and no external stimuli to analyze and process from your eyes and ears, your brain gets a chance to relax.

After about 40 minutes into a float, your brain stops producing its normal Alpha waves, and begins to pump out Theta waves — lower-frequency waves that generally only occur during deep meditation or just before you fall asleep. This state is where your mind’s most deep-seated programs are — the state where people often experience vivid visualizations, great inspiration, and profound creativity.

The only problem? Float tanks are notoriously expensive, and generally take a ton of effort to set up and maintain. Zen Float aims to change that. It’s a fully-capable float tank that also happens to be inflatable, making it a breeze to set up.

“Since this is for the home, we wanted to make sure it looks great in any room.” the creators explain on Kickstarter. “Our new inflatable design is a breeze to set up and looks fantastic right out of the box. We’ve used the same tried and true inflatable technology that can be found in popular stand up paddle boards. When inflated, the tent is completely rigid like solid walls. The barrier of air in the walls also acts as a natural insulator, making the tent extremely efficient.”

Beambox — desktop laser cutter

Laser cutters/engravers are arguably one of the most versatile tools you can have in your workshop. With the right laser diode, they can do everything from etching patterns into leather to cutting super-precise shapes in wood. They can handle a massive range of materials and can be used in a wide variety of different ways. Unfortunately, there aren’t many on the market that are designed for the casual tinkerers and novice DIY types among us. If you want to fiddle with laser cutters, you typically need to know your way around all kinds of complex software and calibration procedures.

Not so with the Beambox. This beast has been designed from the ground up to be ridiculously simple to use. Simply connect your PC, Mac or tablet via Wi-Fi, choose the design you’d like to cut/etch, and hit go. The software makes it nearly foolproof and the machine has presets for just about every material under the sun. Wood, leather, fabric, and even mirrors or anodized aluminum are no problem for Beambox. The integrated software allows for pictures to be engraved directly onto your material, no matter what picture or material you choose.

ForwardX Ovis — auto-follow suitcase

Here’s DT’s Brandon Widder with the scoop: “CES 2018 brought with it a deluge of smart appliances, larger-than-life screens, and a bevy of notable tech that will begin rolling out throughout the course of the year. (Suit)case in point? The recently unveiled ForwardX CX-1, an autonomous piece of luggage that’s designed to follow you around as you make your way from point A to B, and everywhere in between. Now, four months after its Las Vegas debut, this autonomous suitcase has launched on Indiegogo, with early bird pricing beginning at $399.

Ovis has been branded as the ‘world’s first self-driving carry-on,’ and features an array of advanced tech, including a 170-degree wide-angle lens and built-in facial recognition software, which allow the device to follow you at up to 7 miles per hour throughout the terminal. Other nifty features namely those tailored toward obstacle avoidance work in tandem with the suitcase’s tracking algorithms, while a smart wristband works to keep would-be thieves at bay. If the suitcase happens to wander out of range, the bracelet will let you know. When production is complete, the suitcase will allegedly weigh in at just under 10 pounds, and be made of polypropylene and carbon fiber. It’ll also be waterproof and carry an IP56 rating.”

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