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Awesome tech you can’t buy yet, for the week of February 9, 2014

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 there’s no shortage of weird, ambitious, and downright stupid projects out there – far too many for any reasonable person to keep up with. But here at DT we are not reasonable people. We spend an inordinate amount of time poring through crowdfunding sites and product blogs in search of the next Oculus Rift or Pebble Watch, so we’re here to bring you a quick roundup of the best projects that are currently up and running.

Ototo – MIDI instrument kit

Ototo MIDI instrument kitOtoto isn’t a musical instrument itself, but rather a kit that allows you to transform just about anything into a digital music-making machine. It’s a small synthesizer that allows you to build instruments using nothing more than conductive materials and a few electronic sensors. Straight out of the box, you can make synth noises just by touching the keys to the trigger notes, but if you feel like getting a little crazier, you can connect different objects to the keys and make them react to touch. As long an object is relatively conductive, it can easily be made into a touch-activated instrument. Eggplants, forks, soda cans – they’re all fair game. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination.

Sixense MakeVR - 3D-modeling environment

Sixense MakeVRAfter demoing this tech at CES last month, we’re convinced that Sixense’s Make VR sofware will be to 3D printing what Adobe is to photography. It’s essentially an uber-simple 3D modeling environment designed to work with the company’s STEM system – a dual controller system for VR environtments that was successfully kickstarted last October. It’s definitely not the only 3D-modeling software in existence, but it’s far more user-friendly and easy to learn than Blender, and only costs a fraction of what you’d pay for software like 3DS Max. If you back the project now, you can lock down a copy of the software for around $170.

Xensr+ – Action sports tracker

Xensr+There are dozens of different gizmos that track the steps you take, the rate your heart beats, and the approximate number of calories you burn in a day, but not so many that can track your turns, spins, elevation, airtime, or speed. That’s where Xensr+ comes in. This little Oreo-sized device is filled with an array of different sensors – accelerometers, GPS, and others – that allow it to record three-dimensional location down to the millimeter. It’s not on the market yet, but the company is currently taking pre-orders on its website. No word yet on when it’ll ship though.

OBDlink MX WiFi – OBD-II dongle

OBDlink MX WiFiFor those of you who might be unfamiliar with the acronym, OBD-II stands for On Board Diagnostics, version two. It’s a system that’s been built into just about every car made in the US since the mid 80s, and it basically allows you to tap into your car’s onboard computer and get detailed information on what’s going on with it at any given moment. These kinds of dongles have been around for ages, but it wasn’t until recently that people started making them wireless and accessible via smartphone apps. OBDlink MX WiFi is basically the same thing as Automatic, but cheaper (for now), and compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows platforms.

TouchBase Business Cards – Smart business cards

TouchBase Business CardsIf you’re prone to getting that American Psycho business-card envy, then don’t watch the pitch video for this project. It’ll make your business cards look grossly inadequate by comparison, and we don’t want you to flip out and drop a chainsaw on somebody in a stairwell. TouchBase business cards are embedded with digital content so that when you swipe the card across the app on your phone’s screen, it reads the pattern like a QR code and the content opens onscreen. No NFC, Bluetooth, or “bumping” required.