Awesome tech you can’t buy yet, for the week of May 18, 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.

Niwa — Smart hydroponics system

NiwaIn a perfect world, we’d all be able to grow our own fresh produce. The unfortunate reality, however, is that doing so typically requires things like growing space, gardening knowledge, and extra time to tend to it all – luxuries most of us don’t have. Niwa aims to change all that. It’s essentially a compact, sensor-equipped, self-regulating, indoor hydroponic gardening cube that you can control with your smartphone. By giving you real-time access to growing stats, as well as remote control over a wide range of different environmental variables, Niwa basically takes all the guesswork out of the gardening process and allows you to grow fresh veggies in your house with minimal effort. Check out our full post to find out more.

ColdCan — Space-age beer koozie

ColdCanIf you thought that crappy foam koozie you got at the dollar store was the pinnacle of beer cooling technology, think again. While you were busy knocking back lukewarm PBRs in your backyard, a group of geniuses from Texas was hard at work developing a next-gen koozie that keeps beer colder for longer than ever before. ColdCan, as they call it, works by insulating your beer wtih a susbstance called Cryogel — a derivative of the same substance (silica aerogel) used in NASA space suits, and apparently one of the most insulating substances known to man. It’s also designed to accomodate both 12 and 16 oz cans, so you’re not just limited to a single size can either. You can lock one down on Kickstarter for anywhere from $40 to $60, which is definitely a bit steep for a beer koozie, but how much would you pay to never drink a warm beer ever again?

BioLite BaseCamp — Electricity-Generating Camp Stove

BioLite BaseCampChances are pretty good that you’ve heard about BioLite’s original wood-burning, electricity-generating CampStove by now. It took Kickstarter by storm a couple years ago, and has been the darling of gadget-savvy outdoor enthusiasts ever since. What you may not have heard of is the company’s other product, the HomeStove. Targeted primarily toward families in third-world countries, it’s essentially a larger version of the CampStove that burns wood extremely efficiently, and generates electricity with the excess heat. BaseCamp, the company’s newest product, is the new and improved version of the HomeStove. It’s the same idea, just redesigned with camping and other outdoor excursions in mind. For added convenience, BaseCamp is equipped with a larger cooking surface, variable heat switch, folding legs, and a bucket handle for easy portability. 

Syrmo — Skate-session recorder

SyrmoThere 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 kickflips, grinds, and ollies. That’s where Syrmo comes in. This sensor-studded gizmo screws onto your skateboard deck right underneath your trucks (so it’s not in the way like other devices), and tracks the three-dimensional position/orientation of your board while you skate. Then, with the help of the accompanying smartphone app, Syrmo will log every trick you land. It’s pre-programmed to recognize a huge range of different motions (and can also learn new ones), so once you’ve got it calibrated, it’ll instantly recognize when you successfully land something. 

Legion Meter — Smart multimeter and charge accelerator

Legion MeterNot all cables, USB ports, and wall adapters are created equally. Although a product may list an input of 5V/1A, it rarely (if ever) draws that maximum amount. The Legion Meter is basically a tiny little device that helps you mitigate this problem and charge your gadgets faster. It’s a miniature multimeter, so it allows you to view the current delivery of watts, volts, amps, and milliwatt-hours to any device you’re charging, and will automatically regulate the power flowing to it to maximize charge speed. It boasts a 90 percent charge boost on it’s Kickstarter page, but it’s worth noting that those numbers are only for certain devices. For most phones and tablets, Legion Meter only reduces charging time by about 20-25 percent, but that’s still nothing to scoff at. 

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