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Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Sanitizer robots, fish-finder sunglasses, and more

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 Pebble clones and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects out there this week. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Holus — Tabletop holographic display

Holus

Holograms are one of those futuristic technologies that sci-fi movies have been promising us for decades, but that hasn’t actually materialized in a significant way. It’s not that hologram technology doesn’t exist. It totally does — remember the time that holographic Tupac performed at Coachella? The technology is definitely out there; it’s just not as common or widely available as we’d like. Canadian startup H+Technology wants to change that. The company has developed a unique holographic display that might finally bring holograms into your home.

The Holus, as it’s called, is a tabletop holographic platform that takes any digital content — be it from a computer, tablet, or smartphone — and converts it into a three-dimensional hologram. Inside the microwave-sized device there’s a coated plexiglass prism. A projector underneath Holus’ lid beams four images of the same object onto the walls of this prism, and thanks to the magic of holography, there appears within the prism a single image to any user looking at it — no matter what side they’re viewing from. Users can control the images with any Bluetooth- or Wi-Fi-enabled device.

UVe — Robotic tabletop sanitizer

UVe

For years, the go-to method for killing germs has been either burning them to death, or poisoning them with harsh chemicals. This is highly effective, but does come with a major drawback: often, the chemicals we use are just as harmful as the germs we’re trying to destroy. Read the label on any of those surface cleaners you use on your kitchen counter and you’ll notice some pretty serious warnings: “causes irritation to skin and eyes,” “only use in well-ventilated areas,” and “may cause harm to humans and domestic animals,” just to name a few.

UVe takes a different approach. Rather than obliterating germs with harsh chemicals and solvents, it uses the power of ultraviolet light to kill 99.999 percent of all surface bacteria and protozoan cysts. IT’s basically like a Roomba for your countertops — just tap the “go” button, and it springs into action, blasting all the surfaces it passes over with UV-C light, which effectively scrambles the DNA of any germs it hits and neutralizes them.

Echo Specs — Fish finder sunglasses

Echo Specs

If you ask me, fish finders are kind of overkill. With all the fancy lures, invisible lines, and graphite poles we’ve got these days, we’ve already got a pretty serious leg up on the fish to begin with. When you throw sonar into the mix, it’s almost starts to feel like cheating. IF you’re going to use one, however, you may as well use one that’s affixed directly to your face, so you don’t have to keep your eyes trained on a screen all day.

That’s where Echo Specs come in. They’re basically like Google Glass, but without all the bells and whistles. Instead of all that fancy voice recognition tech and first-person camera nonsense, the system consists of two simple components: the display glasses and a wireless adapter. When plugged into your fish finder’s transducer port, the wireless adapter will relay depth, location, and water temperature information to a readout in the lens. Fish don’t even stand a chance anymore.

Nikola — RF-powered phone case

Nikola

Your smartphone is a pretty advanced little device, but for all it’s sophisticated tech, it’s still rather wasteful when it comes to power consumption. Believe it or not, in upward of 50 percent of your phone’s transmitted energy (the signals it beams out to communicate with the outside world) is lost to the environment. Nikola Labs wants to change that, and has invented an awesome new smartphone case that helps you reduce, reuse, and recycle some of that lost energy.

How? Well,  embedded inside the case there’s a special kind of antenna, which quietly captures wasted radio frequencies (RF) and converts them to electricity, which is then pumped back into the phone. It won’t magically recharge your device in a matter of seconds, nor does it promise to restore your device’s battery to factory perfection. Instead, as Zell pointed out, power-converting rectifier circuit will extend the smartphone’s life by about 30 percent. Pretty cool, right?!

Oscilloscope Music — A soundwave visualization album

Oscilloscope Music

Ever wondered what music looks like? Well as it turns out, it’s not that hard to visualize. If you plug an audio signal into an oscilloscope (an electrical testing device used to measure the frequency of an electrical signal over time), you can see an exact visual representation of the same waves that reach your ear as sound waves. That’s pretty much the closest possible correlation between image and sound.

Now get this: If two audio channels (i.e. a stereo signal) are used as input for an oscilloscope, it’s possible to use one channel to move the oscilloscope’s green dot up and down, and the other one to move it left and right, sort of like an Etch-A-Sketch board, just much faster. By using this technique, it’s possible to draw images by simply tweaking the type of sound waves you’re using. The only drawback is that not all sounds look awesome on an oscilloscope, and not all awesome images sounds good. Oscilloscope Music is an album designed with both elements in mind, so the visuals are just as cool as the sounds. You’ll definitely want to check out the video on for this one.