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Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: High-tech showerheads, drone pontoons, 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.

OASense — water conserving showerhead

Feeling a bit guilty about how much water you waste every morning in the shower? If so, you should definitely check out OASense — a freshly-launched smart showerhead that uses presence sensors to better regulate the flow of water. Basically, the shower only sprays water when you’re directly underneath it. When you’re not, OASense immediately cuts off the flow. The idea seems to be that this setup makes it less of a hassle to take a “navy shower” by automatically turning the water off while you soap up, then quickly switching it back on when you want to rinse off.

It’s definitely not the first or only water-conserving showerhead we’ve ever encountered, but OASense’s approach is far more practical than some of the others we’ve seen. Rather than designing a complex nozzle system to reduce the flow (like the much-hyped and super expensive Nebia showerhead does), this one simply reduces the amount of time that the shower is actually on. Pretty smart, right?

Read more here.

Lingohop — Situation-based language learning software

Between Rosetta Stone, Duolingo, and the zillions of translation apps on the market, language learners have more tools at their disposal than ever before. But despite how sophisticated and accessible language learning programs have become, many of them suffer from the same drawback: the fact that you can’t really choose the words you learn.

That’s where Lingohop comes in. Rather than forcing you to memorize a bunch of useless phrases you’ll never use in the real world (the cat is small, the apple is red, etc), Lingohop lets you focus on specific situations and learn words and phrases that are relevant to your needs. When you first enroll in the service, you can set your goal (such as ‘trip preparation” or “client meeting”) and describe details like what kind of a trip it will be, and how much time you have before you leave. All of that information is then used to calculate how much of the language you have time to learn, and zero in on the most important stuff.

Read more here.

WaterStrider — Drone floatation system

Drone technology has come a long way in the past few years, but regardless of how autonomous, stable, and reliable they might be, it’s still nerve wracking to fly over water. One false move, and your $1,200 toy gets sent to a watery grave — and maybe even your GoPro, too. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to take the stress and apprehension out of flying over water?

Enter: WaterStrider — a lightweight flotation device designed specifically for DJI’s hugely popular Phantom line machine. Named after the insect that cleverly skips across water, the WaterSlider features four buoyant landing pods at the end of each of its four splayed legs, allowing you to land safely on water. It probably won’t do any good if your drone is careening out of control – but if you touch it down softly, the WaterStrider will keep your drone high and dry.

Read more here.

Modus — Portable nutrition tracking scale

Wish there was an easier way to track your food intake and monitor your nutrition? Us too. There’s a zillion apps in the world that allegedly help make it easier, but regardless of which one you choose, you’re still forced to fill in a bunch of fields and manually input a bunch of data about what you just ate. It’s equal parts tedious and time consuming — so most people just skip it.

Modus offers a different approach. While it doesn’t free you from manually entering information, this little scale allows you to weigh the things you eat, and take the guesswork out of portion reporting. Simply put your plate on top of the scale before you start eating, then again after you’re done. When you tell the app what kind of food was on the plate, it’ll approximate the number of calories you just ate, and spit out a detailed report on the meal’s nutritional value.

Read more here.

Polysher — Finishing machine for 3D printed objects

3D printing technology has progressed in leaps and bounds over the past few years, but even so, most consumer-level 3D printers still suffer from one key drawback: the fact that even at the highest resolutions, 3D printed objects still have visible layer lines. So, despite all the benefits of the additive manufacturing process, 3D printed parts just don’t look as smooth and nice as their injection-molded counterparts.

Chinese startup Polymaker wants to change that, and has developed a new finishing machine to make it happen. The Polysher, as it’s called, is designed to smooth out the layer lines on 3D printed objects, and make them nearly indistinguishable from injection molded parts. To do this, the company uses a special kind of filament that’s alcohol soluble, and then puts those parts in a chamber filled with vaporized alcohol. After a few minutes in the machine, parts come out with no visible layers.

Read more here.