Awesome tech you can’t buy yet, for the week of August 10, 2014

Awesome tech 081014
At any given moment there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the WebTake a stroll through Kickstarter or Indiegogo and you’ll find there’s 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.

Leif — Motorized drift board

LeifEver wished you could snowboard on asphalt? Well guess what, homeboy — you dreams just came true. Leif is essentially a motorized longboard that’s been modified to shred on pavement the same way a snowboard shreds down a snowy slope. Thanks to a set of casters located on the underside of the board, braking speed checking, and sliding around tight corners (things that typically take years of practice to master) can all be done the same way they’re done on a snowboard, using the same motions and muscles you already know intuitively. It’s not the first time we’ve seen a board like this, but unlike some of the others that came before it, Leif is completely motorized. Using a wireless controller that commands a pair of 2000W brushless electric motors, you can propel yourself forward at up to 20 mph without ever setting foot on the ground. They’re a little steep — early-bird backers can lock one down for about $1,300 — but damn if they don’t look fun!

Tiny Tesla — Tesla coil speaker

Tiny TeslaTesla coils know how to put on a good show. You probably already know that they can provide quite an electrifying visual display, but did you know they can also sing? The electrical arcs the coil puts off heat up the surrounding air and create pressure waves that we can pick up with our ears. If you modulate the frequency at which the lightning pulses, you can effectively modify the sound it creates. In other words, with the right hardware, you can turn a Tesla coil into a low-fi speaker. Tiny Tesla is basically a special kit designed to help you make one of these coil speakers on your own. The company behind it, oneTesla, designed the kit to be a sort of educational tool to teach people about electronics. If you back the project now, you can snag up a Tiny Tesla for about $150, or spring for the bigger, badder, and louder model, the oneTeslaTS, for $400. The project has already crushed its funding goal, and expects to ship the first kits as early as September.

Vyper — Vibrating foam roller

VyperIf you’ve never experienced the glory that is rolling on a foam cylinder after a workout, you’re missing out. On the list of most amazing feelings known to man, it’s right up there next to peeling the protective plastic off of new electronics, finishing a long book, and getting your skull scratched by somebody with long nails. It’s also really good for your muscles. By applying pressure to specific points on your body after a workout, you can accelerate the recovery of your muscles and assist in returning them to normal function. Really, any old foam roller will probably do the trick, but if you want to spring for the Cadillac of rollers, check out Vyper. It’s a foam roller outfitted with a special vibrating core, which, in addition to probably feeling rather incredible, also helps to improve blood circulation. All the earlybird backer rewards have already been snagged up, but if you back the project now, you can still lock one down for about $200 bucks.

ProGo — Propane-powered scooter

ProGoGas-powered scooters are probably the most horrible form of transportation ever invented. They’re loud, they’re horrible for the environment, and they make you look absolutely ridiculous while you ride them. But this one is different. Instead of running on gasoline, its 25cc four-stroke engine is powered by much more environmentally friendly propane gas. This means it burns much cleaner, and (more importantly) much quieter than any other gas-powered scooter in the game. To get it going, just screw in any standard Coleman-style 16.4 ounce propane tank and give the ripcord a good yank. The engine requires no pumping, priming, chokes, or carburetor cleanup, and can provide about 3 to 4 hours of riding time on a single canister. The scooter tops out at around 20 mph — just fast enough to propel you beyond earshot of judgmental bystanders, so you’ll never even hear all the giggling and ridicule that will undoubtedly ensue shortly after you zip by.

QuarterWave — Bluetooth speaker

QuarterWaveEven if you’re not an audio geek, it’s difficult not to fall for the QuarterWave on sheer looks alone. We’ve seen wooden speakers aplenty, but even so, the rich finish and smooth curves that round out the center of the Quarterwave’s cabinet offer a fresh feast for the eyes. Don’t be fooled though — those rounded lines aren’t just for aesthetic value alone; they also serve a purpose. According to the the QuarterWave’s Kickstarter page, the twists and turns inside the box are designed as acoustic waveguides, which serve to delay the sound waves that resonate through the center of the cabinet to prevent interference and distortion (there’s even a sound wave diagram in the company’s logo). In fact, using the kind of sound principle lingo you’ll hear in a Bose infomercial, the site claims the speaker is able to leverage the interior resonance for “constructive interference” creating a “loud and undistorted live sound.”

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Smart Home

How to deep fry a turkey

Want to learn how to deep fry a turkey? Our guide will cover what you need, what type of deep frying will work, why safety is so important, and how to know when your turkey is the perfect level of deep-fried deliciousness.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best tech gear and gadgetry that survived Shark Tank

The television show "Shark Tank" has churned out quite a few strange, interesting, and downright awesome products -- so we rounded up some of the best ones for your perusal. Enjoy!
Home Theater

Learn how to calibrate your home theater speakers for sheer audio bliss

Make your home theater rumble just right with our manual speaker setup guide, a simple, step-by-step walkthrough to getting the most from your audio equipment without needing to rely on imperfect automatic calibration.
Product Review

DJI has always been the king of drones, and the new Mavics are almost perfect

After flying both the Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom for over a week, we’re convinced that these are two of the best drones that DJI has ever made.
Emerging Tech

Microsoft’s friendly new A.I wants to figure out what you want — before you ask

Move over Siri and Alexa! Microsoft wants to build a new type of virtual assistant that wants to be your friend. Already making waves in Asia, could this be the future of A.I. BFFs?
Emerging Tech

Smarter cities need smarter addresses. And you just need 3 words

To make really smart transportation choices, more precise location data will have to be integrated with citywide transportation data. Here’s how one company is mapping the world by using just three words.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Emerging Tech

Ghostly galaxy discovered lurking on the edge of the Milky Way

A team of astronomers from the University of Cambridge have discovered a strange galaxy next door to the Milky Way. The dwarf galaxy, named Antlia 2, is dark and dim and gives out much less light than expected.
Emerging Tech

Ancient crater the size of NYC discovered under the Greenland ice sheet

A huge crater has been discovered beneath the ice of Greenland, and is thought to be the result of a meteorite impact millions of years ago. The crater is one of the largest ever discovered, measuring 19 miles across.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how the InSight mission to Mars will confirm its landing to NASA

NASA's InSight mission has sent a lander to Mars. NASA researchers have now shared details on how they will monitor the touching down of the lander at the end of its 91 million mile journey.
Emerging Tech

Would you swap your keycard for a microchip implant? For many, the answer is yes

Put down your keycard! More people are turning to implanted RFID chips as their choice of workplace identification. Should we be worried about a world in which employees get microchipped?
Outdoors

‘Super magnesium’ may be the next wonder material for outdoor gear

Super Magnesium is a wonder material that is 30 percent lighter than aluminum, as strong as carbon fiber, cheaper to make, and 100-percent recyclable, making it much better for the environment.
Emerging Tech

Forget joysticks — the Guts Game is controlled by a sensor that you swallow

Researchers have created an unusual new game in which players swallow a biosensor and then compete to raise or lower the temperature in their gut. Sound crazy? Here's why it could catch on.