Awesome tech you can’t buy yet, for the week of June 22, 2014

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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.

LiquidOff — Non-toxic hydrophobic spray

LiquidOffIn theory, hydrophobic coatings are an undeniably enticing idea. With a quick spray-on treatment, they promise to create an invisible barrier around all of your gear, making it water repellent at the molecular level and thereby rendering it impervious to water damage. In practice, however, these sprays aren’t all they’re chalked up to be. NeverWet, for example, doesn’t do much to protect electronics, and also leaves an uncomfortable, abrasive residue on clothing. LiquidOff, on the other hand, has been engineered from the ground up to work with clothing and fabrics. It also happens to be completely non-toxic, and contains antimicrobial agents that ward off bacteria and fungi. And despite all those nifty chemical properties, LiquidOff’s creators claim that the spray has no effect on the comfort, look, feel, or breathability of your clothing. Check out our full article for more info.

Hexo+ — Auto-follow camera drone

Hexo+It used to be that stabilized, high-quality aerial footage was only something you could shoot if you had deep pockets and access to a helicopter. Nowadays, anyone with enough cash for a GoPro and a quadcopter drone can shoot aerial video, but it’s still a rather tricky process. Even after years of rapid improvement, camera drones require an experienced pilot to control them remotely. Hexo+ changes all that. Instead of forcing you to fiddle with joysticks and levers, this little hexacopter is designed to follow you autonomously. This makes it perfect for action sports where there’s a lot of movement happening — you can just ride down whatever hill/wave/ramp you happen to be shredding and the drone will follow you at a distance of your choosing, capturing stabilized HD video via GoPro (not included) mounted on it’s underside. Check out our full post for more info.

Sentri — home automation hub

SentriGenerally speaking, the vast majority of all-in-one home automation hubs are horribly ugly. But thankfully, somebody’s finally created a device that performs all the requisite smart functions you’d expect from a hub, but also doesn’t look like something that fell out of the trunk of a UFO.  It’s called Sentri, and in addition to it’s slick, modern, Apple-esque exterior design, it also happens to be one of the most sensor-packed hubs we’ve ever encountered. It’s got a microphone, speaker, motion detector, thermometer, air-quality sensor, light sensor, humidity sensor, accelerometer, and even an HD camera with night vision. We’ve seen some all-in-one solutions like this before (PiperCanaryBirdi, etc.), but as far as we can tell, Sentri has more sensors –and can theoretically perform more functions– than any other hub we know of. Find out more here.

Steak Locker — Dry-aging meat locker

SteakLockerIf you’ve never experienced the sheer deliciousness of dry-aged beef, you’re missing out on life. It’s amazing — if a cut of beef is stored in the right environment, time and chemistry will eventually make it more delicious than it was originally. Over the course of a week or two, the enzymes inside of the meat will slowly begin to break down the tough connective tissues between muscle fibers, and excess moisture will gradually dissipate. The end result is a steak that’s more tender and flavorful. It used to be that this process required restaurant-grade equipment to pull off, but thanks to Steak Locker, you’ll soon be able to prepare delicious dry-aged beef in the comfort of your own home. The device is essentially a scaled-down version of the professional climate-controlled meat lockers you’d find in an upscale steakhouse — but it’s also a bit more high-tech. Using an array of sensors that communicate with your smartphone or tablet, the locker allows you to remotely monitor and adjust the temperature and humidity of the cabinet from anywhere in the world, and helps you fine-tune your settings to achieve the right flavor profile.

AirDog — Auto-follow camera drone

AirDogOddly enough, Kickstarter was blessed with not one, but two auto-follow drone projects this week. The concept behind AirDog is basically the exact same as the aforementioned Hexo+ — it’s just excecuted a bit differently. Both drones are designed to hold a GoPro and follow you autonomously to capture video, but AirDog differs from Hexo+ in a few key areas. For starters, it’s a quadcopter, not a hexacopter — but that’s not terribly important. The biggest difference, as far as we can tell, is that AirDog is designed to follow either your phone or a special wristband (Hexo+ only follows your phone), the latter of which gives it better range and following capabilities. AirDog also lists a broader range of shooting styles on its Kickstarter page than Hexo+ does, but since both bots still require additional development on the software side of things, its too early to say that one has more features than the other. Find out more here.

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Water-based fuel cell converts carbon emissions to electricity

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