Awesome tech you can’t buy yet, for the week of May 18, 2014

Awesome tech 051814

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. 

Emerging Tech

It’s no flying car, but the e-scooter had a huge impact on city streets in 2018

Within just a year, electric scooters have fundamentally changed how we navigate cities. From San Francisco to Paris, commuters have a new option that’s more fun than mass transit, easier than a bike, and definitely not a car.

Best holiday gifts for the outdoor junkie on your list

Have an outdoorsy person on your list and not sure what they need? We've hand-picked our favorite outdoor gear with an eye towards the unique and useful. From high-powered headlamps to heated socks, we've found something for everyone on…
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.

Drink what nature provides with the best water purifiers

Looking for reliable water purification? Staying hydrated is important, especially when you are hiking or camping far from civilization. Check out our picks of the best water purifiers for your camp, backpack, or pocket.
Smart Home

This A.I.-enabled tech brings cutting-edge automation to grocery stores

Takeoff Technologies is working to make grocery deliveries fast, accurate, and convenient using A.I.-enabled technology to augment robotic grocery orders that can be completed in minutes.
Product Review

This was 3D printed? With the Anycubic Photon, you can't tell

Never mind the fact that the Anycubic Photon 3D printer only costs 500 bucks. In terms of sheer print quality, this printer is on the same level as machines that cost six times as much.
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.
Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene therapy regulates hunger, staves off severe obesity in mice

Researchers from UC San Francisco have demonstrated how CRISPR gene editing can be used to prevent severe obesity in mice, without making a single edit to the mouse's genome. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Rise of the Machines: Here’s how much robots and A.I. progressed in 2018

2018 has generated no shortage of news, and the worlds of A.I. and robotics are no exception. Here are our picks for the most exciting, game changing examples of both we saw this year.