Awesome tech you can’t buy yet, for the week of November 10, 2013

Awesome tech 11_10_2013

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.

Woojer – Haptic audio feedback device

WoojerHeadphones are great, but no matter how high you crank the volume, they never seem to make you feel the sound in the same way a gigantic set of speakers and subs can. So, to make your headphone listening experiences more engaging, immersive, and similar to what you’d experience at a live concert, a team of engineers from Manhattan invented Woojer: a matchbox-sized tactile feedback device. Think of it as a miniature silent subwoofer you can wear. Just plug it into your headphones and you’ll be able to feel the vibes of your music without turning your cans up to max volume.

BublCam – 360-degree camera

bublcamYou know those giant spherical cameras that Google straps on top of self-driving Priuses in order to take its street view pictures? BublCam is the same idea, just packed into a much smaller, much simpler form factor. The baseball-sized device uses four lenses arranged in a tetrahedron to capture panorama pics and videos all around you at the touch of a button. The camera shoots 14-megapixel photos (3,840 x 3,840 resolution), 1080p videos at 15 frames per second, and 720p videos at 30 fps. It also supports WiFi, so you can stream live 360-degree video over the web. Check out our full article to learn more.

Dark Mail – Encrypted email client

lavabitsilentcircledarkmailIn case you didn’t follow the plight of LavaBit, here’s a quick overview to get you up to speed: Shortly after Edward Snowden leaked documents revealing the NSA’s widespread domestic spying program and subsequently fled the country, the US government noticed that he was using the encrypted email service LavaBit to communicate with human-rights lawyers and activists. They didn’t like that they couldn’t see what Snowden was sending, so they quickly had the court issue a warrant ordering LavaBit’s owner Ladar Levison to turn over the private SSL keys that affected all users on the service – essentially forcing him to shut down the business he worked for more than a decade to build.

Dark Mail is Levison’s new project that aims to fill the void left by LavaBit.  It’s a new secure messaging protocol designed to provide end-to-end encryption of both the message itself and the email in transit. The goal is to perfect and release its source code as a free and open-source software project.

Silver Air – Stink-proof gear

Silver AirSilver is an amazing element. Not only is it great for stuff like slaying werewolves and making expensive forks, it also naturally kills bacteria. For this reason, it’s also extremely effective at resisting odors. Keeping this in mind, Y Athletics developed SilverAir – a line of high-performance sportswear with silver woven into the fabric to make it completely stink-proof. You’d think that a t-shirt with silver in it would cost you an arm and a leg, but if you back the project early you can pick one up for just $34 bucks.

Titan Arm – Upper body exoskeleton

titan armRemember that scene in Elysium where Matt Damon goes postal on a robot and tears him to pieces with that ridiculous hydraulic exoskeleton? Well that’s pretty much what the Titan Arm is – except this one doesn’t have to be drilled into your skeletal system to work. Developed by a team of mechanical engineering students at University of Pennsylvania, the device uses mechanized joints to to supplement the strength of the wearer by up to 40 pounds. It’s still just a prototype at this point, but the design was recently named the winner of the prestigious James Dyson Award, for which the team received $45,000 in prize money to continue development. Find out more here.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Hi-viz bike reflectors and a tiny flashlight

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!
Wearables

To be blunt, the Vuzix Blade smartglasses just don’t cut it

We tried out the Vuzix Blade to find out if it’s worth shelling out $1,000 for smartglasses. Are these augmented reality, Android-powered glasses really ready for primetime or just an expensive gimmick that no one really needs?
Mobile

It hasn't even been announced yet, but you can already reserve the Galaxy S10

It won't be long now. With 2019 underway, the Samsung Galaxy S10 is almost here. Before it arrives, here's absolutely everything you need to know about all three of Samsung's next flagships.
Smart Home

Nebia partners with Moen to develop a warmer, better showerhead

Silicon Valley startup Nebia has partnered with Moen to produce the Nebia Spa Shower 2.0, a showerhead that reduces water consumption while delivering higher temperature and water pressure.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s ‘Refabricator’ lets astronauts recycle 3D-printed tools to make new ones

The International Space Station just received a fancy new gadget in the form of a Refabricator, a machine capable of 3D printing using recycled plastic materials. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Words are so 2018. The Peeqo robot speaks exclusively in GIFs and video clips

Move over, Amazon Echo! Peeqo is a cute robot that will answer your spoken word questions by displaying a specially selected short video or GIF. Because, you know, it’s the year 2019.
Product Review

Yuneec’s Mantis Q will make you wish you bought a DJI drone

Yuneec’s high-end drones are arguably the ones to beat in terms of flight control, design, and their photographic capabilities. But the company has struggled to make a low-end drone that’s worth buying, and the Mantis Q is proof of that…
Emerging Tech

Airbus will stop making the world’s biggest passenger plane

Airbus announced this week that it will stop building the world's biggest passenger plane in 2021. The maker of the double-decker A380 said a changing market and lack of orders gave it little choice but to end production.
Emerging Tech

Exploding vape pen battery starts fire on SkyWest flight

A vape pen battery caused a fire in an overhead bin on a SkyWest Airlines flight on Wednesday. It's the latest in a string of incidents where faulty or poorly made lithium-ion batteries have caused gadgets to catch fire.
Emerging Tech

Photosynthesizing artificial leaf may be the air-cleaning tool we’ve dreamed of

Engineers from the University of Illinois at Chicago have invented an artificial leaf which could both clean up our air and provide a cost-effective type of fuel. Here's how it works.
Mobile

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-powered website creates freakishly lifelike faces of people who don’t exist

No, this isn't a picture of a missing person. It's a face generated by a new artificial intelligence on the website ThisPersonDoesNotExist.com. Here's how the impressive A.I. works.
Emerging Tech

China’s mind-controlled cyborg rats are proof we live in a cyberpunk dystopia

Neuroscience researchers from Zhejiang University, China, have created a method that allows humans to control the movements of rats using a technology called a brain-brain interface.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s MAVEN orbiter has a new job as a communication relay for Mars 2020

NASA's Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution (MAVEN) orbiter has been collecting atmospheric readings but now is taking on a new job as a data relay satellite for the Mars 2020 mission that launches next year.