Awesome tech you can’t buy yet, for the week of November 23, 2014

Coffeeboxx
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, 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.

Fuffr — Multitouch extender case

FuffrIn case you haven’t noticed, smartphone screens keep getting bigger and bigger with each passing week. Hell, we even had to create the word “phablet” because many of them are now so large that we’re not entirely sure if we should call them phones or tablets. Most of us like the idea of having a lot of screen real estate to work with, but hate the idea of lugging around a phone that’s too massive to fit inside a pocket or hold comfortably in our hands. Fuffr offers a solution to this problem. Instead of extending your screen physically, this clever little case uses embedded sensors to extend the bounds of your screen virtually. With this thing clipped onto your phone, you set it on top of any flat surface and manipulate the screen by touching the area around it. We’re not entirely sure what something like this could be used for, but it’s definitely pretty cool, and we’d love to see what kinds of crazy applications people think up for it in the future.

Pantelligent — Smart frying pan

PantelligentOn the outside, Pantelligent looks and feels just like any other frying pan — but under the hood it’s got a few tricks that make it smarter than your average skillet. In addition to a temperature sensor embedded in the center of the pan, Pantelligent is also equipped with a Bluetooth LE radio in the handle, so it can relay temperature data to your phone or tablet. Once you’re all synced up, the pan’s accompanying mobile app can tell you how hot the pan is, how hot it should be, and even let you know when it’s time to add ingredients, stir, or flip. All you’ve got to do is follow the alerts and adjust the heat of your stove as directed. Pantelligent’s software knows the ideal cooking times and temperatures for a myriad of different foods, so as long as you can follow directions, you’ll end up with a perfectly cooked dish every time.

Coffeeboxx — All-terrain coffeemaker

CoffeeboxxDesigned primarily for use on construction sites, the Coffeeboxx was built to be “crush-proof, dust-proof, spill-proof, rust-proof, water resistant, [and] impact resistant.” Don’t believe it? Check out the video on the Kickstarter page. The Oxx team proves its brewer is spill-proof by tossing it in the back of a pickup and letting it slide around the bed as they skid through turns. Then they put it through a small explosion, and even go so far as to park a Jeep Wrangler atop four Coffeeboxxes — and the machines still come out completely unscathed, thanks their hardy construction and impact-resistant polymers. Necessary? Probably not if you work within spitting distance of a coffee shop. But if your jobsites are typically out in the boonies, miles away from the nearest Starbucks, then something like Coffeboxx might actually a worthwhile investment.

Lunar Mission One — Privately-funded moon mission

Lunar Mission OneThis project has an undeniably ambitious (and awesome) goal. If it manages to meet its $600,000 funding goal before December, Lunar Missions LTD will embark on a mission to send an unmanned drilling module to the south pole of the moon in 2024. The module will then attempt to drill down to a depth of at least 20 meters — ten times deeper than any previous mission has ever drilled before — and potentially as deep as 100 meters. To help the campaign meet it’s lofty funding goal, Lunar Missions LTD has devised a brilliant way to incentivize pledges: They’ll place a time capsule in the borehole, and in exchange for a monetary donation, those who pledge their support will be allowed to place anything they want on the time capsule — within certain limits, of course. Check out our full post on the mission to learn more about the mission’s objectives, and the backer rewards Lunar Missions LTD is offering.

Trunkster — Zipperless smart suitcase

trunkster-If recent trends in the crowdfunding scene are any indication, “smart” luggage is the next big thing in travel gear. Following in the footsteps of the recently-announced BlueSmart suitcase, Trunkster is yet another smart luggage design — although this one has a slightly different approach to the same idea. Instead of a zipper, Trunkster features a durable polycarbonate rolltop door, allowing fast and easy access to your belongings. It’s also outfitted with a built-in scale in the handle to take the guesswork out of weighing your gear, as well as integrated GPS transceivers that let you know the whereabouts of your suitcase at any given moment. If you should ever be separated from Trunkster, you can just fire up the accompanying smartphone app and follow the on-screen map to track it down. No more spending your holiday at the airport trying to get back your lost belongings!

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

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!
Business

Bags with brains: Smart luggage and gadgets are making travel smoother

The bag you use to tote your stuff can affect the experience of any trip. In response, suitcases are wising up, and there are now options for smart luggage with scales, tracking, and more. Here are our favorite pieces.
Computing

The Unevn One is a portable desk that brings PC gaming on the road

Bringing a gaming PC outside your usual setup can be a challenge, but the Unevn One is the first all-in-one, portable gaming desk complete with a computer chassis and integrated monitor mount.
Emerging Tech

Don’t get burned! How to back crowdfunding projects the smart way

In the world of crowdfunding, there’s no such thing as a sure thing. There's a million reasons why a project might fail. But with this handy guide, you'll be able to spot the signs of a sketchy project and decrease your chances of getting…
Emerging Tech

Take a dip in the Lagoon Nebula in first image from SPECULOOS instrument

The European Southern Observatory has released the first image collected by their new SPECULOOS instrument, and it's a stunning portrait of the Lagoon Nebula, a swirling cloud of dust and gas where new stars are born.
Emerging Tech

Robot assistants from Toyota and Panasonic gear up for the Tokyo Olympics

Japan plans to use the 2020 Olympics to showcase a range of its advanced technologies. Toyota and Panasonic are already getting in on the act, recently unveiling several robotic designs that they intend to deploy at the event.
Emerging Tech

A.I.-generated text is supercharging fake news. This is how we fight back

A new A.I. tool is reportedly able to spot passages of text written by algorithm. Here's why similar systems might prove essential in a world of fake news created by smart machines.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Computing

At $99, Nvidia’s Jetson Nano minicomputer seeks to bring robotics to the masses

Nvidia announced a new A.I. computer, the Jetson Nano. This computer comes with an 128-core GPU that Nvidia claims can handle pretty much any A.I. framework you could imagine. At $99, it's an affordable way for A.I. newbies to get involved.
Computing

Nvidia’s A.I. Playground lets you edit photos, experience deep learning research

Nvidia is making it easier to access information on deep learning research. It has launched an online space with three demos for image editing, styling, as well as photorealistic image synthesis. 
Business

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Emerging Tech

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

Imagine if the U.S. Army was able to rehearse battlezone scenarios dozens, or even hundreds, or times before settling foot on actual terrain. Thanks to virtual reality, that's now a possibility.