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: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

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!
Home Theater

Lynxsonic’s 4:33 headphones offer premium features at a not-so-premium price

If you're looking for a set of wireless headphones that has a similar feature set to Bose's QuietComfort 35 but with a lower price, the Lynxsonic 4:33 is an intriguing new contender on Kickstarter.
Emerging Tech

A Fitbit for your cat shit: Automatic litter box tracks your kitty’s health

It may look like a sci-fi teleportation chamber, but Footloose is a high-tech litter box that promises to be the most cutting-edge way for your kitty to take a dump. Here's how it works.
Mobile

Keep your new Google phone pixel perfect with the best Pixel 3 cases

If you want your new Google phone to stay pixel perfect, then you should snag one of the best Pixel 3 cases. We've scoped out some of your best options so far based on different styles, levels of protection, and budgets.
Wearables

Skydio’s self-flying drone now has an Apple Watch app for flight prep

Skydio's clever R1 autonomous drone now has its own Apple Watch app, making flight preparations simpler than ever. The $2,000 flying machine is now also selling at its first retail outlet — Apple Stores in North America.
Emerging Tech

Light-swallowing room promises Call of Duty fans the blackest of ops

What's it like to be in a room fully painted with the world's darkest material, Vantablack? The makers of one of the year's top video games teamed up with Vantablack scientists to find out.
Emerging Tech

Scientists created a condom that self-lubricates during sex. You’re welcome

Researchers from Boston University have invented a special coating for condoms which make them respond to bodily fluids by becoming more slippery. Here's how their new breakthrough works.
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

You’re so vein: Palm-based biometric system could help confirm your identity

Move over, Face ID! The next biometric security systems could rely on analyzing the unique vein patterns in your palm print. Here are some of the ways the technology could prove useful.
Emerging Tech

For only $4,950, you can get jetpack lessons from the world’s only instructor

Have you ever dreamed of flying using a jetpack? JetPack Aviation founder -- and the world's only qualified jetpack teacher -- David Mayman is now offering a day of flight instruction.
Emerging Tech

Biologists have found a hormone that could make space farming possible

Researchers have shown how space farming may be possible. By encouraging plants to excrete a certain hormone, they’ve demonstrated that crops can thrive despite challenging conditions, such as low-nutrient soil and microgravity.
Emerging Tech

Keep your holiday gift list high tech and under budget with these gadgets

Modern technology doesn't always come cheap, but there plenty of premium devices that don't carry a premium price. Whether you're looking for a streaming device or a means of capturing photos from above, our list of the best tech under $50…
Emerging Tech

When tech goes wrong: Banksy’s shredder was meant to totally destroy his artwork

Banksy's recent auction stunt was meant to totally destroy one of his most famous pieces of work, but a fault with the shredder has left the buyer with something almost certainly worth far more than the $1 million she bid for it.
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.