Awesome tech you can’t buy yet, for the week of September 7, 2014

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At any given moment there are approximately a zillion different crowdfunding campaigns happening on the WebTake 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.

Digitsole — Interactive insoles for your shoes

DigitsoleWith brisk autumn nights steadily approaching, the thought of wool socks and a roaring fire is never far from our minds. However, what if you could instantly conjure heat at your feet no matter where you were? Digitsoles are designed to do exactly that, allowing you to conveniently control the temperature of each insole using an accompanying mobile app that’s available for Android and iOS devices. Not only do the cushioned devices function much like any other insoles, providing flexible arch support and reducing shock to the heel with Neotech molding, but they can automatically adjust your feet to a predetermined temperature using a set of built-in thermostats. Moreover, you can slip the devices into nearly any pair of shoes, or simply use them to track your steps and the amount of calories you’ve burned throughout the day.

Related: ThermaCell heated insoles make cold feet a thing of the past

PLAYBULB — Flameless, color LED candles

PLAYBULB candleWe admit a LED candle isn’t the most exciting invention in the world, but PLAYBULB’s latest offering looks to combine the flameless offerings of yesterday with the smartphone-connect lightbulbs of tomorrow. The Kickstarter project blew past its modest funding goal in a matter of days, garnering more than $30,000 and selling out of a number of rewards. Once you install three AA batteries into the cylindrical devices, you can connect to the candles to your iOS or Android device using the accompanying mobile app. Then, simply change the color and adjust the brightness as you see fit using the interface sliders. You can even shake your phone to select a random color, or blow out the flameless candles like you would normally using the built-in sensor. Hell, it even comes equipped with a normal candle holder on the bottom and moonlights as a scent diffuser. I’d say it’s high time to bid farewell to Febreeze.

Related: Philips Hue BR30 review and our favorite Hue lightbulb apps

MOTA SmartRing — Smartphone-connected ring

MOTA SmartRingWith the rumored iWatch possibly set to debut next week and IFC 2014 well underway, there’s been no lack of smartphone talk among the tech community. The MOTA SmartRing isn’t a premium wristwatch built to seamlessly integrate with your smartphone, though. It’s a simple ring that uses Bluetooth 4.0 to wirelessly connect with your Android or iOS device, allowing you to view text messages and email notifications without having to fumble through your backpack for your smartphone. The water-resistant, touchscreen device supports a limited number of gesture controls as well — meaning you can quickly swipe the sleek LED display to bring up the next notification — along with wireless charging via the bundled dock. The jet-black and pearl models may not be as stunning as your engagement ring, but then again, your engagement ring can’t notify you of Facebook pokes via a set of customized vibrations.

Related: Fashionable smart ring Ringly gets a new, trendier design for winter

DrinkMate — Pint-sized breathalyzer

DrinkMateFor most of us, refraining from driving under the influence is a no-brainer — as is gloating about how sloshed you are on Facebook when you’re already under probation for doing it once before. Nonetheless, sometimes the line between sobriety and intoxication is blurry, especially after indulging in a happy-hour drink (or four). Fortunately, Edge Tech Labs’ DrinkMate is designed to alleviate any doubt when it comes to your blood-alcohol content level. Touted as as the world’s smallest breathalyzer, the 1.8-inch device lets you test your BAC level using a semiconductor-based sensor located on the end of the lightweight capsule. The DrinkMate also utilizes the micro-USB on your Android device for power, and moreover, comes bundled with an accompanying mobile app so you can view your results whenever you feel the need to do so. After all, drinking and driving don’t mix quite as well as that Jack and Coke at your local watering hole.

Related: A new laser device can remotely detect alcohol vapors in cars

Jaha — Affordable fuel band

jaha bandGiven the average cost of fitness tracker hovers around $80, it’s was only a matter of time before someone decided to craft a budget-based option for the masses. Like many fitness enthusiasts, the Jaha founders were fed up with the steep offerings from the likes of Nike and Fitbit, so they set out to design a device that capitalizes on the hallmarks of other fitness trackers without the high price. The Jaha and its accompany mobile app keeps track of your daily steps, calories, and sleep activity much like other fitness offers, yet it also provides a social component not offered elsewhere. For instance, Jaha users can quickly locate nearby workout partners, or take on specific individuals or teams in competitive challenges. The waterproof bands are set to launch in November with iOS connectivity if funded, with an Android app coming some time next year.

Related: DT’s fitness apparel reviews and our favorite fitness trackers

Wearables

Google's Wear OS update 'H' promises battery life improvements

Google has rebranded its Android Wear operating system to Wear OS. Removing the Android name may help people better understand Google-powered smartwatches, which also play nice with iOS devices. 
Mobile

The Motiv smart ring is coming to 20 more countries and physical stores

Remember Motiv's activity tracking smart ring? It's back with a raft of new features that adds biometric identification and token authentication, all on a device that fits on your finger.
Health & Fitness

Withings new Pulse HR is a customizable, connected fitness tracker

Inspired by Withings first ever fitness tracker the Pulse, the new Pulse HR is updated with the latest in fitness tracker technology including smart notifications, 24/7 heart rate tracking, and more.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for November 2018

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Emerging Tech

In a weighty decision, scientists prepare to redefine the kilogram

Metrologists are meeting at the General Conference on Weights and Measures in Versailles to vote on whether to redefine the kilogram as a constant that can be observed in the natural world.
Photography

See the National Forests like never before in these awe-inspiring drone videos

What's the difference between a National Park and a National Forest? Drones. With no ban on drones in National Forests -- at least, not yet -- filmmakers have a way to capture the immensity of these locations with stunning results.
Emerging Tech

Google’s balloon internet is coming to Kenya in 2019

In order to bring the internet to those who lack it, a company called Loon is launching balloons into the stratosphere. From more than 12 miles up, these balloons beam connectivity over a large area on the ground.
Emerging Tech

Hikers missing on Mount Fuji could soon find a drone buzzing above their heads

Hikers who go missing while climbing Japan's highest mountain could soon find a drone buzzing above their head. A new system using the flying machines has been set up on Mount Fuji for future search-and-rescue missions.
Emerging Tech

Elon Musk receives FCC approval to launch over 7,500 satellites into space

Not surprisingly, SpaceX is thinking big with Starlink, its space-based global broadband network. This week, the company received FCC approval to launch 7,518 satellites into a low-Earth orbit for its satellite internet service.
Cars

The world’s first 3D-printed titanium wheels are so intricate they look fake

HRE Performance Wheels and GE Additive have teamed up to create the world's first 3D-printed titanium wheels. They are not only impressively durable, but extremely lightweight as well.
Emerging Tech

Of all the vape pens in the world, these 5 are the best

Vaping concentrates has become significantly more popular, especially among those that use cannabis for medicinal purposes. But don’t use just any vape pen: we found these five devices to be our favorites in 2018.
Emerging Tech

DJI Mavic 2 Pro vs Mavic 2 Zoom: What’s the real difference?

DJI's Mavic 2 series drones are ready to fly -- but which one is right for you? The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are nearly identical save for their cameras. Here's what you need to know about these powerful new UAVs.
Emerging Tech

This startup will sequence your entire genome for free — but there’s a catch

Want to get your DNA sequenced but don’t want to shell out the hundred bucks or so to do so? A new startup called Nebula Genomics offers you the opportunity to have it done for free.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best tech gear and gadgetry that survived Shark Tank

The television show "Shark Tank" has churned out quite a few strange, interesting, and downright awesome products -- so we rounded up some of the best ones for your perusal. Enjoy!