Skip to main content

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Laser razors, portable wind turbines, mo-cap suits

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 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.

Skarp — Laser-powered shaving razor

If you needed more evidence that we’re living in the future, look no further than Skarp. Instead of a traditional razor blade, this gizmo uses a low-power laser beam to zap all the hair off your face. That means no more razor burn, no more putting toilet paper on cuts, and no more buying new blades over and over again.

It might sound gimmicky, but laser shaving isn’t just a superficial upgrade from a good ol’ fashioned blade. According to the Kickstarter page, a laser razor might actually be better for troubled skin. It burns the hairs it passes over instead of cutting it off, and apparently doesn’t irritate the skin at all. When you laser the hairs instead of cutting them, hair follicles are left with a rounded edge at skin level — as opposed to the usual sharp pricklies left by a traditional razor. This means a smoother feel with less risk of ingrown hairs, which can be particularly troubling for those with curly hair.

Read more here.

Salto DK1 — Affordable full-body motion capture suit

Generally speaking, motion capture technology has historically been one of those things that only deep-pocketed animation studios have had access to. To do it properly, you needed all manner of special suits, camera equipment, studio space, and processing software  — but soon that might not be the case. A startup from Denmark named Rokoko Electronics has built a suit called the Salto DK1 that makes motion capture easier and more affordable than ever before.

The system is comprised of an array of tiny inertial measurement units (IMUs) that you can strap to your body. Because it doesn’t rely on optical detection like earlier mo-cap suits, the DK1 doesn’t suffer from line-of-sight restrictions and can be used both indoors and outdoors. Furthermore, in addition to motion capture, could be used for things like game interaction, virtual reality, sport analysis, medical analysis, and more.

Read more here.

Skreenz — Multitasking media player box

Imagine having a football game, Netflix, YouTube, and a video game on your TV all at once, and being able to switch between them at will, like picture-in-picture on steroids. Boston-based startup Skreens has recently announced two new devices that would allow TV viewers to watch up to four different sources on one screen. The little boxes, dubbed the NexusTwo and NexusFour, are designed to blend together streaming TV, broadcast TV, game consoles, and pretty much any other HDMI video source, all into one interface.

The boxes run a 1GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 MPCore processor, with 4GB RAM, but it’s the unique video processor that supposedly makes it possible to view multiple content sources with zero lag. Skreens says the two small Nexus boxes are powered by “patent-pending innovation at the silicon layer.”

Read more here.

Unique — NFC smart watch band

Let’s not kid ourselves here – it’s pretty easy to deduce that consumers care about the appearance of things they wear on their wrists. Yet the vast majority of smart watches produced each year — even high-end ones — tend to be gaudy, glossy, and unattractive. It’s a shame, but smart watch designers generally seem to go for a futuristic look rather than a timeless one.

Unique takes a different approach. Rather than redesigning the watch face itself, this gizmo tucks away all the tech into a classy leather watchband. This way, you still get the timeless aestheic appeal of your regular old wristwatch, but also with a slew of high-tech functions. The strap’s built-in NFC chip connects to your phone, allowing you to receive alerts when you get a call, message, or leave your phone behind.

Read more here.

Trinity — Portable wind turbines

Forward-thinking designers all over the world are finding inventive ways to produce clean, renewable energy: Plugs that allow you to use solar power without owning panelsdigestion machines that turn food scraps into electricity, oceanic thermal energy harvesters — the list goes on and on. We’re truly living in a renaissance for renewable energy.

The latest entry into this booming category comes from Minnesota-based investment firm Janulus, which has developed a line of portable wind turbine prototypes, dubbed Trinity. Available in four different sizes, the Trinity lets users store generated power and sell off any energy they don’t use, and it even works where wind speed isn’t particularly high. The team behind the project also developed a companion smartphone application allowing users to turn the Trinity on or off while also providing details on how much energy the device generates each day.

Read more here.

Editors' Recommendations

Drew Prindle
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Drew Prindle is an award-winning writer, editor, and storyteller who currently serves as Senior Features Editor for Digital…
Don’t buy the Meta Quest Pro for gaming. It’s a metaverse headset first
Meta Quest Pro enables 3D modeling in mixed reality.

Last week’s Meta Connect started off promising on the gaming front. Viewers got release dates for Iron Man VR, an upcoming Quest game that was previously a PS VR exclusive, as well as Among Us VR. Meta, which owns Facebook, also announced that it was acquiring three major VR game studios -- Armature Studio, Camouflaj Team, and Twisted Pixel -- although we don’t know what they’re working on just yet.

Unfortunately, that’s where the Meta Connect's gaming section mostly ended. Besides tiny glimpses and a look into fitness, video games were not the show's focus. Instead, CEO Mark Zuckerberg wanted to focus on what seemed to be his company’s real vision of VR's future, which involves a lot of legs and a lot of work with the Quest Pro, a mixed reality headset that'll cost a whopping $1,500.

Read more
Meet the game-changing pitching robot that can perfectly mimic any human throw
baseball hitter swings and misses

Who’s your favorite baseball pitcher? Shane McClanahan? Sandy Alcantara? Justin Verlander? Whoever you said, two of the top sports-tech companies in the U.S. -- Rapsodo and Trajekt Sports -- have teamed up to build a robot version of them, and the results are reportedly uncannily accurate.

Okay, so we’re not talking about walking-talking-pitching standalone robots, as great a sci-fi-tinged MLB ad as that would be. However, Rapsodo and Trajekt have combined their considerable powers to throw a slew of different technologies at the problem of building a machine that's able to accurately simulate the pitching style of whichever player you want to practice batting against -- and they may just have pulled it off, too.

Read more
The best portable power stations
EcoFlow DELTA 2 on table at campsite for quick charging.

Affordable and efficient portable power is a necessity these days, keeping our electronic devices operational while on the go. But there are literally dozens of options to choose from, making it abundantly difficult to decide which mobile charging solution is best for you. We've sorted through countless portable power options and came up with six of the best portable power stations to keep your smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other gadgets functioning while living off the grid.
The best overall: Jackery Explorer 1000

Jackery has been a mainstay in the portable power market for several years, and today, the company continues to set the standard. With three AC outlets, two USB-A, and two USB-C plugs, you'll have plenty of options for keeping your gadgets charged.

Read more