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.

Emerging Tech

The grid of the future will be powered by … giant subterranean bagpipes?

In order to transition to a more renewable-focused energy system, we need to scale up our grid storage capacity --- and our existing methods aren't going to cut it. Could compressed air be the key?
Mobile

Which smartphone has the best camera? We found the sharpest shooters

They say that the best camera is always the one you have with you and that makes your smartphone camera very important indeed. Join us for a closer look at the best camera phones available right now.
Gaming

From fatalities to new characters, here's what we know about Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 releases April 23 for the PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Nintendo Switch, and PC. Here is everything we know about NetherRealm's latest fighting game, including its characters.
Gaming

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Emerging Tech

Beresheet crash caused by manual command, but reflector device may have survived

Details are emerging about what may have gone wrong with spacecraft Beresheet's failed moon landing. A manual command was entered which led to a chain reaction. But NASA still hopes to salvage use of its Laser Retroreflector Array device.
Emerging Tech

The oldest type of molecule in the universe has been located at last

A milestone in the development of the early universe was the combination of helium and hydrogen atoms into a molecule called helium hydride. But strangely enough, this ancient molecule has never been detected in space before now.
Emerging Tech

Burgers are just the beginning: Embracing the future of lab-grown everything

You’ve almost certainly heard of the 'farm to fork' movement, but what about 'lab to table'? Welcome to the fast-evolving world of lab-grown meat. Is this the future of food as we know it?
Emerging Tech

Mercury’s wobble as it spins reveals that it has an inner solid core

Scientists have long wondered what the inside of Mercury looks like, and they now have strong evidence that the planet has a large and solid metallic core. The data for the new findings was collected by the now-defunct MESSENGER mission.
Emerging Tech

Gravitational forces at heart of Milky Way shaped this star cluster like a comet

Hubble has captured the stunning Messier 62 cluster. The cluster is warped, with a long tail which stretches out to form a shape like a comet. It is thought this distortion is due to Messier 62's proximity to the center of the galaxy.
Emerging Tech

Troubleshooting Earth

It’s no secret that humans are killing the planet. Some say it’s actually so bad that we’re hurtling toward a sixth major extinction event -- one which we ourselves are causing. But can technology help us undo the damage we’ve…
Emerging Tech

Inside the Ocean Cleanup’s ambitious plan to rid the ocean of plastic waste

In 2013, Boyan Slat crowdfunded $2.2 million to fund the Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization that builds big, floating trash collectors and sets them out to sea, where they’re designed to autonomously gobble up garbage.
Emerging Tech

Climeworks wants to clean the atmosphere with a fleet of truck-sized vacuums

Using machines that resemble jet engines, Climeworks wants to fight climate change by extracting CO2 from thin air. The gas can then be sold to carbonated drink and agriculture companies, or sequestered underground.
Emerging Tech

How 3D printing has changed the world of prosthetic limbs forever

When he was 13 years old, Christophe Debard had his leg amputated. Here in 2019, Debard's Print My Leg startup helps others to create 3D-printed prostheses. Welcome to a growing revolution!
Emerging Tech

Geoengineering is risky and unproven, but soon it might be necessary

Geoengineering is a field dedicated to purposely changing the world's climate using technology. Call it 'playing god' if you must; here's why its proponents believe it absolutely must happen.