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.


These wireless earbuds use an A.I. to get you moving faster

The new Soul Blade wireless earbuds provide the ability to track your heart rate during a workout while an A.I.-powered coach gives advice and info on how to improve form and efficiency while exercising.

Here’s everything we know about the zombie-infested, survival horror Days Gone

Days Gone, the first PS4 title from Sony's Bend Studio, looks to offer a different type of zombie game. Here's everything we know about the forthcoming title, from the setting to its gameplay.

Wage war on a budget with these fun and free first-person shooters

We all know about Halo and Call of Duty by now, but what about quality titles that won't cost you upward of $60? Check out our picks for the best free first-person shooter games from Paladins to Quake Champions.

In 2019, laptops are better than ever. Here are the best of the best

The best laptop should be one that checks all the boxes: Great battery life, beautiful design, and top-notch performance. The laptops we've chosen for our best laptops you can buy do all that — and throw in some extra features while…
Emerging Tech

NASA to launch SPHEREx mission to investigate the origins of our universe

NASA is launching an ambitious mission to map the entire sky to understand the origins of the universe. The Spectro-Photometer for the History of the Universe, Epoch of Reionization and Ices Explorer (SPHEREx) mission will launch in 2023.
Emerging Tech

Probes exploring Earth’s hazardous radiation belts enter final phase of life

The Van Allen probes have been exploring the radiation belts around Earth for seven years. Now the probes are moving into the final phase of their exploration, coming closer to Earth to gather more data before burning up in the atmosphere.
Emerging Tech

Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

When Facebook introduced its Portal screen-enhanced smart speakers, it wanted to find a way to make video chat as intimate as sitting down for a conversation with a friend. Here's how it did it.
Emerging Tech

How can digital art created on obsolete platforms be preserved?

As the lines between art and technology continue to blur, digital art experiences become more commonplace. But these developments are raising an important question for art conservationists: How should digital artworks be preserved?
Emerging Tech

Statistician raises red flag about reliability of machine learning techniques

Machine learning is everywhere in science and technology. But how reliable are these techniques really? A statistician argues that questions of accuracy and reproducibility of machine learning have not been fully addressed.
Emerging Tech

Chandra X-ray telescope uncovers evidence of the universe’s missing matter

Where is all of the matter in the universe? NASA's Chandra telescope has uncovered evidence of hot gas strands in the vicinity of a quasar which could explain the missing third of matter which has puzzled astronomers for years.
Emerging Tech

Wish you could fly? You totally can with these top-of-the-line drones

In just the past few years, drones have transformed from a geeky hobbyist affair to a full-on cultural phenomenon. Here's a no-nonsense rundown of the best drones you can buy right now, no matter what kind of flying you plan to do.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s space observatory will map the sky with unprecedented detail

NASA is preparing to launch a cutting-edge space observatory to create the most detailed map ever produced of the sky. Doing so will involve surveying hundreds of millions of galaxies. Here's how it plans to do it.
Smart Home

No strings attached: This levitating lamp uses science to defy gravity

Now on Kickstarter, the Levia lamp is a cool industrial-looking lamp which boasts a levitating bulb. Looking for a table light that will dazzle visitors? You've come to the right place.
Emerging Tech

The Great White Shark’s genome has been decoded, and it could help us end cancer

In a significant step for marine and genetic science, researchers have decoded the genome of the great white shark. The genetic code revealed a wealth of insight into what makes these creatures so successful from an evolutionary standpoint.