Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: $5 computers, cold-brew coffee makers, and more

At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns 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. In this column, we cut through all the worthless wearables and Oculus Rift ripoffs to round up the week’s most unusual, ambitious, and exciting projects. But don’t grab your wallet just yet. Keep in mind that any crowdfunded project can fail — even the most well-intentioned. Do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

BeanPlus — Cold brew coffee maker

Over the past few years, cold brew coffee has grown from a fringe enthusiast affair to a full on cultural phenomenon — and for good reason. Cold brew coffee tastes just as rich, complex, and delicious as its higher-temp brother — but it doesn’t contain many of the bitter oils, fatty acids, and other undesirable elements like ketones, esters, and amides. This ultimately makes it tastier, healthier, and easier on your stomach — but unfortunately, it’s not particularly easy to brew. Generally speaking, cold brewing takes a long, long time.

That’s where BeanPlus comes in. It’s a bit different from other cold brew coffee brewers because it utilizes a Dutch-style drip method instead of the traditional tea bag technique. Though both methods offer a cup of coffee that’s less acidic and smoother than your run-of-the-mill drip coffee machine, the drip method of cold brew coffee produces coffee that’s richer and fuller bodied while taking a fraction of the time to brew — four to five hours instead of the tea bag method’s 12.

Read more here

BloomSky Sky2 — Crowdsourced weather station

If you’ve ever felt like regular weather forecasts don’t offer the granular level of detail you’re looking for, then you should definitely check out BloomSky — a startup that aims to do for weather what Waze does for traffic. The company has recently taken to Kickstarter with two innovative new products. The first — and most notable — is the company’s second-generation weather camera station, which measures temperature, humidity, barometric pressure, and precipitation. Using it, your Sky2 device will capture real-time HD weather images every five minutes, which then form a time-lapse of your local weather conditions.

The second device is called Storm, and is a new wireless add-on measuring rainfall, wind speed, wind direction, and UV to help give an even more accurate view of your local climate. The crowdfunding campaign is offering the devices individually or as a package — complete with mounts, tripod stands, and solar panels. With them installed, you’ll be able to easily collect and broadcast weather data in real time to friends, family, and anyone else who’s interested.

Read more here

Nanofarm — Indoor agriculture for your home

Ideally, we would all be able to grow our own produce and have fresh food whenever we want it, but the unfortunate truth is that if you live in an urban area and don’t have your own patch of soil, cultivating a garden is easier said than done. Sure, you could always grow stuff in pots inside your house, but if you have a limited amount of square footage and sunlight in your pad, growing more than a couple sprigs of lemongrass is pretty tough.

Nanofarm, an upcoming contraption from Georgia-based startup Replantable, aims to remedy this problem. It’s essentially system of modular, stackable, self-contained indoor garden pods designed to live on your kichen counter. The system features daylight spectrum LEDs that provide as much light as a California summer day (yet consume less than a dollar of electricity per month). On top of that it has a whisper-quiet ventilation system that provides your plants with the carbon dioxide, and pushes oxygen-rich air into your living space.

Read more here

Cowarobot R1 — Self-driving auto-follow suitcase

Is lugging a roller suitcase around the airport too much of a hassle for you? Do your arms grow weary at the mere thought of dragging your belongings manually? If so, the Cowarobot R1 might be right up your alley. It’s essentially a motorized suitcase that’s designed to autonomously follow you around while you sprint toward your gate.

Inside the handle is where the R1’s smarts are hidden, including a depth sensor, a sonar, and a sensor for detecting steep drops, so it won’t roll its way onto a set of stairs. If you would rather take control, then grab the handle and switch to manual mode. Should the R1 get lost, and it’s out of your line of sight, then a tap of your connected wristband will help it navigate back. The wristband also activates the case’s smart lock, and will vibrate if you leave the R1 behind.

Read more here

Omega 2 — $5 Linux computer

Microcontrollers like Arduino and Raspberry Pi have become very popular in recent years, but their functionality is primarily aimed at hobbyists and coders. Now, a new product on Kickstarter looks set to make the idea of a microcomputer more attainable than ever. That device is the Omega 2 — a pint-sized computing device that can do all the basic tasks you would expect from any other computer. You can use it to do some word processing, check your emails, even play video games — but this computer can be yours for just five dollars.

For that price, you get a tiny board that you can hook up to any monitor and keyboard and put to use. It comes pre-installed with a host of useful open-source software, and apps that allow you to use and interact with it more like a normal computer. It even has its own App Store where you can discover even more apps! For the more adventurous, you can even build apps with our SDK and publish them on the Onion App Store to share with the world.

Read more here

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Pocket-sized drones and anti-road-rage displays

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's fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix right now (June 2019)

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.
Smart Home

The cordless vacuum gets a reinvention thanks to these Dyson disciples

Dyson has been a shining light in the home appliance industry for decades but a pair of its former employees are working to change the cleaning industry with a new cordless vacuum called Lupe.
Emerging Tech

Hypnotic spinning top throws out crazy optical illusions as it rotates

Remember the never-ending spinning top in the movie Inception? The new 'Mozmocoin' promises to both spin for over 10 minutes and also throw out some dream-worthy optical illusions as it does.
Emerging Tech

Uber Eats’ drone delivery service could see Big Macs hit speeds of 70 mph

Uber Eats is testing meal delivery using drones. The company wants to start a commercial delivery service using the drone this summer, but it still needs permission from regulators.
Emerging Tech

A giant new solar farm in Texas will harness the sun’s rays to … brew beer?

Brewing beer is surprisingly energy intensive. With a giant new solar farm in Texas, the world’s largest beer manufacturer promises to brew 100% of its beverages using renewable energy.
Emerging Tech

This lifesaving wearable could diagnose strokes more accurately

A new breakthrough wearable device uses two light measurement techniques to track the body's blood circulation — and accurately predict deadly strokes in the process. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Sloshed drone pilots in Japan can now be punished with jail time

If you're flying a drone in Japan, better not be sloshed when you send your bird skyward. A new law passed this week could see drunk drone pilots sent to jail for up to a year or hit with a hefty fine.
Emerging Tech

Mount Everest is now home to the world’s highest weather station

A team of scientists has created a new record with the installation of the world’s highest weather station atop Everest. Data from the expedition will help researchers better understand the effect of climate change on the region.
Emerging Tech

This drone with hands looks like a nightmare straight out of Black Mirror

This unlikely drone-with-hands creation is the work of Federico Ciccarese, the brains behind YouBionic, a bionic hand project that has evolved far beyond its original brief. Check it out.
Emerging Tech

This crazy-looking robot uses microspines on its legs to climb up walls

Researchers at Carnegie Mellon have built a bioinspired robot, which uses microspines on its feet to grip onto rough surfaces. This allows it to climb up very steep gradients. Check it out.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Florida’s autonomous vehicle law, E3 updates, and more

On this episode of DT Live, we take a look at the biggest trending stories in tech, including Florida allowing fully autonomous vehicles on the road, Atari’s new gaming system, E3 updates, high-speed rail, and more.
Emerging Tech

Got $400 million to burn? The world’s largest airplane is up for sale

Stratolaunch, the world's largest airplane, is up for sale. All it'll cost you is $400 million dollars. The brainchild of late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen, the plane was supposed to make space travel more accessible and affordable.
Emerging Tech

Ex astris, scientia: Star Trek logo spotted on the surface of Mars

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has been boldly going to Mars and capturing images since 2005, and now it has spotted something where no man has gone before: a structure on the planet's surface which will look familiar to Trekkies.