Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Home steam cleaning, futuristic pianos, e-skin

Best new Kickstarter and Indiegogo Projects
At any given moment, there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns on the web. Take a visual stroll through the best new Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects, 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.

Tersa — home steam-cleaning system

There are few things more mundanely embarrassing than a wrinkled shirt. Imagine getting up in front of the executives at work to deliver a presentation, only to notice them snickering. You look down and realize your shirt has the texture of a human brain. The shame! Normally, you should iron your clothes, but this can be time-consuming, and there’s always the chance you might burn your threads. The creators of the Tersa aim to eliminate the stress of ironing with a fully-automated steam-cleaning system.

A slender box that you can mount on your wall, the Tersa steam cleans and presses your clothes, and the creators claim the process takes no more than ten minutes. Not only will the device clean your clothes, but it will even leave them smelling good. Simply hang your item in the machine, close the door, plug in one of the proprietary fragrance pods, and press the button.

Read more here

E-skin — skin you play in

Don’t freak out! E-skin is not actually a replacement for your epidermis. It is a shirt with sensors that track movement. While wearing it, you can send inputs to machines using the movements of your body. One clear application for this is gaming, particularly VR. No longer must you be bound to old-fashioned controllers (or even the more recent, wand-like VR controllers). With the e-skin, your body moves your character.

Even if you’re not into video games — or cannot afford a VR-worthy computer — the e-skin has useful applications. The shirt can be programmed for all sorts of purposes, including fitness tracking and wellness, and it can even alert you if your posture is bad. It is also easy on the eyes, resembling a training shirt from the future.

Read more here

All Controller

Are you the sort of person who owns multiple gaming consoles, and/or a PC gaming rig? Chances are you’ve got quite a few controllers lying around. Wouldn’t it be nice if, instead of constantly changing devices depending on the game, you had one controller that works with everything? That’s the premise the creators of the All Controller are running with. The result is a gamepad that can be used with any system or game, emulating various control methods, even mouse and keyboard.

Not only is the All Controller designed to work with any setup, but you can even adjust the button configurations and sensitivities to a precise degree, managing joystick dead zones and programming macros. The devices comes in both wired and wireless configurations, with up to 40 hours of battery life.

Read more here

Nope — sound blocker

Do you ever feel like somebody’s watching you? It’s more problematic than you may think, as hackers can use malware to hijack your webcam. These miscreants can even tap the microphones on your computers, tablets, and phones to listen in on your conversations. It’s enough to make anyone feel like they’re living in a spy movie, in a bad way.

You can never be too cautious in the digital world. While you can tape over your webcam, blocking your microphone can be more difficult. The Nope sound blocker plugs into your devices, disabling the on-board mic. The minuscule device is easy to adjust, and can be plugged into a keychain so you don’t lose it. The Nope webcam cover is a tiny, sliding mechanism that attaches to devices, allowing you to quickly cover or uncover your webcam.

Read more here

mPiano — midi controller/piano of the future

Are you tired of that analog piano sound? Want something that will let you stretch your boundaries, but don’t think a Casio is up to the task? Enter the mPiano, a svelte electronic instrument that looks like a piano but has modern machinery under the hood.

Despite the name, the mPiano is actually a MIDI controller. You can plug it into an iPad or computer for some intense sound editing. Sensors located under each key allow users to slide their fingers along the keys to modulate sound, so if your guests ask you to play, you can skip the classics and bust out some Emerson, Lake & Palmer. If you simply want to hammer on the keys like Liszt, you can do that too.

The mPiano’s sleek, minimalist design make it a much more convenient addition to a home than an old-fashioned grand piano.

Read more here

Emerging Tech

A river of stars one billion years old flows across the southern sky

Astronomers have identified a river of stars flowing across our galaxy and covering most of the southern sky. The estimated 4000 stars that comprise the stream were born together and have been moving together for the last one billion years.

These 13 gadgets walk a fine line between ingenious and insane

The annual avalanche of devices and gadgets is astounding, but how many will succeed? A few are destined to spark new trends, while the majority fade deservedly into obscurity. We look at some gadgets on the border of brilliant and bonkers.

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.

Here's how you can play your favorite PC games with a Nintendo Switch controller

Nintendo's Switch controllers, including the Joy-Cons and the aptly titled Pro Controller, use Bluetooth, which makes them compatible with your PC. Here's how to start using them for PC gaming.

These are the coolest games you can play on your Google Chrome browser right now

Not only is Google Chrome a fantastic web browser, it's also a versatile gaming platform that you can access from just about anywhere. Here are a few of our favorite titles for the platform.

The HoloLens 2 will be announced at MWC. Here's what we know about it so far

The HoloLens 2 is ripe for an announcement. Here's what Microsoft has revealed so far, what's likely in store for the next generation HoloLens, and everything that we know about this mixed reality headset.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

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 sure is fun to gawk!
Emerging Tech

Descending at an angle could be key to landing heavier craft on Mars

Landing on Mars is a challenge: The heavier the craft, the more difficult a safe landing becomes. Scientists propose using retropropulsion engines and angling the craft to create a pressure differential to land heavier crafts in the future.
Emerging Tech

Ant-inspired walking robot navigates without GPS by using polarized light

What do you get if you cross Boston Dynamics and Ant-Man? You get Antbot, a robot from the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) which uses ant-like navigation to move around without the aid of GPS.
Emerging Tech

InSight’s heat probe will dig 16 feet beneath the surface of Mars

New images from NASA's InSight mission to Mars have confirmed that the lander succeeded in setting the Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package instrument onto the surface, from where a self-hammering spike will burrow downwards.
Emerging Tech

White spots on Ceres are evidence of ancient ice volcanoes erupting

Scientists are pouring over data collected by NASA's Dawn mission to learn about the dwarf planet Ceres and the bright white spots observed at the bottom of impact craters. They believe that these spots are evidence of ice volcanoes.
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

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?