Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Graffiti printing, smarter shades, a caffeine cuff

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.

CarbonShade — Blue-blocking eyewear

You might not realize it, but the light that enters your eyeballs has a pretty profound affect on your body and mind. When blue light (wavelength of about 470nm) enters your eyes, for example, it sends a signal to your pineal gland that tells your brain to stop producing melatonin — a hormone that helps regulate your sleep-wake cycles, and makes you feel sleepy. Your body needs blue light to wake up in the morning, but  too much exposure to blue light in the evening (usually from artificial sources like computer screens and smartphones) has been shown to have disruptive effects on your natural circadian rhythm.

After seeing the countless studies showing the harmful effects of artificial evening light exposure , the founders of eyewear startup Carbonshade started looking for a pair of glasses that could fully block out blue light. What they found is that there are zillions of orange- and yellow-tinted shades on the market right now — but very few red ones that completely block out the blue. Furthermore, most available red shades aren’t particularly stylish, so people typically just don’t wear them. So to remedy the problem, the company has built its own shades that offer the best of both worlds.

Read more here.

Rocketbook Wave — Microwave-to-clear reusable notebook

Do you burn through notebooks and find yourself constantly having to buy new ones? Rocketbook might be just what you need. The notebook is designed to be completely reusable — paper and all. Once you fill up all the pages, the Rocketbook is able to digitize all your notes and store them in the cloud, and then clear all the pages so you can write on them again. The pages of the notebook (which are just regular-ol’ paper, by the way) feature a set of seven different symbols, which can be mapped to different cloud storage services. Mark one of the symbols on the page, and when you scan it with Rocketbook’s accompanying smartphone app, a digitized copy of the page will instantly be sent to the cloud storage platform of your choice.

After you’ve you’ve filled up the notebook and digitized all your notes,  you can just pop Rocketbook in the microwave for 30 seconds and it’ll erase all your work — so long as you use a Pilot FriXion pen (they use ink that turns clear when you heat it above a certain temperature). The Rocketbook actually popped up on Indiegogo about a year ago, and now the creators have taken to Kickstarter to gather up funds for a bigger production run.

Read more here.

InsideCoach — Smart soccer ball

If you’re a right-footed soccer player with two left feet, don’t give up just yet.  A new sensor-laden ball is about to bounce onto the scene that could be your best chance to improve your skills, making you the quick-footed, sharp-shooting, perfect-passing player you always wanted to be. The InsideCoach, as it’s called, is essentially a soccer ball with a robotic coach inside. Besides offering real-time coaching cues, its myriad of talents include the ability to detect the ball’s spin and position, the power of a shot or pass, and the trajectory of the ball as it flies through the air. All this data is sent via Wi-Fi to the accompanying mobile app, where you can get check your stats and track your progress.

Besides all the stats, the app also offers soccer challenges according to skill levels, step-by-step training videos, and social features that let you compete with friends or other users around the world. The platform is open source, too, so the startup behind the smart ball is hoping other developers will jump on board over time to create their own apps for InsideCoach.

Read more here.

Joule — Wearable caffeine dispenser bracelet

Want to get your caffeine fix without gulping down a bunch of coffee or sugary energy drinks? Check out Joule — a wearable transdermal caffeine patch designed to supply you with a steady flow of caffeine throughout the day. Not only is this a drastic departure from the way we traditionally consume caffeine — it’s also a completely new approach to transdermal patches.

Currently, transdermal patches containing infused substances like nicotine and caffeine, are kept hidden underneath your clothes, and aren’t something that people generally show off. These patches are typically placed near areas with high blood flow, so that the chemicals can enter and move through your body faster. But patch placement can lead to skin irritation, and general discomfort in wearing a sticky adhesive all day.  Joule addresses these issues, and is designed to take away that discomfort, while also placing the patch in an area without much fat resistance, allowing the substance to flow faster into your body.  The FDA-approved patch dispenses caffeine immediately (apparently faster than drinking coffee) and contains about 65 milligrams — roughly the same amount as a medium sized cup of java.

Read more here.

SprayPrinter — Computer controlled graffiti

If you’re the kind of person who can’t paint a wall without leaving roller marks — never mind trying to attempt a mural — the SprayPrinter might be for you. The device allows users of any skill level to make professional-looking artwork on their walls with just a few cans of spray paint.

You start by selecting an image that you want to paint in the SprayPrinter app, then position your phone on a tripod so that the image appears (virtually) on your wall. After you’ve got everything sized and scaled to your liking, the next step is to snap the SprayPrinter nozzle onto your paint can, and start waving it over the wall. The app uses your phone’s camera to analyze the wall and tell the nozzle where to spray paint, and the valves and electronics are so fast that they can lay down color with pinpoint accuracy. SprayPrinter allows you to print 200 pixels of an image every second, just by waving your hand back and forth over the wall. To switch colors, you simply swap paint cans and keep going — the app will let you know when you’re done, and even tell you if you’ve missed a spot.

Read more here.

Music

From Jay Rock to Saba, these are the 50 best albums of 2018

We've spent the year listening to new albums, digging deep, and culling our master list into 50 favorites. From blockbuster releases to hidden gems, these are the best albums of 2018.
Mobile

How to switch from iPhone to Android: The ultimate guide

If you've decided to bridge the great tech divide and leave Apple's walled garden for the unknown shores of Android, then you'll find all the tips and advice you need to begin switching from an iPhone to an Android device.
Home Theater

Kill your cable and switch to streaming with our painless guide

If you're going to quit cable or satellite for a streaming TV solution, you're going to want to get it right the first time. We've outlined exactly how to get started, step by step. Follow our lead, and you'll never look back.
Emerging Tech

Postmates’ to roll out Minion-like autonomous delivery robots in 2019

Postmates is about to employ a cute little robot to work alongside its human delivery personnel. Called Serve, the wheel-based bot can carry items weighing up to 50 pounds and has a range of 30 miles.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Emerging Tech

Are e-cigarettes safe? Here’s what the most recent science says

Ecigarettes are widely regarded and advertised as a healthier alternative to cigarettes for people who are trying to kick the smoking habit. How safe are these cigarette alternatives? We went deep into the recent scientific literature to…
Emerging Tech

Rise of the Machines: Here’s how much robots and A.I. progressed in 2018

2018 has generated no shortage of news, and the worlds of A.I. and robotics are no exception. Here are our picks for the most exciting, game changing examples of both we saw this year.
Emerging Tech

Thrill-seekers will be able to pilot themselves in a giant drone as soon as 2019

Want to hitch a ride on a giant drone? The startup Lift Aircraft is gearing up to let paying customers fly its 18-rotor giant drones over assorted scenic landscapes across the U.S.
Emerging Tech

CRISPR gene therapy regulates hunger, staves off severe obesity in mice

Researchers from UC San Francisco have demonstrated how CRISPR gene editing can be used to prevent severe obesity in mice, without making a single edit to the mouse's genome. Here's how.
Emerging Tech

Capture app saves money by 3D scanning objects using iPhone’s TrueDepth camera

Capture is a new iPhone app created by the Y Combinator-backed startup Standard Cyborg. It allows anyone to perform 3D scans of objects and share them with buddies. Here's how it works.
Emerging Tech

Sick of walking everywhere? Here are the best electric skateboards you can buy

Thanks for Kickstarter and Indiegogo, electric skateboards are carving a bigger niche than you might think. Whether you're into speed, mileage, or something a bit more stylish, here are the best electric skateboards on the market.
Emerging Tech

Parker Solar Probe captures first image from within the atmosphere of the sun

NASA has shared the first image from inside the atmosphere of the sun taken by the Parker Solar Probe. The probe made the closest ever approach to a star, gathering data which scientists have been interpreting and released this week.
Emerging Tech

Say cheese: InSight lander posts a selfie from the surface of Mars

NASA's InSight mission to Mars has commemorated its arrival by posting a selfie. The selfie is a composite of 11 different images which were taken by one of its instruments, the Instrument Deployment Camera.
Emerging Tech

Researchers create a flying wireless platform using bumblebees

Researchers at the University of Washington have come up with a novel way to create a wireless platform: using bumblebees. As mechanical drones' batteries run out too fast, the team made use of a biology-based solution using living insects.