Awesome tech you can’t buy yet, for the week of January 25, 2015

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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 there’s 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.

Luxafor — Physical busy signal

Ever wish there was a way to passively let your coworkers know that you’re too busy to talk (aside from literally writing the words “PISS OFF” on your forehead)? Well now there is. Luxafor is a status indicator that lets everyone know when you don’t want to be bothered. The device, which comes in both wireless and wired forms, syncs with an accompanying desktop app and uses an array of multicolor LEDs to indicate your status or give you alerts. The application allows you to set the light to green (available), red (do not disturb), as well as use the light as a notification system for emails, calendar reminders, and other important information. There’s even an “advanced” mode that allows you to customize Luxafor and reprogram it to better suit your needs.

Jack — Wi-Fi guitar cable

Cords are a pain in the ass. It doesn’t matter what you’re using — vacuum, computer mouse, telephone, guitar — cords are just universally inconvenient and annoying. You’ve gotta unravel (and oftentimes untangle) them to use them, they get in the way while they’re in use, and when it’s all said and done, you’ve still got to wind them up and figure out a way to store them. Cable management tools are literally an entire category of products on Amazon. But it doesn’t have to be that way — at least not while you’re jamming. Jack is a completely wireless guitar lead cable that frees you from the tyranny of the cable, and allows you connect your guitar to any amp or pedal (as well as any computer, phone, or tablet) over Wi-Fi. The project has already surpassed its $20K funding goal, and expects to ship to backers as early as May.

Bettery — A better way to get batteries

In a nutshell, Bettery hopes to revolutionize the way we use batteries. How? By replacing the disposable single-use (buy and throw away) retail approach with an innovative kiosk-based-exchange model. The company has developed an interconnected network of kiosks that dispense and manage rechargeable “Betteries” internally, and allow you to simply swap out drained Betteries for fresh, ready to use Betteries whenever you need more juice. If this model catches on, it could significantly reduce the amount you pay for batteries. Instead of paying for the whole battery, you’re basically paying only for access to the energy contained within the battery –er, Bettery. Whatever. By allowing people to share and re-use the distribution platform (the battery casing itself) among fellow consumers, Bettery’s system would effectively drive down battery costs, and also eliminate waste.

Poseidon — Waterproof portable charger

Waterproof smartphones are cool and all, but every gadget meets its match when the battery is dead and you’re miles away from the nearest outlet. If you’re out in the rough or near water, then carrying a fragile external battery is risky – however Poseidon is a new rugged external battery designed to survive those tough environments. As far as we can tell, this is the first and only IP68, MIL-spec external battery out there. What this means is that the external battery is designed to be just as rugged as a Panasonic Toughbook, while also waterproof. The unit can survive up to four minutes of submersion, as well as any drops or tumbles that would most likely shatter your average battery pack. Believe it or not, the Poseidon even survived being blasted by a shotgun from just 35 feet away. Convinced yet?

Ampere — Wireless charging sleeve

There’s no shortage of portable power packs in the market, but the vast majority of them require you to carry your charging USB cables along with you in order to use charge your devices. Carrying extra cables is always a hassle, but the folks at Novelsys aim to change that.  The company has developed a slick leather charging sleeve called Ampere, which comes with wireless charging capabilities, and is big enough to fit most smartphones. All you have to do is place your smartphone inside the sleeve, and let Ampere handle the rest. The device relies on the Qi standard for electromagnetic inductive charging, so it’ll work with any Qi-enabled device right out of the box, or you can retrofit your phone with a thin receiver if it’s not already compatible. Ampere also includes a USB charging port for all your non-Qi devices that need charging


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