Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Jellyfish tanks, wearable luggage, 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.

JellyTank — jellyfish-friendly aquarium

Jellyfish are amazing creatures. These gelatinous, free-swimming non-vertebrates are among the oldest groups of animals on earth. They’ve been around for over 500 million years, and can be found in every ocean in the world, from the surface to the deep sea. Masters of survival, they have endured every major extinction event since the Cambrian period. But the thing is, while they’re really good at surviving in the open ocean, they’re not so great at living in tanks. They’re just not built for it, so without the right kind of aquarium, they typically don’t survive for very long.

That’s where the JellyTank comes in. This sucker was built from the ground up to be an ideal habitat for your captive jellies. It features a proprietary shape and a custom-designed pump that work together to provide a gentle flow similar to what jellyfish would experience in their natural environment. On top of that, there’s also an integrated filtration system that constantly keeps tabs on the water quality, and a set of color-variable LEDs you can use for lighting.

Read more here

Herbert — wall-mounted hydroponic garden

Want to grow your own produce, but don’t have enough space for a garden? Check out Herbert: a hydroponic vertical garden that allows folks in even the most cramped apartments to grow fresh organic food. It’s the latest product to be released by Ponix Systems, a company started by self-described “tech freaks and urban farmers.” With a vision of bringing vertical farming solutions to the people, Ponix hopes that the Herbert system will help foodies and environmentalists everywhere grow their favorite fruits and vegetables year-round without the need for herbicides or pesticides.

For those without a green thumb, the Herbert can help. To start farming, simply place a seed into one of Herbert’s biodegradable sponges, add water and biomineral fertilizer to the tank, and sit back. According to the Ponix team, this vertical farming method requires 90 percent less water, though it yields 40 percent more harvest when compared to traditional farming, as your garden stays safe and protected from the elements. Even if your space doesn’t get a lot of sunlight, Herbert can still grow food. The setup features its own proprietary LED technology that adjusts to provide your plants the exact wavelengths of light they need for optimal photosynthesis.

Read more here

Slughaus Bullet 02 — world’s smallest flashlight

Flashlights are a handy thing to have with you at all times, but most people will agree that lugging around a full-size (or even somewhat compact) flashlight is a bit of a pain. More often than not, it’s easier to skip the flashlight altogether and just use an app on your smartphone. But what if there was a flashlight so small that you’d hardly even notice you’re carrying it?

That’s where the Bullet 02 comes in. Its creators claim that it’s the “smallest LED flashlight in the world,” so it’s ideal for fitting onto a key chain or throwing in your pocket without adding unwanted bulk or weight. The bullet-shaped light measures just 10.5mm x 30mm, and it weighs just 6 grams, thanks to a design that uses ultra-lightweight aerospace-grade aluminum. It’s also water-resistant, so it can be used in rain, sleet, snow, and pretty much any other kind of inclement weather. The device is being funded right now on Kickstarter, and you can get your paws on one for just $10 if you back the project during the early stages.

Read more here

Airport Jacket — cargo jacket for travel

If you always find yourself forking out for excess baggage every time you take a flight, then an Aussie-based startup has come up with an ingenious solution that’ll have you confidently packing the kitchen sink for your next trip.  The “Airport Jacket” is, for all intents and purposes, a wearable suitcase. With a whopping 14 pockets and two detachable pocket panels capable of taking up to 15 kgs. (about 33 lbs.) of stuff, your only concern will be ensuring your legs don’t give way as you stagger toward the check-in desk.

Crucially, the jacket — with all the stuff inside — can be quickly transformed into a small bag (with handles) so you only need to put it on when you arrive at the airport. Once you’re through check-in and on the plane, you can fold it back up again before throwing it into one of the overhead bins. Just don’t be surprised if you get stopped by TSA for longer than usual. It’s not exactly the most inconspicuous thing you could wear to the airport.

Read more here

GPD Pocket — tiny, ultraportable Netbook

Remember netbooks? They were all the rage a few years back, but the fad seemed to die out as a new generation of tablets and 2-in-1s gained popularity. But the miniature laptops haven’t died off completely, and GPD’s newest product is proof positive of that. The GPD Pocket, as its called, is an ultraportable and ultracompact netbook, presumably designed to compete with all the other mobile computing options available today. With a phablet-sized screen an full qwerty keyboard, it’s small enough to fit in a pocket, yet big enough to function like a small  Windows 10 laptop.

The Pocket runs everything with an Intel Atom x7-Z8700 CPU with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. That’s not going to break any performance records, but it should be suitable for web browsing and productivity tasks. A 7000mAh battery should keep things running for a few hours, at least.  In addition, GPD gave the Pocket a very MacBook-like magnesium alloy chassis that measures a diminutive 180mm x 106mm x 18.5mm, and it weighs a relatively light 480 grams. It has a tiny keyboard and a red nubbin for controlling the cursor, and connectivity comes by way of a USB Type-C port, a USB 3.0 connection, and HDMI. Wi-Fi is 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.1 rounds out connectivity.

Read more here

Emerging Tech

Burgers are just the beginning: Embracing the future of lab-grown everything

You’ve almost certainly heard of the 'farm to fork' movement, but what about 'lab to table'? Welcome to the fast-evolving world of lab-grown meat. Is this the future of food as we know it?
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

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 movies on Netflix in March, from Buster Scruggs to Roma

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Gaming

The best of the last generation: Our 50 favorite Xbox 360 games

The Xbox 360 thrived during a generation where games were plentiful. Here's our list of the best Xbox 360 games of all time, including all game genres and even a few special indie hits.
Emerging Tech

Beresheet crash caused by manual command, but reflector device may have survived

Details are emerging about what may have gone wrong with spacecraft Beresheet's failed moon landing. A manual command was entered which led to a chain reaction. But NASA still hopes to salvage use of its Laser Retroreflector Array device.
Emerging Tech

The oldest type of molecule in the universe has been located at last

A milestone in the development of the early universe was the combination of helium and hydrogen atoms into a molecule called helium hydride. But strangely enough, this ancient molecule has never been detected in space before now.
Emerging Tech

The grid of the future will be powered by … giant subterranean bagpipes?

In order to transition to a more renewable-focused energy system, we need to scale up our grid storage capacity --- and our existing methods aren't going to cut it. Could compressed air be the key?
Emerging Tech

Mercury’s wobble as it spins reveals that it has an inner solid core

Scientists have long wondered what the inside of Mercury looks like, and they now have strong evidence that the planet has a large and solid metallic core. The data for the new findings was collected by the now-defunct MESSENGER mission.
Emerging Tech

Gravitational forces at heart of Milky Way shaped this star cluster like a comet

Hubble has captured the stunning Messier 62 cluster. The cluster is warped, with a long tail which stretches out to form a shape like a comet. It is thought this distortion is due to Messier 62's proximity to the center of the galaxy.
Emerging Tech

Troubleshooting Earth

It’s no secret that humans are killing the planet. Some say it’s actually so bad that we’re hurtling toward a sixth major extinction event -- one which we ourselves are causing. But can technology help us undo the damage we’ve…
Emerging Tech

Inside the Ocean Cleanup’s ambitious plan to rid the ocean of plastic waste

In 2013, Boyan Slat crowdfunded $2.2 million to fund the Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization that builds big, floating trash collectors and sets them out to sea, where they’re designed to autonomously gobble up garbage.
Emerging Tech

Climeworks wants to clean the atmosphere with a fleet of truck-sized vacuums

Using machines that resemble jet engines, Climeworks wants to fight climate change by extracting CO2 from thin air. The gas can then be sold to carbonated drink and agriculture companies, or sequestered underground.
Emerging Tech

How 3D printing has changed the world of prosthetic limbs forever

When he was 13 years old, Christophe Debard had his leg amputated. Here in 2019, Debard's Print My Leg startup helps others to create 3D-printed prostheses. Welcome to a growing revolution!
Emerging Tech

Geoengineering is risky and unproven, but soon it might be necessary

Geoengineering is a field dedicated to purposely changing the world's climate using technology. Call it 'playing god' if you must; here's why its proponents believe it absolutely must happen.