Skip to main content

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet, for the week of October 25, 2013

awesome tech you cant buy yet october 25 2013 mab sphere robotic house cleaning swarm
Image used with permission by copyright holder

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, ambitious, and downright stupid projects out there – far too many for any reasonable person to keep up with.

But here at DT we are not reasonable people. We spend an inordinate amount of time poring through crowdfunding sites and product blogs in search of the next Oculus Rift or Pebble Watch, so we’re here to bring you a quick roundup of the best projects that are currently up and running.

Chipolo – Bluetooth item finder

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 9.01.30 AMAre you constantly losing track of stuff like your keys, wallet, cellphone, or heck – even your shoes, pets, or children? Well with the help of Chipolo, a tiny Bluetooth-enabled item finder, you needn’t worry about misplacing your things ever again. Essentially, these things are little radio tags that communicate with your smartphone to help you keep track of stuff you care about. The project launched on Kickstarter on Monday this week, and it’s already blasted past it’s funding goal. Since they’re relatively cheap and simple to manufacture, Chipolo plans to ship them to backers as early as December of this year.

Luci – Lucid dream-inducing headband

Lucid dream inducing headbandSo just last week we ran a hands-on piece for a lucid dreaming mask called Remee. It uses a small array of LEDs to beam patterns through your eyelids while you’re fast asleep, the idea being that you’ll recognize these patterns while you’re in a dream and become lucid. That is, aware that you’re dreaming while you’re still asleep. It was a cool idea, but it had plenty of flaws – the main one being that it couldn’t actually detect when you were in a deep sleep state.

Luci, a new project on Kickstarter, is pretty much the same idea, but executed in a better way. Rather than using lights to alert you that you’re in a dream, it uses sound; and rather than relying on guesswork to determine when you’re in a deep sleep state, the headband incorporates an EEG electrode that can read your brainwaves. Brilliant.

Retrievor – Solar-powered GPS tracker 

Screen Shot 2013-10-25 at 8.59.24 AMHollywood makes it seem like getting your hands on a GPS transponder is the easiest thing in the world, but in reality, tiny little ones that you can easily stick on the undercarriage of someone’s car or slip into a pocket are hard to come by. But that’s about to change if this new project on IndieGoGo meets its goal. Retreivor is a tiny GPS transponder module that’s completely self-charging thanks to a small solar cell array on it’s top side. Just place it on whatever you want to track, and all the location data will be magically beamed to the cloud, where you can check up on it via Retrievor’s website. Let’s just hope the designers put more thought into the device than they did into the atrocious slideshow video.

Cricket – Bluetooth bike alarm system

cricket bike alarmHaving your bike stolen sucks, and unless you had the foresight to install some kind of retrieval system on it, the only recourse you have in the situation is typically just to keep a close eye on Craigslist in hopes the culprit will be stupid enough to post it. Cricket hopes to solve this problem by offering you a last line of defense against theives. It’s not GPS location tracker, but rather a silent alarm system that sends an alert to your smartphone when your bike goes outside of range. This means it’ll only work if you’re relatively close to your bike, but it’s definitely better than constantly looking over your shoulder.

Mab Sphere – Robotic house cleaning swarm

mab sphereThis crazy futuristic design concept has been all over the web for the past couple months, but it wasn’t until recently that it was named the winner of the Electrolux Design Lab competition, which means it’ll soon move past the conceptual phase and eventually become a real, live product. The system, designed by 23-year-old Adrian Perez Zapata, starts out with a sphere device that rolls into the room when it is programmed for a cleaning session. It will scan the room to recognize the space, and determine which mode it needs to clean in: fast, normal, or exhaustive. When it’s ready, 908 tiny robots will fly out of the sphere core, picking up the water and cleaning solution mixture you’ll have preloaded inside the machine out to various parts of the room. 

Drew Prindle
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Drew Prindle is an award-winning writer, editor, and storyteller who currently serves as Senior Features Editor for Digital…
4 simple pieces of tech that helped me run my first marathon
Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar displaying pace information.

The fitness world is littered with opportunities to buy tech aimed at enhancing your physical performance. No matter your sport of choice or personal goals, there's a deep rabbit hole you can go down. It'll cost plenty of money, but the gains can be marginal -- and can honestly just be a distraction from what you should actually be focused on. Running is certainly susceptible to this.

A few months ago, I ran my first-ever marathon. It was an incredible accomplishment I had no idea I'd ever be able to reach, and it's now going to be the first of many I run in my lifetime. And despite my deep-rooted history in tech, and the endless opportunities for being baited into gearing myself up with every last product to help me get through the marathon, I went with a rather simple approach.

Read more
This bracelet helps you fall asleep faster and sleep longer
woman-in-bed-wearing-twilight-apollo-on-ankle

This content was produced in partnership with Apollo Neuroscience.
Have you been struggling to get the recommended seven hours of sleep? It's always frustrating when you get in bed at a reasonable time, then toss and turn for a hours before you actually sleep. The quality of that sleep is important too. If you're waking up multiple times during the night, you're likely not getting the quality REM cycle sleep that truly rejuvenates your body. If traditional remedies like herbal teas and noise machines just aren't helping, maybe it's time to try a modern solution. Enter the Apollo wearable.

Now we understand being a little skeptical. How can a bracelet on your wrist or ankle affect your sleep patterns? Certainly the answer to a better night's sleep can't be so simple. We considered these same things when we first heard of it. We'll dive deeper into the science behind the Apollo wearable, but suffice it to say that many people have experienced deeper, uninterrupted sleep while wearing one.
A non-conventional approach to better sleep

Read more
The 11 best Father’s Day deals that you can get for Sunday
Data from a workout showing on the screen of the Apple Watch Series 8.

Father's Day is fast approaching and there's still time to buy your beloved Dad a sweet new device to show him how much you love him. That's why we've rounded up the ten best Father's Day tech deals going on right now. There's something for most budgets here, including if you're able to spend a lot on your loved one. Read on while we take you through the highlights and remember to order fast so you don't miss out on the big day.
Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 -- $200, was $230

While it's the Plus version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 that features in our look at the best tablets, the standard variety is still worth checking out. Saving your Dad the need to dig out their laptop or squint at a small phone screen, the Samsung Galaxy Tab A8 offers a large 10.5-inch LCD display and all the useful features you would expect. 128GB of storage means plenty of room for all your Dad's favorite apps as well as games too. A long-lasting battery and fast charging save him the need for a power source too often too.

Read more