Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: GPS for your pet, camera glasses, 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.

Findster Duo — subscription-free GPS pet tracker

When you let your dog off its leash, do you get a little twinge of concern that he might run off and get lost? If unleashed pet worries are part of your world, the Findster Duo GPS pet tracker is definitely worth checking out. According to its creators, it’s the first GPS tracker with no monthly fees — which is practially unheard of. Dog collars with GPS and cellular connectivity, such as the Link AKC Smart Collar, typically have monthly service fees that range from around $7-$10 per month — but the Findster Duo has no GPS or cellular fees because it uses a proprietary local wireless technology called Maze. Once you buy the unit, that’s it — there are no ongoing access, cellular, or GPS fees.

The Findster system includes a pet module with a Velcro collar attachment, a guardian module you can carry or keep in your pocket, and a USB charger for both modules. The modules themselves communicate wirelessly for a range of up to 2 miles, so as long as you and your dog are within range of each other, the pet module’s GPS location will be viewable via the Findster mobile app.

Read more here

Orbi Prime — wearable 360 degree camera glasses

Want a pair of glasses that can record video, but don’t want to suffer thrugh the inevitable chuckles and snike remarks you’ll get if you wear Google Glass? Not to worry — Orbi Prime has you covered. It’s basically a set of cameras that are discreetly tucked inside of a pair of normal-looking spectacles. Nevermind the fact that the device is equipped withfour HD cameras and automatic stitching software to create 360 video with a 4K resolution — the best part about these things is that you don’t look like a doofus while you wear them.

After you’ve caught some sweet video of your adventures, built-in Wi-Fi connects the glasses to an accompanying smartphone app for editing, browsing, and sharing. The glasses are charged using a Micro USB cord and can (allegedly) record up to 90 minutes of 360 video per charge. And since Orbi designed these things to be used in the great outdoors, the camera-glasses also feature a splashproof/rainproof (but not submersible) design.

Read more here

Switch Bot — Internet-connected switches for home automation

Even with the zillions of smart home devices that are available these days, automating everything in your house is still a pain. Your options are either: A.) foot the bill for an expensive, professional whole-home automation system, or B.) install a bunch of individual smart gizmos for each thing you want to automate, then try your damndest to navigate through the laundry list of control apps scattered across your smart phone. Thus far, there hasn’t really been a simple solution that offers a way to automate all the things you want, but through a unified and affordable platform.

That’s where Switch Bot comes in. Touted as “the world’s smallest remote robot,” it’s basically a tiny internet-connected trigger for mechanically controlling the various switches and buttons in your home — all from the comfort of your phone or tablet. In essence, it makes dumb devices into smart(er) ones, no matter what they are or what kind of mechanical action they require to be activated. To use the device, download the app, attach Switch Bot to an appliance or light switch using 3M mounting tape, configure your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and then set any preferences you want in terms of automating the turning on and off process.

Read more here

Eve V — Crowd-designed 2-in-1 Windows tablet

If you haven’t been following the progression of the Eve V, don’t worry — here’s a quick rundown. Basically, this company Eve has been crowdsourcing design ideas and specifications for the ideal 2-in-1 tablet, and then using those ideas to build the world’s best mobile PC. Virtually every aspect of the Eve V — from its basic shape to its components and features — were developed based on input from the community that the company built around the product. And now, after years of careful listening and development, Eve has released the final hardware specs for the device and opened up preorders on Indiegogo.

As you’d expect, the Eve V is an absolute beast (on paper). When it ships in late 2017, it will come equipped with your choice of  7th Gen Intel Core M3/i5/i7, 8 or 16GB of  LPDDR3 RAM, a 128/256/512 SSD, a 12.3-inch IGZO LCD with 2736X1824 resolution, 1:1400 contrast ratio, a Gorilla Glass touch panel with Anti-Fingerprint and Anti-Reflection coating, and all the inputs, outputs, and sensors you could ever want. Check out our full post for details — it’s basically a dream team of components, and will likely give the yet-to-be-released Microsoft Surface Pro 5 a run for its money.

Read more here

Long — high capacity, sensor-optimized portable charger

Portable, rechargeable battery packs are as common as pigeons these days. They come in just about every shape, size, capacity, and color you could ever want — but that doesn’t necessarily mean there’s not room for innovation. As the Long battery demonstrates, you can still stand out from the crowd with the right blend of features and functionality.

Designed by Kazakhstani inventor Amad Zhakov, Long is built to provide days (not hours) of charging for your devices — no matter how big or small they might be. But capacity alone isn’t the battery’s best feature. It’s also equipped with a myriad of sensors that help regulate voltage input, charging speed, and even battery heat. These sensors allow the battery to determine the optimal recharge rate for your devices, helping you juice up quicker and spend less time at the charger. As an added bonus, Long also comes with just about every input and output port you could ever need, so you’ll never have to fiddle with adapters ever again.

Read more here

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!
Deals

Stay fit and save cash with our top 10 affordable Fitbit alternatives

As much as we love Fitbits, they're rather expensive. If all you want is a simple activity tracker, however, then check out these great cheap Fitbit alternatives. With offerings from brands like Garmin, you don't need to pay full price.
Smart Home

OK Google, what else can you do? The best tips and tricks for Google Home

The Home functions in a similar fashion to its main competitor, the Amazon Echo, but has the added benefit of select Google services. Here are few tips to help you make the most of the newfangled device.
Mobile

Worried about extra data charges? Here's how to check your usage on an iPhone

It's common to get a little nervous about nearing data limits. Keep your peace of mind by checking how much data your iPhone is using. Our guide on how to check data usage on an iPhone helps you stay in control.
Mobile

Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

Sphero is known for devices like the Sphero Bolt and BB-8 Star Wars toy, but now the company is back with another addition to its lineup -- the Sphero RVR. The RVR is a fully programmable robot car that can be expanding with different…
Emerging Tech

Japanese spacecraft will collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu by shooting at it

The Japanese spacecraft Hayabusa 2 will soon touch down on the asteroid Ryugu, where it will collect a sample by shooting a bullet into the soil. The sample will be returned to Earth in 2020 to learn about the formation of asteroids.
Emerging Tech

We tried a $500 electronic dab rig, and now we can’t go back to normal vaporizers

Induction heating is the future of cannabis vaporizers. Loto Labs wowed us with what likely is the best concentrate vaporizer on the market today. With a $500 price tag, it's expensive, but it should definitely be your next dab rig.
Emerging Tech

Hong Kong’s vision for a smart prison is a full-blown Orwellian nightmare

Hong Kong wants to bring prisons up to date by introducing new location-tracking wristbands for inmates, and a robot arm whose job is to comb through poop on the lookout for contraband.
Emerging Tech

No faking! Doctors can now objectively measure how much pain you’re in

Researchers at Indiana University School of Medicine have discovered the blood biomarkers that can objectively reveal just how much pain a patient is in. Here's why that's so important.
Emerging Tech

SeaBubbles’ new electric hydrofoil boat is the aquatic equivalent of a Tesla

What do you get if you combine a Tesla, a flying car, and a sleek boat? Probably something a bit like SeaBubbles, the French "flying" boat startup which offers a fresh spin on the hydrofoil.
Emerging Tech

Israel will launch world’s first privately funded moon mission tomorrow

This week will see the world's first privately funded lunar mission launch. Israel's first mission to the moon will be launched aboard SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket on Thursday, February 21.
Emerging Tech

FDA warns about the dangers of anti-aging blood transfusions

It turns out injecting old people with blood from healthy youngsters may not be the answer to health rejuvenation. That’s according to the FDA, which says such claims are dangerous junk science.
Emerging Tech

Here’s where to watch this week’s SpaceX launch from Cape Canaveral

If you've been following the SpaceX launch calendar, you know this week marks the first launch from Cape Canaveral in two months. We have the details on where you can watch the launch live.
Emerging Tech

Bees can do arithmetic, setting the scientific community abuzz

A new study has found something remarkable: Bees can do basic arithmetic. Researchers showed that bees could use colors as representations for numbers and then use those colors for addition and subtraction.