Skip to main content

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: E Ink high heels, a pain-relieving wearable

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.

PocketLab — Simple, low-cost multisensor

PocketLabScientific experimentation is easy if you’ve got access to the right tools, but for those of us without keys to a lab full of equipment, collecting and analyzing data from the physical world is often a daunting task. Stanford grad student Clifton Roozeboom (for real) aims to change that, and put cheap, easy-to-use experimentation tools in the hands of anyone who wants them. To do this, he has developed a small multisensor called PocketLab. This durable little box is outfitted with all the necessary sensor tech to measure acceleration, force, angular velocity, magnetic field, pressure, altitude, and temperature.

Using the accompanying cloud software, you can easily analyze all the data you collect, create graphs, and integrate your data with other software. It’s everything you need to get out there and start gathering information about the world around you.

Wonder Cube — Eight-in-one keychain tool

Wonder CubeI don’t care what you’ve got on your keychain. Bottle opener, screwdriver, maybe even a little flashlight/pocketknife combo — the Wonder Cube outclasses pretty much every other keychain tool we’ve ever seen. It boasts an impressive list of functions, doubling as a 3-inch long charge/sync cable when unfolded, a smartphone stand (thanks to a micro suction cup plate), an LED light, and a backup battery charger that juices up your phone by plugging it into a standard 9V battery.

It even functions as both a memory stick thanks to a Micro USB card reader built into its USB plug. All this tightly packed into a compact (only one cubic inch) little cube that weighs just 30 grams. The project has already blasted past its original $50K funding goal, and is currently sitting pretty at well over 90K from more than 1,800 backers.

Quell — Electronic pain-relieving device

QuellThis one sounds too good to be true, and we probably wouldn’t believe it if we hadn’t given it a quick try at CES back in January. Quell is a wearable device that attaches to your upper calf and promises to make chronic pain go away within 15 minutes of putting it on. Quell’s ‘OptiTherapy’ electrode-driven technology uses non-invasive nerve stimulation to make this possible, allowing it to provide “100 percent” prescription-free relief to anyone who uses it. Creator NeuroMetrix claims that Quell is capable of relieving different types of chronic aches, from nerve pain to lower back problems.

On a single charge, the device is able to provide up to 40 hours of relief, while Bluetooth connectivity allows it to pair with an iOS device and to track your therapy sessions. It’ll be available later this spring for $250 — and it’s already FDA approved, something that’s always a good sign for any medical gizmo.

eBumper4 — Obstacle avoidance for drones

eBumper4It may not be as glamorous as building vehicles that go faster, fly higher, or shoot more beautiful images, but making drones less likely to crash into walls and people’s faces is pretty critical to advancing the technology as a whole. That’s exactly what the Panoptes team hopes to do with the eBumper4: an obstacle avoidance system that can be retrofitted onto some of the more popular consumer drones on the market to stop them from running into things. The system relies on four sonar sensors aimed to the front, top, left, and right. Once activated, the sensors then constantly monitor the drone’s surroundings.

When the system detects that the drone is approaching an obstacle and in danger of colliding with it, it takes over control and bounces it back to safety. If there happens to be objects on both sides of the drone, its self-centering feature sees the system position the drone midway between those obstacles.

Volvorii — Customizable E Ink heels

VolvoriiGood news ladies — thanks to a novel application of E Ink technology (the stuff that powers your Kindle), you might finally be able to use the same pair of heels for every outfit in your closet. Lithuanain startup Ishuu Technologies has created a new type of smart shoe called Volvorii that allows the wearer to customize its pattern whenever they want.

The bulk of the shoe is comprised of rubber and leather, but it also sports a strip of e-paper on either side, and a small Bluetooth LE module near the heel. To change the pattern, simply connect Volvorii to your iPhone or Android device, and use the accompanying app to set the pattern of your choice. Due to the nature of the technology, color options are limited to just black and white, but the number of patterns you can create are practically limitless.

More awesome tech you can’t buy yet:

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

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