Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Giant 3D printers, one-wheel skateboards and more

the hoverboard
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 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.

Million Mile Light — Motion-powered running light

What if your safety light would only stay lit as long as you kept moving? Sounds strange, but that’s exactly the concept behind Million Mile Light, a freshly-launched Kickstarter project that’s “powered by motion and engineered to never give up.” The light, which never needs a battery and, consequently, will theoretically never die, is powered by a tiny, silent, kinetic engine that allows for four ultra bright LEDs to blink with each step you take.

Kinetic chargers definitely aren’t a new thing. They’ve been around for decades at this point, and can be seen in things like self-winding watches and “shake-to-shine” flashlights. Million Mile Light uses this exact same technology, just for a different purpose. The user’s movement (in this case running or jogging) causes magnets inside the device to move. As they jostle around, these magnets push electrons through surrounding wire coils, which creating the electrical current needed for the LED lights to blink.

Read more here.

Robin — Cloud-based smartphone

As you are no doubt aware, smartphones are as common as pigeons these days — but this one is a bit different than what we’re used to seeing. What sets the Nextbit Robin apart from other smartphones is its ability to take apps, photos, and all other forms of media and store them automatically in the cloud. Nextbit is capable of moving apps that haven’t been used, freeing up space that can be used to download more apps, store more music, and take more photos.

Using the latest version of Android, Nextbit has created a program that automatically makes space for more media and apps. On top of the 32GB of onboard storage, it has 100GB of cloud storage where all of the inactive apps, photos, and videos are stored. When you want to use the app again, you tap on the app, let it download and load it up.

Read more here.

Helix — Full-size folding bicycle

Designers have been trying to perfect the “folding bicycle” for ages at this point, but generally speaking, all the compact designs that people have cooked up thus far aren’t all that great. Most of them favor smaller wheels and goofy-looking designs — but Helix aims to change that. Unlike practically every other folding bike in existence, this badboy sports full-sized wheels and a sturdy, well-balanced frame. And thanks to some brilliant engineering, it still manages to fold down into one of the most compact forms that we’ve ever seen.

When it’s all bundled up, Helix measures in at just 23 inches long, 25 inches tall, and only 9 inches wide. It’s pretty light, too, tipping the scales at just over 21 pounds. Compared to most other folding bikes, that’s pretty damn lightweight. The lack of heft comes mostly from the frame, which happens to be made of pure titanium — so you’ll never have to worry about it rusting. There’s also no paint to chip or flake off on the bike — just glorious, glimmering metal.

The Beast — Giant quad-extruder 3D printer

On the spectrum of additive manufacturing, there are consumer-level 3D printers at one end, and industrial-level 3D printers at the other — and very little in between. Consumer printers are cheap, compact, and can produce relatively small parts, but if you want to print something bigger, your only option is to upgrade to an industrial printer — which are oftentimes more expensive than your average sports car. Printing big parts (say, over a one cubic foot in volume) is still largely out of reach for consumers.

Australian outfit Cultivate3D wants to change that, and has built a badass new printer to make it happen. The Beast, as they call it, boasts a massive 18.5 x 17 x 27-inch build area — making it possible to print a wide variety of objects that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. It’s also got a relatively high print resolution, and an unprecedented four-nozzle extrusion system that makes it possible to print four objects at once. And the best part? Even with all these awesome features, it still costs less than $1,900.

Hoverboard — Mono-wheeled skateboard

Full disclosure: this isn’t actually a hoverboard. That’s just what the manufacturer, Hoverboard Technologies, decided to call it, and it’s admittedly a bit misleading. Truth be told, it’s just a mono-wheeled electric skateboard — but it’s still pretty awesome. Instead of the traditional two wheels at the front and back, the Hoverboard features one giant rubber wheel situated directly in the center, and packs an internal motor capable of propelling the board to speeds upwards of 16 miles per hour.

While riding, its built-in gyroscope allows users to balance on the board with their feet placed on either side of the wheel. In addition to its technical specs, the hoverboard also boasts customizable LED lighting, a built-in Bluetooth speaker, and LCD readouts to give you a heads up on any pertinent alerts. According to Bigler’s website, the board is also capable of charging in just 16 minutes and allows for a ride of around ten to twelve miles on a single charge. Considering the fact it weighs in at roughly 25 pounds, we think it’s safe to say running into a dead battery with this thing would be far from ideal.

Read more here.

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