Awesome tech you cant buy yet: Solar hot dogs, dive cams, and crazy keyboards

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.

GoSun Dogger — Solar powered hot dog cooker

Harnessing the power of the sun and concentrating its energy to generate heat is something that humans have been doing for millennia. Back in the second century AD, it’s said that Archimedes used a giant parabolic mirror array to set approaching warships on fire, and people were likely experimenting with solar energy long before that, too. But still, 2,000 years down the road, we’re still doing it the same way. Our equipment, however, has gotten considerably more advanced.

Take GoSun’s new solar cooker, for example. This little gizmo is basically a miniaturized version of the same parabolic mirror array — but designed for the sole purpose of cooking hot dogs. Rather than being forced to fiddle with charcoal briquettes or build a roaring fire, the Dogger, as its called, allows you to cook hot dogs quickly and completely with nothing but a few rays of sunshine. It is smaller than GoSun’s other devices too, which means you can easily pack it along on camping trips and short hikes.

Read more here

OctoSpot — Action cam for scuba divers

The action cam bandwagon is pretty full these days. In an effort to steal some of GoPro’s thunder, most of the major camera manufacturers and outdoor companies have joined the fray. As a result, most action cameras are all pretty similar, and designed to be used in a variety of extreme sports or outdoor adventures. The Octospot Dive Camera is different, however. Instead of being okay for a few different sports, this one is purpose-built to be the ideal camera for one specific activity.

Here’s the deal: recording high quality video underwater is way more difficult than it might seem. The problem is that as you go deeper, you gradually begin to lose certain wavelengths of light, which is why most footage shot below 33 feet tends to look green. Some cameras offer filters and modes that attempt to fix this, but OctoSpot takes it a step further. The camera has a built-in pressure sensor that automatically adjusts the color balance for whatever depth you happen to be filming at. The result is perfectly balanced 4K video of your underwater adventures.

Read more here

The Z — Roll, pivot, and tilt-sensitive gaming mouse

The computer mouse has come a long way since it was first invented, but even in a world full of crazy advanced computer peripherals, New Zealand-based startup Swiftpoint still managed to reinvent the wheel. The company’s new product, the Z, is arguably the most capable mouse that’s ever been invented. By combining new buttons and triggers with pivot and tilt gestures, the Z allows you to pull off 50 distinct actions — all without having to move your hand from its position on the device

These new actions can be mapped to a wide range of different functions on your computer. For example, mouse tilt can be used to control a video game character’s body position, while the pivot could be used to adjust camera angle. And it’s not just for games either — the Kickstarter video demonstrates how the mouse’s pressure-sensitive buttons can also streamline tasks in word processing software. Seriously, go watch the video — this thing is crazy.

Read more here

Das Keyboard 5Q — Cloud-connected keyboard

What if instead of just using your keyboard as an input device, you could also use it as an output device? What if in addition to using to enter information, you could use it as a way of displaying information as well? It sounds odd, but that’s exactly the idea behind the new 5Q from Das Keyboard. Basically, this thing is a cloud-connected RGB LED-backlit mechanical keyboard that can be customized and controlled via the Internet.

In other words, that means that you can configure each individual key to display a different piece of information — or use multiple keys together to display more complex info. For example, you could link the color of your space bar to the outside temperature in your area so that it would glow blue when its cold, but glow orange or red when its hot. And that’s just the most simple example. If you want to get really crazy, you could even code your keys to represent a bar graph of stock values, or perhaps even set your whole keyboard to blink when you get an urgent email from your boss. It’s totally up to you how you use it.

Read more here

Zore X — Connected, intelligent gun lock

If you’re going to keep a gun in your house, you damn well better keep it in a secure place where there’s little chance of it falling into the wrong hands. That being said, locking your firearm away in a safe isn’t exactly ideal since, on the off chance that you ever needed to use it for defense, you’re forced to fiddle with a combination lock or fish out a set of keys. The ideal solution would be a lockbox that offers both security and quick, reliable access.

Enter the Zore X: a cleverly-built gun lock that features an electro-mechanical dial designed to provide maximum security, but also quick unlocking even in the event of an emergency. The accompanying smartphone app, meanwhile, will receive gun-movement notifications, and can send you a message for any dial movement that takes place on the lock. In essence, it offers all the security of a safe, with the quick access of a biometric lock — and it’s more reliable than both.

Read more here

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: 1-handed drone control, a pot that stirs itself

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!
Gaming

The plug-and-play PC Classic joins the retro console bandwagon

Gaming company Unit-e is creating the PC Classic, a plug-and-play retro console that will come bundled with around 30 of the best DOS games. The system will support gamepads and keyboard setups.
Computing

Windows 10 notifications driving you crazy? Here's how to better manage them

Are the notifications on Windows 10 annoying you? Here's our guide on how to turn off notifications in Windows and how to manage alerts so that the important stuff still gets through.
Product Review

With the Z7, Nikon gives DSLR holdouts the mirrorless wonder they've waited for

Nikon’s long awaited full-frame mirrorless cameras are here, and the Z7 is the new flagship model. But does it stand up to the company's DSLR pedigree, and, more importantly, does it have what it takes to compete with the likes of Sony?
Photography

Get your Sagan on with 60 awe-inspiring photos of the final frontier

Few things instill a sense of wonder quite like the final frontier. The best space photos show off the beauty of Earth, our solar system, and the far corners of the universe. Here are our current favorites.
Deals

Cyber Monday 2018: When it takes place and where to find the best deals

Cyber Monday is still a ways off, but it's never too early to start planning ahead. With so many different deals to choose from during one of the biggest shopping holidays of the year, going in with a little know-how makes all the…
Product Review

Airselfie 2 may as well be a GoPro stapled to a drunk hummingbird

On paper, the Airselfie 2 is marketed as flying photographer that fits in your pocket and snaps selfies from the sky. Unfortunately it’s more like a HandiCam controlled by a swarm of intoxicated bumblebees
Emerging Tech

‘Bionic mushroom’ can generate electricity without using fossil fuels

Researchers have come up with a way to produce electricity without fossil fuels using mushrooms covered with bacteria. The mushroom provides a safe environment for special cyanobacteria that generate electricity when light is shone on them.
Emerging Tech

Curiosity rover active and drilling again after computer issue

The Curiosity rover has succeeded in drilling a hole into the tough bedrock that previously defeated it, allowing imaging and collection of samples. The rover had been incapacitated for a few weeks due to problems with its computer.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers discover two rogue planets that do not orbit a star

Astronomers have identified two rogue planets in our galaxy which do not orbit around a star. Unlike the vast majority of discovered planets, these rogue planets drift through space alone with no sun to shine on them.
Emerging Tech

Pairs of supermassive black holes spotted in colliding galaxies

Astronomers have discovered several pairs of supermassive black holes in galaxies that are colliding with each other. These black holes will spiral closer and closer together and eventually merge into one supermassive black hole.
Emerging Tech

Quantum-based accelerometer can locate objects without GPS

Researchers have created a quantum "compass" that allows navigation without satellites. The instrument, technically called a standalone quantum accelerometer, is small enough to be transportable and has a very high level of accuracy.
Emerging Tech

Ancient continent discovered beneath the ice of Antarctica

Antarctica could be hiding the remains of a long-lost continent. Scientists created a 3D map of the crust beneath the Antarctic ice sheet which shows a similarity to the crust in Australia and India, suggesting they used to be joined.
Emerging Tech

Rocket Lab steps into spotlight with its first commercial rocket launch

Rocket Lab has deployed multiple small satellites into orbit in its first notable commercial launch. Its New Zealand-born boss said the success means "rapid and reliable access to space is now a reality for small satellites."