Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Smart Rubik’s Cubes, diving drones, robot artists

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 fidget spinners and janky iPhone cases to round up the most unusual, ambitious, and exciting new crowdfunding projects out there this week. That said, keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even the best intentioned — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

Titan — underwater drone

We’ll let Digital Trends’ Luke Dormhel give you the scoop on this one: “Underwater drones are everywhere these days — especially on crowdfunding sites. The latest of these is an underwater drone named Titan, which recently splashed down on Kickstarter with the goal of raising funds to go into production.

‘Titan can dive up to 150 meters (490 feet), which provides users more space to explore and more choices,’ Alan Wang, chief technical officer for manufacturer Geneinno, told Digital Trends. ‘Other drones can only take people down to 50m or 100m. Some people will say 100m is enough, but we believe exploring the unknown is human nature and [something a lot of people want to do]. The only reason they haven’t done it yet is because they don’t have the right tools to achieve it.’

As Wang makes clear, Titan’s big selling point is the fact that it can go where few drones dare. It can then document this undersea world with a high-end 4K camera, which is capable of capturing both video and still images. Moving around is accomplished with six thrusters that give Titan a high degree of movement and impressive maneuverability at a speed of up to two meters per second. There are even a couple of LED spotlights that throw out a combined 3,000 lumens of illumination so you can see where you’re going.”

Scribit — write and erase robot

Robotic drawing machines are nothing new at this point. Neither are web-connected gizmos that let you display digital artwork on your walls. But what is new is the idea of combining both of these ideas with a single device. How neat would it be to have a little robot that can not only draw stuff on your walls, but also erase and draw something new whenever you feel like switching up your decor? That’s precisely the idea behind Scribit, the latest robot to hit Kickstarter.

“Scribit is a small ‘writing robot’ that can draw images and text on any vertical surface,” the creators explain on their campaign page. “What if you could instantly turn your office or living room wall into a canvas for digital content, and update it in real time? A restaurant can post the day’s menu on its wall, professionals can support their focus by writing new motivational sentences every day, or someone who loves art can draw on a Van Gogh — or their own drawings — onto their bedroom wall.”

Runvi — smart insoles

Here’s a quick excerpt from the full article we published earlier in the week: “We’ve seen a lot of smart exercise tools designed to help runners become faster and more efficient, including a host of fitness trackers, smart shoes, and apps. Now you can add smart insoles to the list as well, as a new product called Runvi promises to be an artificial intelligence-driven running coach to help you achieve your running goals. Runvi, which launched on Kickstarter on June 12, consists of smart insoles and an iOS app — complete with Apple Watch support — which work in tandem with one another to offer insights into a runner’s performance.

For instance, each of the insoles is equipped with 30 advanced pressure sensors and two accelerometers to collect an accurate representation of an athlete’s form while running. The device can tell whether or not the user pronates his or her foot, has too slow of a cadence, or is a heel striker, all of which can impact running efficiency.  That data is then compiled and examined by A.I. to offer real-time feedback to the runner on how to improve their form. That feedback can even come in the midst of a run, with a voice in their headphones making suggestions on how to correct inefficiencies while on the go. The goal is to eliminate excess fatigue, avoid injuries, and improve speed.”

Car Hammock — in-vehicle hammock

Sleeping in your car is a pain in the ass, both literally and figuratively. It combines all the things that suck about sleeping in a tent with all the things that suck about riding in your car all day. No matter how much you adjust things, your sleeping platform always seems to end up being uneven and uncomfortable. But what if there was a better way? What if you could fit a hammock inside your car and enjoy the unparalleled comfort of a suspended sleep system? Well, if the creators of the Car Hammock have their way, that dream might soon become a reality.

Car Hammock is exactly what it sounds like. It’s a hammock that goes in your car. How does this work? It’s pretty straightforward, actually. The hammock is basically a big reinforced sheet equipped with a series of adjustable straps on its edges. These straps wrap around your car’s frame and collectively provide enough support to hold the hammock aloft. Not only does this give you a comfortable spot to sleep, but it also frees up the area beneath you for gear and other miscellaneous crap you keep in your car.

GoCube — connected Rubik’s Cube

As DT’s Luke Dormehl explains, GoCube is “a smart, connected cube that promises to open up exciting new play experiences and features for all players. It works in a couple of key ways. One is as a more accessible entry point into the world of Rubik’s Cubes, a puzzle that can often be daunting to (and therefore quickly discarded by) new players.

GoCube keeps track of your cube solving through a virtual re-creation on your mobile device, allowing you to examine your moves, progress, statistics, and even gain access to step-by-step tutorials. It also turns the experience into a multiplayer game by opening up features like online battles, shared leaderboards, live competitions (in which players all start from exactly the same cube positions), and more. In other words, whether you’re a fresh-faced newbie or a grizzled veteran with the Rubik’s Cube scars on your digits to prove it, this could be the cube for you.

‘Rubik’s is a great game,’ GoCube creator Udi Dor told Digital Trends. ‘However, so many people don’t cross the barrier of learning how to solve it just because it seems so complicated. For cubers [who have completed the puzzle], there’s no real feedback or a way to properly measure their performances and to improve. GoCube doesn’t change the basic game; it improves and modernizes the overall experience, making it modern, accessible, intuitive, measurable, and most importantly, globally connected and socialized.’”

1 of 12