Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

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. Keep in mind that any crowdfunding project — even those with the best intentions — can fail, so do your homework before cutting a check for the gadget of your dreams.

April 21

IVI — closed-loop 3D printer

3D printers just keep getting crazier with each passing month — and cheaper, too. Just a few short years ago, if you wanted a printer that could also function as a laser engraver, laser cutter, and CNC mill; you would’ve had to dish out well over 2,000 bucks. Today, though? Turns out you can get one that does all that and more for around $500-600. Definitely check out the video for this thing — it looks pretty incredible.

Narwhal — self-cleaning robotic vacuum

If you’re in the market for a robotic vacuum, don’t get a Roomba. They’re garbage. They can’t clean corners, they don’t have good navigation software, and when they’re done cleaning, you still have to empty them. There are tons of better options out there that provide better features at a lower price. This one, for example, has both vacuuming and mopping functions built in, and is designed to autonomously empty its dirt reservoir when it gets full. iRobot really needs to step up its game.

Jevit — landmine removal robot

Landmines might be great for warfare, but what happens when the war is over? Since mines are so difficult and dangerous to remove, they usually just get left in the ground, waiting for some poor soul to step on them — that is, of course, unless Jevit gets makes its crowdfunding goal on Kickstarter. If funded, this hardy little robot will be deployed in areas known to have anti-personnel mines underground, and autonomously detect/excavate them. Hooray technology!

Highball — social game for stoners

Remember Bop-It? What about Simon? Well Highball is basically the bastard child of those two toys, but designed specifically as a social game for people who are high on cannabis. The object of the game is to find the red light and make it point upward before time runs out, and much like Bop-It, the amount of time you have gets progressively shorter until one person is inevitably too slow to stay in the game. Sounds pretty fun, right?

Biolite — world’s thinnest reading light

Reading lights are great and all, but the fact that you typically have to store them separately from your book is a bit annoying. If you forget either one, you’re screwed. But what if you could carry your reading light around the same way you carry around your bookmark? Better yet, what if your reading light was your bookmark? That’s precisely the idea behind Biolite.

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How 3D printing has changed the world of prosthetic limbs forever

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Avengers aftermath: From The Eternals to The Boys, things are about to get weird

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NASA is building an inflatable space robot named King Louie

NASA is funding an inflatable robot called King Louie which could travel to the stars in deflated form and then be blown up when and where required. Here is why that's so exciting.
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The Technology of Marijuana

Mobile technology is finally advancing out of the standard form we've become used to. The Samsung Galaxy Fold is one example of further innovation and possibly a redesign of how we communicate and interact with our devices. Will 5G…
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Gravitational forces at heart of Milky Way shaped this star cluster like a comet

Hubble has captured the stunning Messier 62 cluster. The cluster is warped, with a long tail which stretches out to form a shape like a comet. It is thought this distortion is due to Messier 62's proximity to the center of the galaxy.
Emerging Tech

The grid of the future will be powered by … giant subterranean bagpipes?

In order to transition to a more renewable-focused energy system, we need to scale up our grid storage capacity --- and our existing methods aren't going to cut it. Could compressed air be the key?
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Burgers are just the beginning: Embracing the future of lab-grown everything

You’ve almost certainly heard of the 'farm to fork' movement, but what about 'lab to table'? Welcome to the fast-evolving world of lab-grown meat. Is this the future of food as we know it?
Emerging Tech

Troubleshooting Earth

It’s no secret that humans are killing the planet. Some say it’s actually so bad that we’re hurtling toward a sixth major extinction event -- one which we ourselves are causing. But can technology help us undo the damage we’ve…
Emerging Tech

Inside the Ocean Cleanup’s ambitious plan to rid the ocean of plastic waste

In 2013, Boyan Slat crowdfunded $2.2 million to fund the Ocean Cleanup, a nonprofit organization that builds big, floating trash collectors and sets them out to sea, where they’re designed to autonomously gobble up garbage.
Emerging Tech

Climeworks wants to clean the atmosphere with a fleet of truck-sized vacuums

Using machines that resemble jet engines, Climeworks wants to fight climate change by extracting CO2 from thin air. The gas can then be sold to carbonated drink and agriculture companies, or sequestered underground.
Emerging Tech

Geoengineering is risky and unproven, but soon it might be necessary

Geoengineering is a field dedicated to purposely changing the world's climate using technology. Call it 'playing god' if you must; here's why its proponents believe it absolutely must happen.
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Digital Trends Live: Earth Day, indoor container farming, robot submarines

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Google’s Stadia is the future of gaming, and that’s bad news for our planet

Google’s upcoming Stadia cloud gaming service, and its competitors, are ready to change the way gamers play, but in doing so they may kick off a new wave of data center growth – with unfortunate consequences for the environment.
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Hawaiian botanists’ drone discovers a plant thought to be lost forever

In what may well be a world first, botanists in Hawaii recently used a drone to find a species of plant that scientists believed was extinct. The plant was located on a sheer cliff face nearly 20 years after its last sighting.
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