Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Grow veggies indoors and shower more efficiently

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February 10

Flectr 360 CL — hi-visibility, omni-directional reflectors

If you ride your bike (or anything else that isn’t a car) at night, you know how important is to stay visible. In places where the roads don’t have wide shoulders, or where there aren’t enough streetlights, or where people just drive like maniacs; good reflectors and bright lights can be the difference between getting home safely and getting scraped off the pavement by a roadkill cleanup crew. But despite the fact that hi-visibility clothing is readily available and affordable these days, most reflective gear suffers from the same drawback — it only reflects light when hit at a certain angle.

The stuff you’ll find on most hi-vis gear is retroreflective — meaning it bounces light back directly where it came from. Most surfaces reflect light by diffusing or scattering it in all directions, but retroreflective material is specially designed to reflect light back at the exact same angle as it arrived from. That’s a problem though, since it’s only visible when the light source hits you directly. Flectr’s 360 strips change that. Thanks to their clever design, these suckers bounce light in 360 degrees — thereby making you visible from all angles.

TAIR — inflatable roof rack

Roof racks are great for transporting gear, but if you only use them a few times per year, they’re not exactly ideal. Generally speaking, they’re a pain in the ass to install, and unless you dish out big bucks for a set of aerodynamic crossbars, they also tend to decrease the efficiency of your car. Unfortunately, they’re also not particularly easy to uninstall, so you it doesn’t make sense to remove them and reinstall them the next time you need them. But what if there was a better way? What if there was a rack that you could affix or remove from your car in minutes? Well, that’s exactly the idea behind Tair.

“Tair Rack is an innovative inflatable car roof rack made of bike inner tube,” the creators explain on Kickstarter. “It allows you to transport any sports equipment and bulky cargo easily on any vehicle. It takes just 5 minutes or less to install Tair Rack and it is entirely portable. All you need is to fold it up to a shoebox-size and store in the trunk of your car. Tair Rack merges functionality and convenience to deliver premium quality results.It’s a fantastic roof rack that can be used to transport windsurf gear, kite gear, paddle boards, surfboards, sports gear, furniture and more.”

Sub — the world’s smallest flashlight

Flashlights are a handy thing to have with you at all times, but most people will agree that lugging around a full-size (or even somewhat compact) flashlight is a bit of a pain. More often than not, it’s easier just to skip the flashlight altogether and just use an app on your smartphone. But what if there was a flashlight so small that you’d hardly even notice you’re carrying it?

That’s where the Sub comes in. It’s creators claim that it’s the smallest torch in the world, so it’s ideal for fitting onto a keychain or throwing in your pocket without adding unwanted bulk or weight. The minuscule light measures just 25mm long, 12mm wide, and just 6 grams in weight. It’s also completely waterproof, fireproof, and crush proof — so no matter where you take it, you can rest assured it’ll survive the journey. Best of all, it’s only 16 bucks on Kickstarter right now.

Pyxa — DIY game console

Learning how to code isn’t what it used to be. In the past, your only option was to sign up for a coding course, learn a language, and slog through a bunch of boring lessons and exercises — but today, you’ve got a wealth of different options. Nowadays, there are specialized kits designed to teach you how to code and build things in whatever field you’re interested in. Want to build mobile phone apps? There’s a DIY phone coding kit for that. Interested in autonomous cars? There’s a kit for that too. And now, for anyone interested in programming video games, there’s finally a DIY game console. It’s called Pyxa.

Pyxa, in the words of it’s creators, “comes as an all-inclusive do-it-yourself kit allowing users to build their game console and create their own video games whilst learning about coding. During the assembly, users will get familiar with each component of a game console and explore their functions. Assembly is fairly simple and does not require any tools or special skills. No soldering is needed to make Pyxa work. Once done with the assembly, users can start coding with Arduino Software (IDE). Our educational guide is aimed at new beginners and will take you through every step of creating a video game. Alternatively, you can simply download the video games we have already created, upload them to your Pyxa and start playing!”

Enerqi — “invisible” wireless charger

In theory, wireless chargers are amazing. Using the magic of physics and electromagnetism, they promise to charge your phone and rid you from the tedium of fiddling with cables every time you want to juice up your phone. In practice, though, wireless chargers are a huge let down. First of all, they look like crap on your desktop. Since they still need to be plugged in, they don’t really live up to the promise of banishing wires from your workspace. Second of all, practically all of them aren’t powerful enough to charge your phone unless it’s laying directly on top of the charging pad. If you have a thick case or a Popsocket on your phone, then you’re screwed.

Enerqi is an attempt to alleviate these issues. It’s basically just a more powerful wireless charger that can juice up your phone from a greater distance. In fact, it’s designed to work at such a great distance away from your phone that you can actually just attach it to the underside of your desk or countertop. As long as there’s less than 40 millimeters of space between your phone and the charger, it’ll still be able to receive power — and you won’t have to clutter up your desk with a bunch of cords to make it happen.

Product Review

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Movies & TV

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Statistician raises red flag about reliability of machine learning techniques

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Chandra X-ray telescope uncovers evidence of the universe’s missing matter

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Here’s how Facebook taught its Portal A.I. to think like a Hollywood filmmaker

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NASA’s space observatory will map the sky with unprecedented detail

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No strings attached: This levitating lamp uses science to defy gravity

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The Great White Shark’s genome has been decoded, and it could help us end cancer

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‘Guerrilla rainstorm’ warning system aims to prevent soakings, or worse

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Barbie’s Corvette ain’t got nothing on Sphero’s fully programmable robot car

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Japanese spacecraft will collect a sample from asteroid Ryugu by shooting at it

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