Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robotic companions and computer-aided karaoke

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March 10

Metafly — insect-inspired wing drone

Drones come in a wide variety of shapes, sizes, and configurations these days. Quadcopters are certainly the most popular and widely available version, but thanks to the ever-evolving nature of technology, there’s a new category available to UAV enthusiasts: wing drones. Specifically, wing drones that flap and fly like birds, bats, and insects do. You might remember the Bionic Bird from a few years ago. Now, the creator of that device is back with a smaller, lighter, and more insect-like version of the same idea. Meet the Metafly.

“MetaFly is the result of more than 50 years of flight research and development,” the creator explains on Kickstarter. “It’s A biomimetic flying robot you can control in the air with a remote controller. Its advanced technology allows it to be as light and miniaturized as a big insect. It is flexible, light (less than 10 grams), flies with elegant and curves and trajectories, and can even glide.  It’s also silent and resistant against impacts. It is intended to enjoy flying like an animal, not to take pictures.”

Lifestraw Home — advanced filter pitcher

You know Lifestraw? That outdoor water filter that lets you drink from streams and lakes, and filters while you suck? Well the company has been a one-trick pony for years, but now it’s back with its second product ever — a filter pitcher designed for your home. Here’s a quick cut from our full article:

“The company hopes to go far beyond what your average home water filter is capable of. LifeStraw claims the membrane microfilter is estimated to filter out nearly 100 percent of harmful bacteria like E. coli and more. It also filters out nearly 100 percent of parasites and microplastics. The pore size on the filter is just 0.2 microns — to put that in perspective, that’s two-millionths of a meter, or smaller than most bacteria.

Beyond the membrane microfilter lies the activated carbon and ion exchange filter. This serves a more practical purpose: Reducing that awful chlorine flavor and bad odors in water. Clean water should smell clean. It also reduces the amount of heavy metals like lead, mercury, cadmium, and others. It lasts for up to two months or about 40 gallons of water.”

Jasper Wool Eco Chukka — world’s most eco-friendly shoe

Here’s an excerpt from our full article: “Two companies that are known for their forward-thinking design and environmentally conscious approach to production have collaborated on a new shoe that is proving to be quite a hit on Kickstarter. Sole and United By Blue introduced the Jasper Wool Eco Chukka on Monday, March 4, and managed to hit their crowdfunding goal in less than 90 minutes.

What makes the Eco Chukka so enticing? Well for starters, its designers claim that it’s the most eco-friendly shoe on the planet, which is hard to argue with when you take a look at how it’s made. For example, the shoe’s sole is made from recycled cork leftover from wine bottles. This is a surprisingly durable and effective replacement for other materials used in footwear, most of which are typically petroleum-based or made from plastic.

Bamboo fabrics replace cotton as well, reducing the amount of water needed for production by as much as 65 percent. The Eco Chukka even uses rubber made from rice and a flexible foam created from algae, too. If that wasn’t enough, the shoe is lined with merino wool and insulated with bison fur, both of which score high marks in terms of performance and sustainability.

Optishokz Revves — bone conduction sunglasses

These suckers are made by a company called Aftershokz, which is arguably the world’s foremost producer of bone conduction headphones. For this product, the company went in a slightly different direction, though. Instead of simple headphones, they’ve built the same bone conduction tech into a pair of sunglasses, which provides a number of nifty benefits.

Unlike “traditional” smart glasses, Revves glasses have no display. Users interact with the device through taps on its touch capacitive arms, and receive auditory feedback via the built-in bone conduction headphones. This essentially means you can get information delivered to your ears without having to wear earbuds all day, so you’ll still be able to hear the world around you without issue. And that’s not all — Revves spectacles also boast a microphone, which allows you to make calls, and opens up the potential for voice commands

Vabroom — broom/vacuum hybrid

Here’s an excerpt from our full article: “The appropriately named Vabroom is essentially a vacuum cleaner and broom all in one, but don’t let its name deceive you: It’s more broom than vacuum.

The idea is simple: Sweep your floors like normal, but rather than reach for the dustpan, flip the broom nozzle-side down and apply pressure. This will activate the nozzle and turn on the power in the vacuum. In theory, you can suck up all the debris you swept up and never reach for a dustpan again.

The Vabroom can hold up to one cup of dirt and debris in its clear container before it needs to be emptied out. A rear-oriented quick-release button makes it easy to pop out the container, and the 30-ounce weight of the entire device makes it easy for anyone to use. The vacuum is powered by a 14,000 RPM motor that takes four AA batteries. According to Vabroom’s creator, the batteries should give it around 500 uses per charge.”

Emerging Tech

Tombot is the hyper-realistic dog robot that puts Spot to shame

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Spot! When it comes to robot dogs, the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign have plans to stake their claim as makers of man’s (and woman’s) newest best friend.
Podcasts

Stranger Things 3 trailer, Deadwood movie, Bill and Ted return

On this week's show, we've got a ton of new trailers to discuss, from HBO's Deadwood revival to the first look at Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. We'll also discuss Netflix's interactive TV show starring Bear Grylls and more!
Podcasts

The end of 'ownership' in the new digital era

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…
Gaming

Here's our Champion's guide to picking the best character in Apex Legends

Apex Legends' use of heroes with different abilities helps separate it from other battle royale games. To help you choose your legend, we've put together a legend guide detailing their abilities, strengths, and weaknesses.
Emerging Tech

Trip to Neptune’s moon, Triton, could inform search for extraterrestrial life

NASA has proposed sending a craft to Neptune to study its largest moon, Triton. Studying Triton could offer clues to how liquid water is maintained on planets, which may indicate what to look for when searching for life beyond our planet.
Emerging Tech

NASA’s Mars 2020 rover passes its tests with flying colors

The Mars 2020 rover team has been undertaking a series of tests to see if the craft will be able to launch, navigate, and land on the Red Planet. Called Systems Test 1, or ST1, these tests represent the first test drive of the new rover.
Emerging Tech

A hive of activity: Using honeybees to measure urban pollution

According to a new study from Vancouver, bees could help us understand urban pollution. Scientists have found an innovative way to measure the level of source of pollution in urban environments: by analyzing honey.
Outdoors

Light up the night! Here are the five best headlamps money can buy

Headlamps make all the difference when camping or walking the dog at night, especially when you're in need of both hands. From Petzl to Tikkid, here are some of the best headlamps on the market.
Emerging Tech

Spacewalk a success as astronauts upgrade batteries on the ISS

The International Space Station was treated to some new batteries on Friday, thanks to two NASA astronauts who took a spacewalk for nearly seven hours in order to complete the upgrades.
Emerging Tech

Asteroid Ryugu is porous, shaped like a spinning top, and is formed of rubble

The Japanese Space Agency has been exploring a distant asteroid named Ryugu with its probe, Hayabusa 2. Now the first results from study of the asteroid are in, with three new papers published.
Emerging Tech

Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No, it’s a super-speedy pulsar

A super-speedy pulsar has been spotted dashing across the sky, discovered using NASA’s Fermi Gamma-ray Space Telescope and the Very Large Array. The pulsar is traveling at a breathtaking 2.5 million miles an hour.
Emerging Tech

Chilean telescope uncovers one of the oldest star clusters in the galaxy

An ultra-high definition image captured by the Gemini South telescope in Chile has uncovered one of the oldest star clusters in the Milky Way. The cluster, called HP 1, could give clues to how our galaxy was formed billions of years ago.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers discover giant chimneys spewing energy from the center of the galaxy

Astronomers have discovered two exhaust channels which are funneling matter and energy away from the supermassive black hole at the heart of our galaxy and out towards the edges of the galaxy, dubbed galactic center chimneys.
Emerging Tech

A milestone in the history of particle physics: Why does matter exist?

If matter and antimatter were both produced in equal amounts by the Big Bang, why is there so much matter around us and so little antimatter? A new experiment from CERN may hold the answer to this decades-long puzzle.
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