Meet Cubiio, a laser engraver that can fit in your backpack

No self respecting “maker” studio should be without a laser cutter/engraver — so that you can carry out your business cutting wood into ultra-precise shapes or etching patterns into leather, all while pretending to be a James Bond villain. A new Kickstarter campaign aims to democratize this technology, courtesy of a diminutive desktop laser cutter that is designed to be incredibly straightforward to use. Rather than demanding users learn how to use complex software, or show Ph.D. levels of expertise when it comes to hardware tinkering, the Cubiio takes the form of a compact plug-and-play cube. Users simply connect it to a PC, Mac, or tablet using Wi-Fi, select the design they wish to cut or etch, position the object they wish to be cut or engraved, and hit “start.”

“Cubiio provides everyone with a glimpse of different ways of living,” Sandy Huang, who handles marketing for Cubiio, told Digital Trends. “People can customize their items in under a few minutes with a simple [tap] on a smartphone. Makers and designers are allowed to experiment with more possibilities than ever. With Cubiio, you can easily engrave or cut paper, leather, wood, plastic, and acrylic. We’ve even tried engraving on the surface of pancakes and macarons!”

The device consists of a semiconductor laser source and two current-driven mirrors which deflect the laser beam along the ‘X’ and ‘Y’ axis. An embedded CPU translates your sketches of engravings-to-be into digital commands to tilt the mirrors at the perfect angle. “To shrink a huge laser machine into your palm is definitely a challenging task,” Huang said. “Starting from scratch, we have designed and tested many prototypes to solve lots of technical problems, such as image distortion and thermal issues.” The problem of image distortion is handled via a custom-designed anti-distortion algorithm.

Cubiio has only been up on Kickstarter for a matter of days, but already it has blown past its funding goal — with $945,372 already pledged against its initial target $25,000. The basic model can be pre-ordered for $379, with higher tiers also available with a protective shield. Shipping will start in November.

Deals

Take to the skies with these 5 drones on sale for under $50

On the hunt for some cool tech for under $50? We've rounded up 5 drones under $50 that you can still get before Christmas. These models are great for kids, adults, and anyone just getting started with drones.
Emerging Tech

The best 3D printers of 2018

On the hunt for a new 3D printer? We've got your back. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned veteran, this list of the best 3D printers has what you're looking for.
Home Theater

Kill your cable and switch to streaming with our painless guide

If you're going to quit cable or satellite for a streaming TV solution, you're going to want to get it right the first time. We've outlined exactly how to get started, step by step. Follow our lead, and you'll never look back.
Computing

How to easily record your laptop screen with apps you already have

Learning how to record your computer screen shouldn't be a challenge. Lucky for you, our comprehensive guide lays out how to do so using a host of methods, including both free and premium utilities, in both MacOS and Windows 10.
Photography

The best mirrorless cameras pack all the power of a DSLR, minus the bulk

Mirrorless cameras offer a lot of photography firepower, inside a compact body. Explore the best mirrorless cameras, from the pro-level to the beginner-friendly shooters, in this guide.
Emerging Tech

With this robotic garage, retrieving your car is like using a vending machine

Remembering where we parked our cars can be a real pain. But what if our cars came to find us, rather than the other way around? A new automated robot parking valet system aims to help.
Emerging Tech

A lidar-equipped truck knows exactly how much de-icer to apply on roads

Lidar is best known as the laser-based technology that helps self-driving cars sense their surroundings. But the city of Knoxville has another, more seasonal use for it: De-icing roads.
Cars

Best Products of 2018

Our reception desk has so many brown boxes stacked up, it looks like a loading dock. We’re on a first-name basis with the UPS guy. We get new dishwashers more frequently than most people get new shoes. What we’re trying to say is: We…
Emerging Tech

This unusual nature-inspired robot is equally at home on land or in the water

This intriguing, nature-inspired robot may look unusual, but it's impressively capable of moving on both land and water without problem. Heck, it can even travel on ice if necessary.
Emerging Tech

This cryptocurrency wallet for kids isn’t nearly as stupid as it sounds

So you’ve taught your 6-year-old child to read, write, and play nice with others. What’s next? Give them a base understanding of cryptocurrency, of course. This Kickstarter aims to help.
Emerging Tech

Light, speed: Lighting kit for DJI Mavic 2 lets you fly and film in the dark

Lume Cube, maker of small battery-powered LED lights for mobile photography, has announced a new lighting kit built specifically for the DJI Mavic 2 -- the first of its kind. Already our favorite drone, this makes the Mavic 2 even better.
Emerging Tech

Prepare for liftoff: Here are all the important upcoming SpaceX rocket launches

From ISS resupply missions to a host of communication and scientific satellite launches, SpaceX has a busy year ahead. Here's a rundown of some of the company's most important missions slated for the next year.
Emerging Tech

Virgin Galactic’s latest test flight takes it to the edge of space

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has successfully carried out its fourth powered flight in Mojave, California. It was the company's most ambitious test flight yet -- and bodes well for the future.
Emerging Tech

We’re going to the Red Planet! All the past, present, and future missions to Mars

SpaceX isn't the only organization pining to visit the Red Planet. Here's a detailed list of all operational and planned missions to Mars, along with explanations of their objectives, spacecraft details, and mission proposals.