Innovation

Awesome tech you can't buy yet

At any given moment there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns on the Web. There’s no shortage of weird, ambitious, and downright stupid projects out there. We’re here to bring you a quick roundup of the best -- but you'll find lots more cool stuff at DigitalTrends.com.

Titan Arm – Upper body exoskeleton

Remember that scene in Elysium where Matt Damon goes postal on a robot and tears him to pieces with that ridiculous hydraulic exoskeleton? Well that’s pretty much what the Titan Arm is – except this one doesn’t have to be drilled into your skeletal system to work. Developed by a team of mechanical engineering students at University of Pennsylvania, the device uses mechanized joints to to supplement the strength of the wearer by up to 40 pounds. It’s still just a prototype at this point, but the design was recently named the winner of the prestigious James Dyson Award, for which the team received $45,000 in prize money to continue development. Find out more here.

Titan Arm

Silver Air – Stink-proof gear

Silver is an amazing element. Not only is it great for stuff like slaying werewolves and making expensive forks, it also naturally kills bacteria. For this reason, it’s also extremely effective at resisting odors. Keeping this in mind, Y Athletics developed SilverAir – a line of high-performance sportswear with silver woven into the fabric to make it completely stink-proof. You’d think that a t-shirt with silver in it would cost you an arm and a leg, but if you back the project early you can pick one up for just $34 bucks.

Silver Air

BublCam – 360-degree camera

You know those giant spherical cameras that Google straps on top of self-driving Priuses in order to take its street view pictures? BublCam is the same idea, just packed into a much smaller, much simpler form factor. The baseball-sized device uses four lenses arranged in a tetrahedron to capture panorama pics and videos all around you at the touch of a button. The camera shoots 14-megapixel photos (3,840 x 3,840 resolution), 1080p videos at 15 frames per second, and 720p videos at 30 fps. It also supports WiFi, so you can stream live 360-degree video over the web. Check out our full article to learn more.

BublCam

Woojer - Haptic audio feedback device

Headphonse are great, but no matter how high you crank the volume, they never seem to make you feel the sound in the same way a gigantic set of speakers and subs can. So, to make your headphone listening experiences more engaging, immersive, and similar to what you’d experience at a live concert, a team of engineers from Manhattan invented Woojer: a matchbox-sized tactile feedback device. Think of it as a miniature silent subwoofer you can wear. Just plug it into your headphones and you’ll be able to feel the vibes of your music without turning your cans up to max volume.

Woojer

Pixelstick - programmable LED stick for light painting

If you’re not familiar with light painting, leave this post immediately and go have yourself a look at Google Images. It’s amazing. By creatively using lights and long exposure shots, photographers can create abstract three-dimensional artwork in thin air. 

People who do it generally use stuff like fire and single LED’s to draw images, but the guys at BitBanger Labs (the creators of the Remee lucid dreaming mask we recently reviewed) have developed a crazy new programmable LED sitck that takes the light painting to the next level. 

Using Pixelstick, users can draw anything from single-color lines to wild, rainbow-hued murals – it all depends on how you program it. Check out the Kickstarter campaign to check out the awesome 8-bit art and 3D GIFs that BitBanger made to show off what Pixelstick can do.

BitBanger Labs

xNT - NFC implant

Aspiring cyborgs take note – if this IndieGoGo campaign reaches it’s goal, you might soon be able to get that implant you’ve always wanted and wirelessly control all the tech toys in your life.

Forget about all this wearable tech nonsense, these guys are ready to develop technology that goes inside your body. That might be off-putting to some, but think about the possibilities – you could log in to your computer, turn on your lights, pay for goods, and a zillion other things just by waving your hand or walking into a room.

xNT

Grass Printer - robotic lawn mower

There are already a handful of robotic lawn mowers on the market, but this one takes things to the next level. Rather than cutting your grass in flawless, robotically-precise lines, it can be programmed to mow out predetermined patterns – like text that reads, “KEEP OFF, HOOLIGANS!” or something equally charming. 

Currently the design is only a concept, but it won a Red Dot Award this year, so there’s a good chance its creators might have a working prototype built in the near future. Practical? Probably not. Awesome? Absolutely.

Young / Hee / Hong

Lock8 - smart bike lock

This project bills itself as the “first smart bike lock,” but that’s not entirely true. Bitlock sort of beat them to the punch on that one, but that doesn’t mean it’s not an awesome idea. Lock8 is probably the most full-featured bike lock we’ve ever laid eyes on. 

In addition to smartphone-activated locking and unlocking that triggers automatically when you walk away from it, Lock8 features an alarm system that will sound if a thief tries to cut, melt, freeze, or remove it in any way. It’ll also shoot you a notification on your phone as soon as it detects something happening, so you can dash out and catch the culprit before he pedals away. Check out the full description on Kickstarter – this thing has way too many cool features for us to list here.

LOCK8

Sprav - wireless water meter

The easiest way to waste water is undoubtedly under the warm, comfortable stream of a shower. The average shower blasts out around two gallons per minute, and depending on how long you spend washing up, you could be running up your water bill substantially. Sprav hopes to solve this problem. 

It’s a wireless meter that tracks both your energy consumption and water usage while you shower, and gives you realtime feedback via LED lights to let you know when you’ve been in for too long. And the best part? It doesn’t require any tools to install. It senses temperature through the pipe and uses acoustic feedback to monitor flow, so all you’ve got to do is clip it onto your shower head and go.

Sprav Water

Mab Sphere -- Robotic house cleaner

The futurist idea starts out as a sphere that rolls into the room when it is programmed for a cleaning session. It will scan the room to recognize the space, and deploy 908 tiny robots out of the sphere core, carrying the water and cleaning solution mixture you’ll have preloaded inside the machine out to various parts of the room.
Mab Sphere

Wristify -- personal cooling system

Developed by four engineering students at MIT, Wristify is a prototype wearable device that leverages the physical phenomenon known as the Peltier effect to reduce your body temperature. Read more

Luci – Lucid dream-inducing headband

We recently ran a hands-on piece for a lucid dreaming mask called Remee. It uses a small array of LEDs to beam patterns through your eyelids while you’re fast asleep, the idea being that you’ll recognize these patterns while you’re in a dream and become lucid. That is, aware that you’re dreaming while you’re still asleep. It was a cool idea, but it had plenty of flaws – the main one being that it couldn’t actually detect when you were in a deep sleep state. 

Luci, a new project on Kickstarter, is pretty much the same idea, but executed in a better way. Rather than using lights to alert you that you’re in a dream, it uses sound; and rather than relying on guesswork to determine when you’re in a deep sleep state, the headband incorporates an EEG electrode that can read your brainwaves. Brilliant.

Luci

Cricket – Bluetooth bike alarm system

Having your bike stolen sucks, and unless you had the foresight to install some kind of retrieval system on it, the only recourse you have in the situation is typically just to keep a close eye on Craigslist in hopes the culprit will be stupid enough to post it. Cricket hopes to solve this problem by offering you a last line of defense against thieves. 

It’s not GPS location tracker, but rather a silent alarm system that sends an alert to your smartphone when your bike goes outside of range. This means it’ll only work if you’re relatively close to your bike, but it’s definitely better than constantly looking over your shoulder.

Cricket

Retrievor – Solar-powered GPS tracker

Hollywood makes it seem like getting your hands on a GPS transponder is the easiest thing in the world, but in reality, tiny little ones that you can easily stick on the undercarriage of someone’s car or slip into a pocket are hard to come by. But that’s about to change if this new project on IndieGoGo meets its goal. 

Retreivor is a tiny GPS transponder module that’s completely self-charging thanks to a small solar cell array on it’s top side. Just place it on whatever you want to track, and all the location data will be magically beamed to the cloud, where you can check up on it via Retrievor’s website. 

Let’s just hope the designers put more thought into the device than they did into the atrocious slideshow video.

Retreivor

Chipolo -- a Bluetooth item finder

Are you constantly losing track of stuff like your keys, wallet, cellphone, or heck – even your shoes, pets, or children? Well with the help of Chipolo, a tiny Bluetooth-enabled item finder, you needn’t worry about misplacing your things ever again. Essentially, these things are little radio tags that communicate with your smartphone to help you keep track of stuff you care about. 

The project launched on Kickstarter on Monday this week, and it’s already blasted past it’s funding goal. Since they’re relatively cheap and simple to manufacture, Chipolo plans to ship them to backers as early as December of this year.

Chipolo

Awesome tech you can't buy yet

At any given moment there are approximately a zillion crowdfunding campaigns on the Web. There’s no shortage of weird, ambitious, and downright stupid projects out there. We’re here to bring you a quick roundup of the best -- but you'll find lots more cool stuff at DigitalTrends.com.

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