Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Take a shower with Alexa and skating on snow


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.

November 4

Aqua Dew — Alexa powered shower speaker

We covered this one earlier in the week, so here’s a quick cut from our full article: “The wake-word activated Aqua Dew speaker works much like an Amazon Echo or Echo Dot. On your command, the shower speaker can read the news, manage your smart home, call or message people, or make announcements in other rooms. The Aqua Dew’s IPX5 waterproof rating means it can withstand spray from water jets from any angle, but you can’t immerse it. You shouldn’t have a problem with the device in the shower, but don’t drop it in a bathtub.

You can set the Aqua Dew flat on a table, but it also comes with a hanging strap and a suction cup and mounting plate so you can hang it on a wall or loop it around a shower door handle.  The Aqua Dew supports both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections. In addition to power on/off, volume up, volume down, and mute buttons, there’s a WPS button for secure Wi-Fi connections. Two holes for the Aqua Dew’s far-field microphone are also on the top surface of the device, along with four six-color LED light indicators.”

Snowfeet — Snow skates

Here’s DT’s Kraig Becker with the scoop: “At first glance, Snowfeet look an awful lot like a pair of sandals on steroids. Upon closer inspection however, you’ll soon notice that Snowfeet’s straps look a lot more like a ski binding than anything you’ve ever seen on a flip-flop. Those bindings allow Snowfeet to accommodate any type of shoe or boot, and expand to accommodate larger footwear – including snowboard boots – then contract down to hold the footwear squarely in place.

Snowfeet also feature a metal ski edge on either side of the bottom of the sole. That edge is what allows the wearer to glide along on snow and ice so smoothly. An integrated heel brake provides a method for slowing down and stopping, which will not only prove useful in controlling the wearer’s speed but also avoiding obstacles, as well as other skiers and snowboarders, on the slopes. And since Snowfeet are far smaller than any skis on the market, they are much easier to carry around, slipping easily into a backpack for easy transport.

By combining both skating and skiing into a single activity, Snowfeet promise to give wearers a whole new level of control and performance. According to the Indiegogo page, not only will users be able to glide down the slopes as if they were skiing, they’ll be able to pull off stunts and tricks that would typically be associated with figuring skating. This unique set of footwear can also be used for cross-country skiing , providing a good aerobic workout on flat trails.”

Raylier — Light-up motorcycle jacket

Here’s a quick excerpt from the full article we published earlier this week: “Motorbike leathers are there to protect riders from injury, as well as to keep them warm while riding in colder climates. But darker leather jackets, which are some of the most popular available, also have an obvious downside: They make bikers difficult to see in the dark.  This poses a clear safety risk for riders, which a new Kickstarter campaign wants to help lessen. Manufactured by French company Raylier, the ‘first luminous jacket for bikers’ promises to make bikers more visible on the road — courtesy of various embedded LED strips. These can be switched on with the simple press of a button on the jacket’s belt.

The aim is reduce the number of fatalities on the road, of which bikers currently represent around 18 percent.  ‘More than 60 percent of bikers’ accidents are due to a lack of visibility,’ Baptiste Rosay, one of the co-founders of Raylier, told Digital Trends. ‘Thanks to our jacket, we improve their visibility in order to avoid crashes and save their lives. More than visibility, we improve the communication with the road users. A warning mode will make the jacket blink and improve visibility in risky situations. A brake light works autonomously, thanks to an on-board accelerometer. It intensifies the rear lights when slowing down.’”

Loftek adventure jacket — Water repellent insulated jacket

Generally speaking, insulated jackets come in two varieties: those that use traditional down, and those that use synthetic. Each style has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. For example, regular down is super lightweight, warm, and compressible — but it doesn’t handle moisture very well. Once it gets wet, it loses many of its best properties. Conversely, sythentic down has great water repellency, but isn’t quite as warm or compressible. It used to be that you had to choose between these two sides, but now, thanks to Utah-based upstart Outdoor Vitals, there’s finally a happy medium. The company has created a completely new type of insulation that offers the best of both worlds.

“LoftTek™ insulation is a hollow-filament polyester fiber that’s about 2.5 denier, so it’s a very small fiber, which also helps with its thermal efficiency,” founder Tayson Whittaker explains on his website. “It’s actually been rated. We sent it in to the IDFL (International Down Laboratories for Testing), and they typically test down. However they tested our LoftTek™ as if it were down, and it was rated as a 525 fill-power by them. Essentially LoftTek™ is rated as a little bit of a lower quality down, but does that while retaining all the properties of a synthetic. The fibers have been siliconized so that as it comes in contact with water, the water won’t stick to it, but kind of just drains out.”

Inflatable travel jumpsuit — Air travel onesie

If you spend a lot of time on airplanes, you definitely need to give this project a look. It’s essentially a onesie that’s been designed from the ground up to be the most comfortable, convenient thing you could possibly wear on a flight. Despite the fact that it looks relatively normal from the outside, it’s absolutely stuffed with clever features and design elements that make it an ideal garment for both the airport and the plane. Here’s a quick rundown of what’s under the hood — both literally and figuratively:

In addition to a nifty pull-down “snooze cap” that helps you shield your eyes when its time for a nap, the jumpsuit’s hood can also be zipped closed completely, or even inflated when you need a pillow. There’s also an inflatable neck pillow built into the collar. Lower down, the onesie is equipped with a myriad of different pockets — two of which are designed to be detachable, so you can just tear them out and throw them in the TSA tub when you go through security. And that’s just the beginning. There’s also an integrated headphone management loop, a set of earplugs, and even a “rear exit solution” zipper for when nature calls. They seriously thought of everything!

October 28

Footloose — Automatic litter box

We covered this one earlier in the week, so here’s a cut from our full article: “Footloose is a litter box that promises to be the most cutting-edge way imaginable for your kitty to take a dump. After using this sci-fi-style litter tray, your beloved Mr. Bigglesworth won’t be able to so much look at your neighbor’s lawn without turning its nose up in disgust.

‘Footloose is the first smart cat potty that cleans itself automatically, and also monitors the wellness of felines,’ Byron Fan, founder of Footloose manufacturer Petato, told Digital Trends. ‘The patent-pending self-cleaning mechanism is a nifty and efficient way to dispose of cat waste. The tech can distinguish litter from cats, recognize multiple cats, and detect any motion such that human intervention is reduced to a minimum. These features are possible thanks to onboard computing cores embedded with a dimensionality-reduction algorithm which fuses data from a dozen sensors. Footloose is also the first litter box integrated with a proactive deodorizing unit. The result is a box that requires little owner maintenance, but delivers information including a cat’s body weight, waste volume, toilet frequency, and duration.’”

Mui — wooden smart panel

previous post[/internal-link]: “Are you so immersed in technology that you long for a touch of nature in your home? You could get some potted plants — or you could invest in Mui, a wood panel that is also an internet-connected smart display. ‘Mui lets you adjust the lighting and temperature of your home, check news and weather, play music, send and receive voice and text, and is programmable by developers to do even more,’ Mui Labs said in a press release. ‘When in sleep mode, Mui regains its original natural look, in a nod to calm design principles.’

A Mui Kickstarter campaign is now live, with the goal of raising $ 100,000 to fund development of the device by December 7.  Available in either sycamore (light) or cherry (dark), Mui looks like a slim and stylish wood panel until you swipe its touch-sensitive surface, which then glows to display information such as time, date and temperature. Out of the box, you can use it as an alarm clock, timer, voicemail reader, and message display.”

TourBox — controller for photo editing

Photo and video editing software has come a long way in the decade or so. The stuff you do in Photoshop these days is nothing short of incredible — but unfortunately, despite how advanced this stuff has become, it’s still a bit of a chore to work with. Why? Because in order to change what you’re doing with your mouse, you typically have to navigate through menus, move sliders, uncheck boxes, and generally just waste time switching between tasks. It only takes a few seconds, but over the course of a multi-hour edit, those seconds really start to add up. Thankfully, TourBox is here to fix that problem.

“TourBox is the most advanced creative controller for Photoshop, Lightroom, SAI, and other image processing software,” the creators explain on Kickstarter. “It is specifically designed for photographers and designers who want to improve their work efficiency and experience a new state-of-the-art method for editing content.   It frees users from endless repetitive tasks such as drawing, editing and retouching using a new, intuitive approach that is ergonomic and natural. Customize your creativity, simplify inputs, and optimize your work. TourBox is a fully customizable device, users can assign different functions for Photoshop, Lightroom, or SAI. And you can also adapt TourBox to suit any software. Personalize your TourBox to best adapt to your own personal workflow.”

The Every Day Calendar — Habit-forming calendar

We ran a story about this one earlier in the week, so here’s a quick excerpt from the full post: “As with a lot of the projects which capture the public’s imagination on Kickstarter, the Every Day Calendar has a simple premise. It’s essentially a big printed circuit board which uses capacitive touch and LEDs to light up the individual days as you achieve your goal. For instance, if your goal is to go for a jog every day or eat five portions of fruit and vegetables each day, you tap the date as you complete the task and illuminate that section of the calendar. The idea is that this kind of visual reward system will make you more likely to stick to your goal, particularly as the year goes on and you don’t want to ruin your winning streak.

‘Hang the Every Day Calendar in your home, office, workshop, cavern, laboratory, castle, barn or boat,’ Giertz writes on the Kickstarter page. ‘Just make sure that it’s someplace where you see it every day. The Every Day Calendar is 0 percent internet connected, so no apps, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or computer programs are needed to set it up. Just plug it into the wall and you’re ready to go.’

The Crunch Cup — portable cereal vessel

If you’re at home, cereal is arguably one of the simplest breakfasts you can prepare in the morning. You just dump some in a bowl, splash some milk on it, and voila — time to grub. However, if you’re on the go, cereal suddenly becomes the most inconvenient breakfast you could possibly eat. In addition to all the sloshing around and inevitable spillage, you also have to use both hands in order to get the food into your mouth. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a better way to eat your Lucky Charms on the go? Well, thanks to an enterprising startup from Los Angeles, we might soon have one.

“We couldn’t believe there wasn’t a viable option to eat your cereal on-the-go, so we made one, and it’s awesome.” the creators explain on their Kickstarter campaign page. “It’s called **drumroll** The CrunchCup.  The Crunch Company (that’s us). Set out to create a portable cereal cup that does not mess around. We don’t play that soggy cereal nonsense. Which is why it’s a two cup system; one for the cereal and the other for the milk. The cereal and milk don’t meet until they hit your mouth.”

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Photography – Digital Trends



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