We’re all looking forward to 2020 and wondering what mind-blowing new technology will await us in the new year and even the new decade to come. But while we imagine what weird and wonderful gadgets we’ll see in the near future, let’s enjoy a look at the best emerging indie tech around right now.
1. Ear buds to make you more productive
A lot of us try to find ways out of our procrastination, including putting our phone an extra four inches away, drinking more coffee, and hoping we’ll suddenly become more mature. But if none of those things are working, technology can help.
FocusBuds by Potential X are billed as “The World’s First Productivity Boosting Earbuds.” The smart ear buds use EEG Neurofeedback that reportedly helps users to concentrate better on the tasks they are supposed to be working on. The tech helps to achieve “flow state,” which is the state of mind when you focus on only one task without getting distracted.
The buds track brain activity using EEG biosensors, and remind you to focus by sending audio alerts when they have detected that you are distracted. The Indiegogo campaign absolutely smashed its target, so it seems that procrastinators have a real belief in this technology.
2. A gesture-controlled wearable
Controlling all of your gadgets by pushing buttons has been possible for decades, and controlling them using your voice is now obviously widespread also. But we’ve heard much less about using gestures to control and adjust things.
Enter the GyroPalm Next-Generation Smartwatch. This smartwatch has a lot of the features you might hope for from such a wearable, including step tracking and temperature indications. But it has one major difference, and judging by a successful Indiegogo campaign it seems like a highly desirable difference.
It can let you create a customized list of gestures that it will react to with different actions. Flick your wrist a certain way to turn off lights, or move your arm a different way to control your computer or presentation screen. You can even control drones. Aside from saving on aching thumbs or avoiding using voice assistants when everyone else is asleep, the major advantage seems to be helping people with mobility problems and other disabilities.
3. Become an advanced astronomer from your bedroom
Amateur astronomers have some pretty good options for indulging their hobby, from very powerful telescopes to apps that tell them details of the night sky from wherever they are. When NASA and other professional astronomers find it so difficult to view exoplanets, it’s going to be a pretty long time before amateurs can do it.
But what enthusiasts can do is learn about the highly impressive processes that NASA and others use to learn more about exoplanets (planets outside of our solar system). Exoplanet Hunter by Nabu Science lets users find out how astronomers discover exoplanets, identify their color, and measure distance from earth.
For budding young scientists and anyone with an interest in the deep science and mathematics of space exploration, this is a great Kickstarter project to take a look at.
4. A smart headband to help you sleep (and dream)
Getting good sleep has many advantages from health to productivity, and lots of people are naturally interested in technology that can help them to sleep better. A gadget that helps you dream differently is a slightly weirder and possibly more scary proposition.
iBand: EEG headband reportedly helps you do both of those things. You can “Experience lucid dreams – Improve sleep with music – Wake up refreshed, every time!” According to its Indiegogo page, it can pretty much do everything from play your favorite song that soothes you to sleep, to giving you very vivid dreams. If you have a big meeting tomorrow, use the refreshed sleep thing. If it’s Saturday, maybe dabble with the dream thing.
The band senses brain waves, and uses tracking sensors to measure body movement, heart rate and body temperature. By learning your sleep patterns, it can use audio-visual signals to induce lucid dreams, help you fall asleep easily, and wake up naturally. The dreaming part is done by using “subtle external stimuli of light patterns via the LEDs on headband and sound from the pillow speakers” that “appear as anomalies in your dream.”
5. Sleep better, get more energy, be less stressed
Continuing the improved sleep and better well-being theme, NeoRhythm by MDCN Technologies, Inc. is also getting a lot of crowdfunding attention. The company proudly announces that the technology is backed by two scientific studies.
The headset emits frequencies “to which the brain synchronizes.” NeoRhythm has magnetic-field-producing coils that target different areas of the brain, including the prefrontal cortex, temporal lobes, cerebellum, parietal lobe, and occipital lobe. Stimulating the different areas is said to produce positive results ranging from pain management to improved meditation.
The current 1471% of their goal on Indiegogo suggests people are very interested in this technology, and are ready to have their brains stimulated. If things aren’t working out, the headband can be switched off with two gentle taps.
6. The instant smart home
Most homes are becoming smarter, and many are already automated enough to be called a “smart home.” That means that lights, coffeemakers, thermostats, security gear and much more can all be controlled through an app or with voice commands. People control their homes easily and, if necessary, remotely. Automated homes can even adjust themselves based on pre-programmed responses to triggers.
All of that is amazingly convenient and impressive, but with it comes expense. Smart homes need a range of high-end, complex gadgets to be set up so that they can all seamlessly interact. But what if you just had a few tiny, inexpensive gadgets that pressed your old buttons for you? Fingerbot by Adaprox is one of those devices that makes you wonder “why didn’t I think of that?”
It’s basically a tiny, simple robot that attaches by suction to any button on any device. When you want to switch something on or off, you use the app make a little robot somewhere in your home move like a finger. Of course, it can’t do everything a true smart home can do, but it can do a lot in a very simple way. No wonder it hit its Kickstarter target with ease.
7. The smart bicycle helmet you always wanted
Kids get bicycles for Christmas, and adults get smart bicycle helmets. Such is the way of the world in which cycling is becoming ever more popular among adults who want to stay fitter and be kinder to the planet.
CLASSON: The World’s Most Intelligent Bike Helmet by Brooklyness has pretty much every feature you could think of for a smart helmet. It reads your gestures to turn on indicator lights on the back of the helmet, and detects decreased speed to display break lights. It’s a navigation tool that connects with your phone and uses lights to tell you which way to go, and it also does blind spot detection.
Of course, safety and convenience are all well and good, but users will also need to live stream their ride so friends will know about their amazing helmet and general awesomeness. That combination of features was enough to help the device easily reach its crowdfunding goal.
8. A device to help you become a musical genius
One day, we expect and hope there will be devices that allow us to immediately do complex things like speaking and understanding foreign languages. Anything that now takes a very long time to become good at is something that’s a target for technology.
Another example is learning musical instruments. Instrument Bible is a virtual fingering chart designed to make musical education easier. Its interactive interface seeks to recreate the experience of playing a wide range of instruments, including brass, woodwind, fretted and bowed instruments.
Whether the system will actually teach people to play instruments or simply to use the device itself remains to be seen. But it will definitely help with musical theory, and it contains tools such as theory charts and quizzes. The Kickstarter page is definitely worth a look for aspiring musicians.
9. Smart translation to help you connect
Speaking of those hard-to-learn skills, it’s about time that language translation devices got a lot better. The technology is improving, but there’s still a high chance that you could speak to an app that comes back with a very weird and very incorrect translation.
The CM Translator by Cheetah Mobile claims to be “World’s Longest-lasting SMART translator,” with 180 days standby and ultra-portable, instant two-way translation. Powered by Microsoft and OrionStar, it uses AI technology such as automatic speech recognition and text-to-speech translation.
That sounds like it might go some way towards solving the mistranslation problem, but the main advantage seems to be how mobile the device is. It’s designed to be very light and portable with a long battery life for those long days out and about while traveling. We all know how quickly smart phone batteries run out on days like that, so this little device is a good alternative.
10. The ultimate frying pan
This pick isn’t technology in the smart gadgets sense of the word, but it has to have an honorable mention simply because it beat its Indiegogo goal by a staggering 164,000%. Clearly, people are not happy with their existing frying pans.
The Prepd Skillet by Prepd offers “The convenience of non-stick combined with the versatility, quality, and performance of cast-iron.” Cast-iron skillets are found in most professional kitchens and produce superb results whether baking, searing, or frying. But for amateur cooks, they don’t have the desired non-stick qualities of other pans.
Prepd claims to have changed all that with their design. The pans can be used on gas, electric, or conduction cooktops. They are sleek and serious looking, and they do appear like something out of a busy professional kitchen. Feel like a professional chef, then clean your pan in no time. Sounds like a good deal.
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