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Why wait for Prime Day? Here are 10 great deals live now in our shop.

Just to let you know, if you buy something featured here, Mashable might earn an affiliate commission.
Score deals on these essentials and gadgets you didn't know you needed  — like the Nomad Apple Watch stand — without the wait.
Score deals on these essentials and gadgets you didn’t know you needed  — like the Nomad Apple Watch stand — without the wait.

Image: NOMAD

Not a Prime member? Don’t want to deal with all the hype around Prime Day? Boycotting Amazon?

Here are ten deals from the Mashable Shop that you can get right here, right now. 

Don’t let bad weather (or lack of outside space) stop you from grilling your favorite foods. Whether you want to whip up burgers, hot dogs, or steak, this refurbished Power Smokeless indoor electric 1500W grill can cook those babies up to perfection. It produces 80% less smoke than run-of-the-mill grills, and includes a griddle plate should you want to switch to frying.

It usually goes for $129.93, but you can get it for $57.99 — a savings of 55%.

A welcome addition to your nightstand, this elegantly-designed dock matches the aesthetic of your Apple Watch. It has a copper alloy base, high-friction rubber footing to allow for stability, and a hidden cable routing channel to keep your charger out of sight.

Available in silver and black, you can grab it on sale for $33.95 — 32% off the usual cost of $49.95.

If you peruse wellness blogs or podcasts, you likely know what Ketosis is. It’s when your body burns up fat instead of carbs for fuel and (as some claim) puts you in a wonderful state of increased focus and energy. Sounds great right? But getting it isn’t easy. TruBrain Ketones say they can help you get there.

Grab a tub on sale for $49 — 24% off the regular retail price of $65.

Roll up your sleeves, crack your knuckles, and get to tinkering. Consider this puzzle your summer project — design, build, and customize your very own Bluetooth speaker, a six-watt speaker at that. There are zero tools required to put it together, and you can dismantle and re-build it as you wish.

Usually retailing for $159.95, you can get it for only $30.

Dreaming of that summer bod, but realizing summer is already here? Get a little help from a friend, and by friend, we mean a fitness watch that tracks your steps, calories, heart rate, sleep quality, and activity. On top of all that, it also alerts you to calls or texts and can function as a shutter for your smartphone camera.

It’s normally $119.99, but you can get it on sale for a limited time for $55.

You don’t have to beg your grandma for her old camera just so you can take retro-style photos — the Holga retro digital camera can do just the trick. Integrating old school aesthetics and modern tech, it lets you snap incredible 8 MP photos adorned with vintage filters of yesteryear.

Normally retailing for $89, you can take your hands on it for $69 — a savings of 22%.

Made with pressure-resistant inner lining and puncture-proof, stainless steel outer housing, the Bionic Steel Force Pro might just be the last garden hose you’ll buy. Designed for extreme durability, it’s capable of deterring corrosion and rust and won’t crack under the sun. Whatever surface you drag it onto, you can rest assured that it won’t break. In fact, it would still work after being frozen or set on fire!

You can get it on sale for $29.99. That’s a 33% markdown from the usual sticker price.

The perfect company when you’re on the go, this refurbished Zenpad boasts a stunning 8-inch display and an impressive 76.5 percent screen-to-body ratio for browsing, crushing to-do lists, and streaming content. Its MediaTek 8163 processor allows for multitasking, while the built-in 8.0 PixelMaster camera lets you capture high-quality photos.

A value of $199, it’s availableon sale for $99.99 — a savings of 49%.

Cleaning the drain falls pretty far down on the list of chores we’re willing to do, probably right next to scrubbing the toilet. The hack is a silicone strainer that makes cleaning so much smoother and easier as it effectively traps leftovers, breaking you free from having to use your bare hands. It even comes with Easy’Click pins that you can use to match your exact drain size.

Valued at $19.98, you can take one home now for $12.99 — a savings of 34%.

Move over, toy bath bombs. This vegan wax candle has a hidden crystal inside for a pleasant surprise when you finish it up. It’s scented with an aromatic blend of essential and fragrance oils, and it offers up to 77 hours of burn time.

Available in amethyst amber, sage quartz, and cedar citrine, you can get it on sale for $36.99 — 17% off the usual price of $44.99.

Archinaut snags $73 million in NASA funding to 3-D print giant spacecraft parts in orbit

A project to 3-D print bulky components in space rather than bring them up there has collected a $73.7 million contract from NASA to demonstrate the technique in space. Archinaut, a mission now several years in development from Made In Space, could launch as soon as 2022.

The problem at hand is this: If you want a spacecraft to have solar arrays 60 feet long, you need to bring 60 feet of structure for those arrays to attach to — they can’t just flap around like ribbons. But where do you stash a 60-foot pole, or two 30-foot ones, or even 10 six-foot ones when you only have a few cubic feet of space to put them in? It gets real complicated real fast to take items with even a single large dimension into space.

Archinaut’s solution is simple. Why not just take the material for that long component into space and print it out on the spot? There’s no more compact way to keep the material than as a brick of solid matter.

Naturally this extends (so to speak) to more than simply rods and poles — sheets of large materials for things like light sails, complex interlocking structures on which other components could be mounted… there are plenty of things too big to take into space in one piece, but which could be made of smaller ones if necessary. Here’s one made for attaching instruments at a large fixed distance from a central craft:

optimast3Made in Space already has contracts in place with NASA, and has demonstrated 3-D printing of parts aboard the International Space Station. It has also shown that it can print stuff in an artificial vacuum more or less equivalent to a space environment.

The demonstrator mission, Archinaut One, would launch aboard a Rocket Lab Electron launch vehicle no earlier than 2022, and after achieving a stable orbit, begin extruding a pair of beams that will eventually extend out 32 feet. Attached to these beams will be flexible solar arrays that unfurl at the same rate, attached to the rigid structures of the beams. When they’re finished, a robotic arm will lock them in place and do other housekeeping.

You can see it all happen in this unfortunately not particularly exciting video:

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Once finished, this pair of 32-foot solar arrays would theoretically generate some five times the power that spacecraft that size would normally pull in. Since spacecraft are almost without exception power-starved systems, having more watts to use or store for the orbital equivalent of a rainy day would certainly be welcome.

In another print, the robot arm could rearrange parts, snap on connectors, and perform other tasks to create more complex structures like the ones in the concept art up top. That’s still well in the future, however — the current demonstrator mission will focus on the beam-and-array thing, though the team will certainly learn a lot about how to accomplish other builds in the process.

Naturally in-space manufacturing is a big concern for a country that plans to establish a permanent presence on and around the moon. It’s a lot easier to make something there than make a quarter-million-mile delivery. You can keep up with Archinaut and Made in Space’s other projects along the space-printing line at the company’s blog.

These robo-ants can work together in swarms to navigate tricky terrain

While the agility of a Spot or Atlas robot is something to behold, there’s a special merit reserved for tiny, simple robots that work not as a versatile individual but as an adaptable group. These “tribots” are built on the model of ants, and like them can work together to overcome obstacles with teamwork.

Developed by EPFL and Osaka University, tribots are tiny, light, and simple, moving more like inchworms than ants, but able to fling themselves up and forward if necessary. The bots themselves and the system they make up are modeled on trap-jaw ants, which alternate between crawling and jumping, and work (as do most other ants) in fluid roles like explorer, worker, and leader. Each robot is not itself very intelligent, but they are controlled as a collective that deploys their abilities intelligently.

In this case a team of tribots might be expected to get from one end of a piece of complex terrain to another. An explorer could move ahead, sensing obstacles and relaying their locations and dimensions to the rest of the team. The leader can then assign worker units to head over and try to push the obstacles out of the way. If that doesn’t work, an explorer can try hopping over it — and if successful, it can relay its telemetry to the others so they can do the same thing.

fly tribot fly

Fly, tribot, fly!

It’s all done quite slowly at this point — you’ll notice that in the video, much of the action is happening at 16x speed. But rapidity isn’t the idea here; Similar to Squishy Robotics’ creations, it’s more about adaptability and simplicity of deployment.

The little bots weigh only 10 grams each, and are easily mass-produced, as they’re basically PCBs with some mechanical bits and grip points attached — “a quasi-two-dimensional metamaterial sandwich,” according to the paper. If they only cost (say) a buck each, you could drop dozens or hundreds on a target area and over an hour or two they could characterize it, take measurements and look for radiation or heat hot spots, and so on.

If they moved a little faster, the same logic and a modified design could let a set of robots emerge in a kitchen or dining room to find and collect crumbs or scoot plates into place. (Ray Bradbury called them “electric mice” or something in “There will come soft rains,” one of my favorite stories of his. I’m always on the lookout for them.)

Swarm-based bots have the advantage of not failing catastrophically when something goes wrong — when a robot fails, the collective persists, and it can be replaced as easily as a part.

“Since they can be manufactured and deployed in large numbers, having some ‘casualties’ would not affect the success of the mission,” noted  With their unique collective intelligence, our tiny robots can demonstrate better adaptability to unknown environments; therefore, for certain missions, they would outperform larger, more powerful robots.”

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It raises the question, in fact, of whether the sub-robots themselves constitute a sort of uber-robot? (This is more of a philosophical question, raised first in the case of the Constructicons and Devastator. Transformers was ahead of its time in many ways.)

The robots are still in prototype form, but even as they are constitute a major advance over other “collective” type robot systems. The team documents their advances in a paper published in the journal Nature.

Amazon reportedly ramps development on Alexa-powered home robot on wheels

Bloomberg reported last April that Amazon was working on a home robot codenamed ‘Vesta’ (after the Roman goddess of the hearth and home) last year, and now the publication says that development on the project continues. Plus, the report includes new details about the specifics of the robot, including that it will indeed support Alexa and have wheels to help it move around. My terrible artist’s rendering of what that could look like is above.

The plan for Vesta was apparently to release it this year, but it’s not yet quite ready for mass production, according to Bloomberg’s sources. And while it could end up mothballed and never see the light of day, as with any project being developed ahead of launch, the company is said to be putting more engineering and development resources into the team working on its release.

Current prototypes of the robot are said to be about waist-high, per the report, and make their way through the world aided by sensor-fed computer-vision. It’ll come when you call thanks to the Alexa integration, per an internal demo described by Bloomberg, and should ostensibly offer all the same kind of functionality you’d get with an Echo device, including calling, timers and music playback.

For other clues as to what Vesta could look like, if and when it ever launches, a good model might be Kuri, the robot developed by Bosch internal startup Mayfield Robotics which was shuttered a year ago and never made it to market. Kuri could also record video and take photos, play games and generally interact with the household.

Meanwhile, Amazon is also apparently readying a Sonos-competing high-quality Echo speaker to debut next year.

What tech to buy (and avoid) on Amazon Prime Day

Amazon Prime Day 2019 is coming! For Amazon’s fifth annual summer sale, Prime Day is two entire days instead of one.

The shopping event can be worth it if you score big discounts on pricey products. But the problem I’ve noticed is that there are too many products to keep track of. It’s tempting to just “add to cart” simply because something seems like a steal.

My friend, I can’t stop you from buying useless things like a 55-gallon of lube, but let me help you cut through some of the noise. Specifically for tech.

Come July 15 at 3 a.m. ET (12 a.m. PT), Amazon’s website will bombard everyone with deals, deals, deals. You’re gonna see a lot of crap — trust me, it’s gonna be more than you can handle — but you gotta stay calm. Follow my advice and you won’t end up buying crap you’ll regret. 

Avoid: pocket projectors

Stay as far away from these things as you can.

Stay as far away from these things as you can.

Image: screenshot: amazon

I’m always amazed at the sheer amount of pocket or “pico” projectors available on Amazon Prime Day. These dinky little projectors come with the most jargon-filled descriptions to trick you into thinking you’re getting a bang for your buck. Most of them let you connect a phone, tablet, or laptop to it and project photos and videos onto the wall or ceiling.

Cheap as they might be, don’t buy them. Pocket projectors are usually garbage because they offer crappy resolution, very low brightness, and weak batteries that can’t even make it through a feature-length movie.

Buy instead: discounted large HDTV or Amazon Fire tablet

It’s not the same as blowing up your mobile device’s screen to, say, 75 or 100 inches, but I guarantee a discounted large TV (especially if it’s 4K) or even a discounted 10-inch Amazon Fire tablet is a better buy. Sit closer to the big TV if you have to. At least you’ll be able to see what’s happening on their screens instead of having poor projected image quality because of the projector’s too dim.

Avoid: no-name fitness trackers and wearables

An Apple Watch for less than $30? Do you think we're stupid?

An Apple Watch for less than $30? Do you think we’re stupid?

Image: screenshot: amazon

I won’t name specific knockoff fitness trackers (see image above) and wearable brands to avoid, but you’ll know them when you see them. Oftentimes, they’re a complete ripoff of the genuine product, like an Apple Watch clone or a Fitbit bootleg.

Generally, they cost a fraction of the cost of the real thing and promise a bunch of features that almost never work. The last thing you want is a fitness tracker to count your steps and it can’t even do so reliably.

Buy instead: Apple Watch, Fitbit, or Garmin wearable

There’s a reason Apple Watches, Fitbits, and Garmins are the most popular wearables: they work. More than that, they have sensors that are more accurate at tracking steps and activities than any off-brand cheapo fitness tracker. Additionally, their apps are more robust and the companies care about safeguarding your data. 

It’s almost impossible to go wrong with any model from any of these brands. They’re not new to the fitness tracker/wearable game and have been around long enough for them to be reliable and trustworthy.

Avoid: premium cables

It's got fusion...which means nothing TBH.

It’s got fusion…which means nothing TBH.

Image: amazon

I tell people all the time to never, ever spend good money on so-called “premium” HDMI or USB cables. It’s one of tech’s greatest cons. Does anyone listen? Most people do! But there’s always some bozo who overpays for this junk anyway.

Buy instead: Anker, Monoprice, or AmazonBasics cables

Cables are cheap. Like dirt cheap. Prime Day will be filled with super cheap cables as far as the eye can see, but don’t buy the cheapest ones you can find. There are tons of reputable brands that make cables that won’t tear easily or burn up in flames while connected to your devices.

Anker, Monoprices, AmazonBasics cables — these are the ones we’ve tried and tested for years and they’re solid through and through. Not to mention affordable.

All the rest to avoid

There are lots more tech products you should definitely avoid that aren’t worth too many words. Anything that’s a knockoff of something else is a given. 

Other easy gadgets to steer clear of: Cheap Bluetooth headphones and wireless earbuds that are too good to be true (and Bluetooth speakers), crummy instant cameras like the Polaroid Pop, and no-name battery packs/banks (who knows how well these lithium batteries are insulated).

360-degree cameras and mobile VR headsets are best avoided now that the Oculus Quest is here. Ditto for amateur toy drones with potato-quality cameras and inadequate flight times (DJI’s consumer drones are the only ones anyone should consider).

All the rest to buy: anything Apple, Dyson, Amazon Echo/Fire/Kindle

Apple and Dyson products are expensive AF. If you see discounts on any items from them, it’s usually a solid buy. Prime Day may not give you the best online deal, but savings on AirPods, or iPad, or Dyson vacuum don’t come every day, so any price cut is money saved.

Same goes for Amazon gadgets. Echos, Echo Dots, Echo Shows, Fire tablets, and Kindle e-readers are all worth buying on Prime Day. 

I also recommend anything from our “Best Tech of 2019 (so far)” or past “Best Tech of 2018” lists. So if you see a deal on a Samsung Galaxy phone or Microsoft Surface, go for it!

Other good tech stuff to stock up on: memory cards (high capacity storage crammed into super tiny microSD cards are my fave and great for expanding Android phones and the Nintendo Switch); PC parts like SSDs, RAM, and external hard drives; and good instant cameras like the Instax ones from Fujifilm. 

Oh, and air fryers. Those are fun! If there’s any from Philips (everyone seems to swear by them) that are on sale, Prime Day’s the time to get it.

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