I still remember my old, favorite football like it was yesterday. It wasn't made by Nike, Adidas or even Diadora, but it lasted me for about seven years, from when I was 7 until about 14 or so. And even though, toward the end of its life, it started to look as if it had been living in a waste dumpster, never, ever did it let me down. Despite the battle scars collected over the years, like the faux-leather gradually falling off or needing to get pumped up every time before a game, that cheap, low-tech ball always did what it was supposed to: Be, well, a ball you could have fun with. In recent years, however, things have changed quite drastically. As technology evolves, sports balls continue to get smarter and smarter, with a great amount of research and development money being spent by manufacturers. Here's where Adidas' recently announced miCoach Smart Ball comes in.

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With two Google-powered smartwatches currently on sale, and the circular Moto 360 already causing a stir among design geeks, wearables are one step closer to securing a place on our wrists. And while many of us aren't ready to strap on a Gear Live, G Watch or Pebble just yet, that doesn't mean the smartwatch is a new concept. In fact, depending on your definition of "smart," these gadgets have been fusing time-telling with extra functionality since the early 20th century. From wrist-borne spy cams to radio-controlled timepieces, here's a look at this wearable's evolution.

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You have what you think is a cool idea, but you aren't sure if you can convince investors about the sales potential of, say, a tiny monitor strapped to your face, or a watch that is also a computer. Besides, who are "investors" and how do you summon them from their secret offshore lairs to pass judgment on your notional widget? Wouldn't it be easier if you could just put your idea on the internet, letting regular people who might be on your wavelength pledge directly to help get it done?

That's what crowdfunding is about. Services like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, Patreon and others gather funds directly from buyers, to make potentially crazy ideas a reality. Crazy ideas like a salad... made with potatoes. But it's not all free money and rampant innovation.

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Speck Design's clientele has ranged from Apple to Samsonite to Fisher-Price in its history, and now it can add Google to the list of high-profile companies. But Google -- or its Advanced Technologies and Projects (ATAP) division, to be more specific -- is no ordinary client. The group is modeled after DARPA, which divides its agency into teams, with each one given a limited time to solve a pressing issue. Nearly a year and half ago, ATAP reached out to Speck, led by industrial designers Jason Stone and Vincent Pascual, with one such task: Build a tablet like no other.

The project is known as Tango. Its goal is to create technology that lets you use mobile devices to piece together three-dimensional maps, thanks to a clever array of cameras, depth sensors and fancy algorithms. As if that isn't enough of a challenge, Tango's team only has two full years to make this tech a reality. Those two years will be up in less than five months.

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Let's nip your enthusiasm right in the bud: No, these motorized skates you see above aren't actually powered by rockets. Now hold on, don't close the browser tab just yet. Just launched on Kickstarter, Acton's RocketSkates do have a rather misleading name. But they're actually quite the improvement over the Spnkix, the company's previous effort at a pair of motorized skates (which, incidentally, unceremoniously crashed our podcast stage during CES 2013). Unlike the Spnkix, the RocketSkates are about six pounds lighter, have four hub motors instead of two, are 15 percent smaller and can zoom up to 12 miles per hour. Oh, and most notably, the RocketSkates don't require a remote to operate. That's right; just like regular skates, these motorized puppies can let you zip around the sidewalk completely hands-free.

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The world's first arcade machine

Computer Space sounds like a third-party PC parts wholesaler, but back in 1971 it was the world's first video game arcade machine. Before Nolan Bushnell and Ted Dabney went off to start some games company called Atari, Computer Space was their first commercial collaboration -- a full year before Pong. The coin-operated computer game was the first of its kind in arcades, even if it wasn't an explosive commercial success, it managed to sell on par with other arcade machine. A recently christened game museum in Japan had not one, but four of the original arcade machines -- and an extra (unfortunately beige, non-shimmering) machine to play the game itself -- so we touched a bit of gaming history.

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Your day begins at dawn. After all, you are lying in a sleeping bag under the open sky grateful that you haven't: a) been stabbed by a grifter, b) been trampled by a herd of animals or c) contracted hypothermia and frozen to death. Then it's off for a morning routine that involves foraging for food from the land or dumpster diving for edible scraps. If things are pretty tight, and oftentimes they are, then you might even have to rely on your fallback for food-gathering: the five-finger discount. Sound like fun? Maybe not, but that's what life is like for some people after they've willfully crossed over into the digital darkness. Welcome to what it's like living life off the grid.

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There's a certain entity within the Pentagon that's quite (in)famous for developing terrifying robots, advanced weapons and futuristic tech. It's called the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency or, as most people know it, DARPA: the Department of Defense's "mad science" division. While all the machines coming out of the agency make it seem like its sole purpose is to build a killer-robot army, DARPA has many, many other projects to speak of. In fact, DARPA's at the heart of some of the most significant technological advances of our time. Hell, there might not be an internet to read this article on if DARPA didn't create it.

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If robotic rabbits could multiply, we'd be overrun by "kawaii" (the Japanese word for "cute") by now. Thankfully, Violet's 2005 Nabaztag robo-bunny has kept its socializing strictly to the digital realm. This adorably designed, WiFi-enabled techno-pet was created as a hub for delivering streams of user data through color, motion and sound. In fact, interaction with this "smart object's" ambient notifications and playful exterior aimed to provide a relaxing and peaceful experience. Did we mention it was also programmed to perform Tai Chi (with its ears)?

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IRL: Living with the Cocoon Slim, a backpack made for gadget hoarders

When you run around town with a lot of technology, a good bag isn't just nice to have -- it's a necessity. In any one given day at Engadget, we might be attending a product launch, interviewing people or taking all those lovely sample shots you see around the site. A regular courier bag or rucksack will likely do the job, but do you really want all your work-essential kit rattling around in a cross-city spin cycle? No, us neither.

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