The coming year will surely include no shortage of new smartphones, tablets and other mainstream gadgets now entrenched in the consumer market. Some will focus on aesthetics, taking a page from Samsung’s curved-glass design for its new Galaxy Round. Others will opt for better cameras, higher-resolution displays, longer battery life and further, incremental advances.

Many new devices, however, will debut in 2014 with the hope of tapping into some as-yet unmet need. These gadgets—largely unproved, crowdfunded and in search of a following—combine wireless connectivity, GPS, sensors and other existing technologies in novel ways that promise to help us work more efficiently, track our health or navigate our surroundings.

Most of the following devices are still under development, with the promise that they will be available to the public sometime by the end of 2014. The engineers and designers of these gadgets may not have all of the kinks worked out, but they hope that tweaked versions of their technologies—in many cases backed by thousands of supporters on sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo—will someday redefine what we consider mainstream.

Here are Scientific American’s pick of seven gadgets to look for in 2014.