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Around The Home


— Around The Home

Smart windows can be tuned for privacy, while still letting the light shine through

The glass panels that let light into our homes and offices have been seen as huge windows of opportunity for engineers in recent times. If the amount of light pouring through can be managed throughout the day, it could lessen reliance on energy-sapping air conditioner units, for instance. This has led to a number of examples of smart facades that keep interior spaces from overheating, and some that even harvest energy for lights and ventilation. But a new tunable window-tinting technology is claimed to do things the smart glass before it cannot, by allowing users control over brightness, color temperature and opacity.

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— Around The Home

Dyson's LED lamp promises to burn brightly for 37 years

Some notable advances have taken place in the world of LED lighting of late. From Ikea's flexible lighting tiles to Phillips' $5 bulbs, those looking to switch off their incandescent globes for good have plenty of practical and quirky options to choose from. But, just as it did with vacuum cleaners, hand dryers and air purifiers, Dyson has arrived and is promising a superior solution. Inventor Jake Dyson says the company has built the first light that cools LEDs properly, enabling them to last 37 years.

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— Around The Home

Carriers collaborate on Parcelhome Smart Box package delivery pilot in Belgium

Though consumers can make substantial savings by purchasing goods online, the modern shopping experience does have some drawbacks. Chief among those is making sure that someone is home to receive the package. Online tracking tools can help, but Irish start-up Parcelhome reckons that anywhere between 15 and 50 percent of deliveries fail on the first attempt, meaning that the customer has to schedule another delivery or arrange to pick up from a drop off point. The company's Smart Box letterbox is currently undergoing pilot testing in Belgium in collaboration with carriers DHL, GLS and DPD. Once installed, it allows couriers to make secure home deliveries any time without the need for the customer to be there to receive the package, with a companion app notifying the recipient when the delivery has been made.

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— Around The Home

Saver lets people breathe while escaping fires

While a smoke detector can certainly provide you with an early warning in the event of a house fire, it can't usually do much to help you get out of the building once that fire is underway. That's why Toronto-based startup Safety iQ developed the Saver. It's a portable device that reportedly allows users to breathe safely in smoke-filled environments, while also serving as a flashlight and alarm.

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