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Around The Home

The inflatable window - 50% insulation improvement

January 23, 2009 The inflatable window is a secondary glazing system that uses an inflatable rubber tube to seal into the window reveal to provide better insulation for the windows. The Australian Building Codes Board has published data showing that 87% of heat loss and 48% of heat gain is through the 8% of windows in the average building . The inflatable system is proven to offer up to 50% improvement on insulation resulting in a 68% improvement on the energy use for heating and cooling.  Read More

Quicksnap - a better ice block tray

January 22, 2009 One of the finalists in the recent Toyota IQ-sponsored Royal College of the Arts design contest was this simple but effective ice cube tray. Graeme Davies invented Quicksnap so that single ice cubes can be popped out without the normal problems associated with twisting an ice tray. With those who know their way around the kitchen increasingly freezing fruit pulps, curry paste and other sauces that take a lot of time to make, Davies’ invention will be welcomed when it hits the market later this year.  Read More

Garage|Shadow turns any Bluetooth cellphone  into a garage door remote

January 13, 2009 As the smartphone captures and ever greater share of the mobile phone market, it’s clear that people want their phone to become ever more multifunctional. Unify4Life envisages a day when their products will enable a BlackBerry to interact with and control any home or office product a customer desires. The company announced US$40 Garage|Shadow at CES, which allows you to open and close your garage door from your Blackberry or any Bluetooth enabled cell phone. The previously announced US$100 AV|Shadow does the same thing for controlling a set top box, DVD, VCR, TiVo, PVR or home theater.  Read More

EasyBloom Plant Sensor

Incorporating the same sensor technology used in the NASA Mars Mission, the EasyBloom Plant Sensor from PlantSense helps even the most novice gardener select the right plants for their garden and rescue unhealthy plants from an untimely death.  Read More

Flexicord memory cables

January 7, 2009 A simple invention here, but one with some merit - Flexicord cables can be gently bent into shape, and they'll stay the way you set them, the idea being that you can coil them up so they're always the perfect length, and never in the way of anything else. They're available in HDMI, Cat5e, RCA phono jack, S-Video and USB varieties in lengths up to 10 feet.  Read More

How to avoid taking out the garbage quite as frequently

January 2, 2008 Taking out the garbage (who and/or when and/or how frequently) is undoubtedly the greatest threat to household harmony of any domestic chore. The Broan Elite XE Trash Compactor won’t exactly remove the chore, but with a compaction ratio of 6-to-1, it’ll reduce the number of times you need to argue about it and/or do it. With a three-quarter horsepower motor offering 3000 pounds of compacting force, each 1.5 cubic foot compacted bag holds the equivalent of six 13 gallon bags of ordinary trash, so it’ll lighten the volume for local landfills and reduce the volume for garbage pick-up, providing a cost saving for consumers who pay by the load. The unit also has antimicrobial protection to fight odor-causing bacteria and a replaceable odor control disc that is rotated automatically and hence lasts six months.  Read More

Black & Decker to offer remotely lockable deadlocks

January 2, 2009 The advent of the automated or smart home is gathering momentum and acceptance in the community, and Pocket-Lint is reporting that Black & Decker is about to enter the smart deadlock marketplace. Black & Decker owns Quickset which recently released a range of keyless entry deadbolts as the SmartCode Signature Series (pictured) but the description offered by Pocket-Lint goes well beyond the capabilities of the current Quicket offerings. Apparently the new B&D motorised electronic deadbolts can be locked and unlocked remotely, mimicking the functionality of the recently acquired Z-Wave product which enables such remarkable initiatives as the Nokia Home Control Center. The product is due to launch this month so stay tuned.  Read More

Knife Block eliminates germs

Knives are an essential part of any kitchen - germs aren't. This sanitary knife block promises a high level of protection against cross-contamination by using UV-C light technology to sterilize your blades, getting rid of 99.99% of food bacteria and viruses in a process that takes just 20 seconds.  Read More

Serious celebration: the Waring Professional Cordless Wine Opener

Here's a last minute gift idea for the hard working waiter or the wine-lover who does a great deal of entertaining. Featuring one touch operation and a soft rubber handle, the new Waring Professional Cordless Wine Opener can remove up to 80 corks on one charge.  Read More

'Zikmu' Wireless Speakers

Renowned and prolific French Designer Philippe Starck has added to his diverse portfolio in a collaboration with wireless specialist Parrot. The result is the 'Zikmu', an iPod ready wireless speaker system that combines Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capability with 360° NXT surround sound in a design that's a fusion of modern minimalist lines and 70's bell-bottom fashion - it certainly works for us.  Read More

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