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Pureflame lets you hang a fireplace on your wall

At this time of year, many of us living in the upper reaches of the Northern Hemisphere start wishing that we had a fireplace in our home. Unfortunately, installing a fireplace and chimney in a house that doesn't already have them is quite an involved and expensive process. Here's a solution in the form of a functioning fireplace that you simply hang on the wall like a picture - it's made by a company called Pureflame.Read More

Urban Cultivator automatically grows greens indoors

There’s no question that fresh herbs taste better than their dried counterparts, nor is there any denying that garden-fresh veggies are preferable to ones that have spent the past several days in a truck or on a supermarket shelf. People who are lucky enough to live in warmer climates can keep the fresh greens coming year-round, if they plant a garden. For those of us in colder regions, however, things get a bit more challenging come winter. We can rig up indoor herb gardens on windowsills or using full-spectrum fluorescent lights, but that can sometimes get a little complicated. If you can justify its price, however, there is an alternative – the Urban Cultivator.Read More

Rydis rolls in with a robot air purifier

An air purifier is typically set to clean a set number of square feet in a house or building, say 100 square feet (9 sq m). That means nearby rooms don't benefit, and you may even wonder about the perimeter of the room in which you have the purifier, and whether air particles in that area are being cleaned. The Rydis H800, a robot air purifier from Moneual, addresses these concerns by roaming the house in search of dirty air to clean and purify.Read More

Flaca stainless steel lamp is an exemplar of green design

As a founding member of Desk Lamp Fetishists Anonymous, it was with great interest (read cold sweats) that I learned about the stainless steel Flaca desk lamp by Mexico's Masiosare Studio. Yes, the stainless steel is sexy, and the 6 W power consumption - courtesy of twelve LEDs - ticks the green boxes, but most exciting is the fact that the Flaca comes as a flat piece of laser-cut steel that the user then bends into shape. We at the DLFA are nuts for flat-pack tool-less assembly, you see.Read More

Village Defense: Neighborhood Watch 2.0 - the good guys are winning

If you've ever picked up a Neighborhood Watch newsletter and been astonished by the amount of crime in your community, you might be very interested in a new social software start-up named Village Defense. The software links neighbors to form a real-time communication system - one phone call notifies all neighbors (by text or phone) when a crime or suspicious activity is in progress. In the first pilot study of the new system, the increased awareness, greater availability of witnesses and shorter response times facilitated by Village Defense saw crime rates drop 58% in the first year. Read More

WiSPr acoustic termite detector works by "hearing" termites eat

Thanks to their habit of remaining concealed, the first indication people get that termites have invaded their home is after they’ve already wreaked their particular brand of wood-eating havoc. According to Associate Professor Adam Osseiran of Western Australia’s Edith Cowan University, the yearly damage bill in the U.S. for termite damage tops US$12 billion, while in Australia they cause an estimated $1 to $3 billion damage each year. In attempt to reduce such damage, Osseiran and his team have developed an acoustic sensor that is so sensitive it can detect termite infestation by “hearing” them chew through timber.Read More

ViolinSpeaker resonates at CES

Often viewed as works of art, violins and other string instruments are not uncommonly displayed in the home. One Chinese company is turning a number of violins and other string instruments into speakers, so the display is functional. Instruments used to make the speakers, which also include bass and other string selections, are made by Hua Xing String Instruments in Guangzhou, China. A driver is inserted into the instrument, and the resonance within the resulting ViolinSpeaker is used to produce and project sound. Read More

LG Blast Chiller means you never have to drink a warm beer again

Few things can ruin a party like warm beer. You can pack ice around it all you want; you're still going to be waiting half an hour for it to get cold and probably still crack it open too soon. Someone over at LG must have attended one too many get-togethers that turned out this way, because the company unveiled a new refrigerator at CES 2012 that comes with the handiest feature since the built-in ice maker: a Blast Chiller that can cool a can of beer or soda to ice cold in just a few minutes. Read More

Freedom Induction Cooktop heats up pots placed anywhere

While they might still seem rather high-tech, induction cooktops have been on the market since at least the mid-1970s. Instead of warming pots via heat transfer from electrical elements or gas burners, they instead use coils of copper wire located beneath their ceramic glass surface to induce an electrical field within metal pots, which results in the resistive heating of their contents. Typically, the sizes and locations of those coils are marked on the stove’s surface, and users must place their pots on those. Thermador’s new Freedom Induction Cooktop, however, will heat up cookware placed anywhere on its surface. Not only that, but the “active” part of the cooktop will conform to the footprint of whatever size or shape of cookware is used.Read More

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