Just like its more formal sibling, craft brewing, home brewing has exploded in popularity in the United States in recent years, and if startups have anything to say about it, the category should keep on growing. Joining the Pico brewer on the crowdfunding circuit, the MiniBrew is another all-in-one countertop brewing system that makes brewing beer nearly as easy – though more time-consuming overall – as brewing coffee.
Shadowplay strips the clock back to its basic elements, with an empty clock face bathed in light from the LEDs embedded in its plywood frame. There are no numbers, and no hands, at least until someone touches the clock face, at which point the time is picked out in two shadowy streaks which extend past the edge of the clock.
In 2013, PicoBrew unveiled its Zymatic automatic beer brewing appliance, which was marketed to professional microbreweries as a way to create high-quality, repeatable test batches of new beer recipes. Now the Seattle-based startup has launched the PicoBrew Pico on Kickstarter. A smaller, more stylish version of the Zymatic, it's aimed at the home brewer with little or no experience, but a desire to make craft beer with as little effort and mess as possible.
Many guitarists are also gear-head collectors and will likely have more than a few instruments lying about in a spare room, basement studio or loft conversion. The tidier among us may even have our most-used axes lined up and ready to rock in a guitar rack. But a rack in the living room? Unlikely. However, DRS Racks' modular storage system may just be attractive and practical enough to take center stage in the home's main living space.
Most cigar boxes are cheap cardboard affairs that are useful for keeping bits and pieces in or turning into an inexpensive guitar. Definitely not in the homespun musical category is the Emperador cigar chest from Imperiali Genève. This is a high-tech container that holds two dozen bespoke cigars and clocks in at a cool one million Swiss francs (US$1,048,000) – making this both one of the most expensive and technologically advanced cigar boxes in history.
That small window where a freshly brewed coffee is at the perfect temperature can close pretty quickly sometimes, particularly if you're distracted by other tasks during your morning routine. California-based Ember Technologies has developed a connected coffee mug that is claimed to keep your beverage hotter for longer, with users able to set the temperature through a companion smartphone app or a twist of the mug's base.
Whether it's for peace of mind while on holiday or to keep an eye on an elderly relative, security cameras are finding their way into more and more homes. Part of the reason for this increased popularity is the drop in price and ease of use and installation offered by an increasing number of systems. Looking to join this increasingly crowded marketplace is the new Ezviz Mini cloud-based, Wi-Fi camera that we recently got hold of and put on patrol.
Even with all today's gadgets, it can still be tricky to get in touch with family that's
abroad, or even just upstairs. A new device called the Nucleus is aimed
at making it quick and simple to speak with family members wherever they
are. Surprisingly, it's inspired by the trusty old intercom.
Most so-called portable air conditioners stretch the definition of "portable," but the Evapolar isn't one of them. In a form factor about the same size and weight as a small toaster, the unit packs an evaporative cooling system to cool and humidify the air, while an evaporative nanomaterial based on basalt fibers that was developed for the Russian military helps purify the air.
Smart home technology has made it easy to remotely adjust thermostats or switch lights on and off using mobile devices, and door locks, too, can now be opened with just a tap on a smartphone screen. But what if you live in a gated community or apartment building? Locumi Labs has just launched a smart device that upgrades intercoms to enable keyless entry for such residences.