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The Internet of Things moves a step closer with open source, ultra-low-power JenNet-IP

Much has been written about the “internet of things.” Right now, not every human being has an IP but in the very near future, low cost smart chips will be added to every device to give it an IP address and everything in one’s life will become part of your private secure network to be monitored and controlled (and hence become smart) via a smartphone, tablet or PC. Earlier this week, Dutch-based NXP Semiconductors announced its GreenChip, which for the cost of about US$1.00, enables every light bulb to have its own wireless IP address. NXP has subsequently announced it is to make its JenNet-IP, ultra-low-power, IEEE 802.15.4-based, wireless network layer software available under an Open Source license in Q4, 2011. This development is very significant as it reduces the cost and greatly simplifies adding “smart” connectivity and two-way communication into a wide range of devices, and might well establish a cross-application standard for wireless connectivity in both residential and industrial environments. Read More

The US$47 113dB Sonic Boom Skull alarm clock with bed shaker

To many people, it seems almost inconceivable that you can sleep through the aural brutality of an alarm clock, yet a small percentage of us can indeed, mask out all but the loudest of sounds without batting an eyelid. For those people, there is now "The Skull", a Sonic Boom alarm clock on steroids that pumps out 113 db of sound, flashes bright red light from its eye sockets, and strobes bright orange from a strip of flashing lights on the front. If that's not enough to rouse you, the skull comes with the company's "Bone Crusher" bed shaker attachment to shake you back into your body. Read More

LG launches first Smart-Grid appliance: the Smart Fridge

According to legend, while Scotland's Robert the Bruce was on the run he hid in a cave and observed a spider repeatedly trying and failing to spin its web from one area to another. Although it's unlikely that electronics giant LG has been studying Scottish lore, the "if at first you don't succeed, try try again" maxim has evidently been embraced with the announcement of the upcoming release of the company's latest connected fridge. More than a decade has passed since its Internet Fridge first broke cover to a somewhat cool reception. Now LG believes that the world – and technology – is ready to welcome the Smart Refrigerator.Read More

Burglar Blaster alarm greets intruders with pepper spray

This is one home security alarm you won't want to trigger by mistake! Burglar Blaster mounts on a wall inside the home, and once armed, uses an infrared beam to detect when an intruder has entered the house. It then emits a cloud of pepper spray, that will severely inconvenience anyone within 2,000 square feet (186 square meters).Read More

New Russell Hobbs washing machine cleans up in world record time

Doing the laundry probably isn’t high on anyone’s list of fun things to do, so anything that speeds up the chore, while also cutting down on the amount of water and energy used, is going to be welcome. A new washing machine from Russell Hobbs looks to accomplish all these goals with its “super rapid wash” cycle rinsing and spinning a load of lightly soiled clothes in a world record time of just 12 minutes as opposed to an average 90-minute wash cycle.Read More

'First-ever' permanent anti-fog coating developed

Tired of your glasses fogging up on cold days, or of having to spit in your dive mask before putting it on? Those hassles may become a thing of the past, as researchers from Quebec City’s Université Laval have developed what they claim is the world’s first permanent anti-fog coating. Just one application is said to work indefinitely on eyeglasses, windshields, camera lenses, or any other transparent glass or plastic surface.Read More

H2O Power radio runs on water from the shower

For all the people out there who like listening to the radio while they’re in the shower, various companies offer waterproof battery-operated “shower radios.” There’s nothing particularly wrong with these radios, but ... why change or recharge the batteries if you don’t have to? No, we’re not suggesting running a power cord into the shower. Instead, you might be interested in getting an H2O Power water-powered radio.Read More

Maximizing the number of floorboards per tree by going off the straight and narrow

There was also a time when wood was relatively cheap and plentiful in much of the world thanks to the number of trees just standing around waiting to be turned into useful things like floorboards. Unfortunately wood is neither as cheap nor plentiful as it once was, so it’s important to make the most of every tree. Instead of following the traditional line of straight-edged floorboards, Dutch company Bolefloor maximizes the coverage area of floorboards made from a particular tree by following the tree's natural curves.Read More

Breville combines two breakfast favorites in one device

Breakfast is said to be the most important meal of the day, and for me a few rounds of toast and a spot of rousing music on the radio is the perfect way to start off the day. UK kitchen appliance manufacturer Breville has taken those two kitchen favorites and merged them into one device – the Radio Toaster. Its smooth lines, matt black/silver finish and silver circular speaker give it a 1950s retro feel, but the AM/FM radio's display is digital rather than analog, and it also includes some modern toasting innovations to help users get the best bread-browning results.Read More

Pull Ties offer a simple solution to a common problem

Scientists may be working on things like increasing the efficiency of solar cells, finding new methods of filtering water and growing hardier strains of wheat, but they have been woefully neglecting one important task for decades ... creating a better way of closing plastic bags. Currently, options include twist ties, spring-loaded clips, plastic tabs and zip-lock bags. The first three of those aren’t particularly sturdy, while it’s often difficult to get zip-locks to seal properly. Perhaps, however, all of us frustrated plastic-baggers might have better luck with the recently-released Pull Ties.Read More

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