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Around The Home

Singer's Futura CE250 sewing and embroidery machine

July 26, 2007 The Singer company has a spectacular and storied history of firsts. Founded in 1851, the iconic company produced the world’s first portable sewing machine in 1921, and built and then demolished the world’s first and tallest skyscraper on the site of New York’s World Trade Center as its head office. Singer was one of America’s first truly globally marketed brands with an unprecedented advertising budget, and the company made the first computer-controlled sewing machine in 1978. Now, Singer has built on its impressive past by creating a sewing and embroidery machine that allows you to design a multi-coloured embroidery pattern on a PC, and “print” it directly to the fabric through a USB connection. The new Singer Futura machine is designed to make complex and beautiful embroidery a simple, quick and controllable task for any home craftsperson, and brings the old-world craft into a distinctly new-age technology.  Read More

Gesture recognition yields the virtual remote control

July 23, 2007 As we move towards the home entertainment systems of the future, we’ll no doubt be looking for more elaborate ways of interacting with these systems than the simple remote control. ‘Wave of the hand ‘ technology is a box that lets television viewers change channels, switch on the DVD player or simply switch off an irritating presenter or program with the wave of a hand. The controller’s built-in camera can recognise seven simple hand gestures and work with up to eight different gadgets around the home. The developers, Dr Premaratne and Quang Nguyen, believe the device could be on sale within three years.  Read More

No-touch toilet tissue dispenser

July 10, 2007 Public restrooms are not always the most alluring locations in which to deal with nature’s calling and in an effort to make them more hygienic we’ve seen the progressive introduction of touch-free hand-dryers, sinks and soap dispensers, but one key element has been overlooked – toilet tissue. Now Kimberly-Clark Professional has found a way complete the hygienic no-touch restroom with the release of the JRT Electronic Coreless bath tissue dispenser, a system that automatically dispenses a pre-defined amount of toilet paper when users place their hands under the unit.  Read More

Presso espresso maker

July 4, 2007 Making a well-extracted espresso coffee should be a simple process and the Presso espresso machine is certainly elegant in its simplicity. Despite the many variables that go into a good brew such as water pressure, temperature and the grind of the beans, the ideal machine should be reliable and robust, with moving parts kept to a minimum. The Presso meets these criteria by using an entirely mechanical design based on leverage that by-passes the reliability problems often associated with the use of electric pumps in smaller consumer oriented espresso machines.  Read More

The Mow-Aerator

June 28, 2007 There’s more to maintaining a healthy lawn than just jumping on the ride-on mower now and then, but time-consuming and labor intensive tasks like aeration of the soil are often left undone. The solution is one we always like – do two things at once. The Mow-Aerator is a simple collection of brackets and one-and-a-half-inch spikes that attaches to a mower's tires and allows you to mow and aerate at the same time. The weight of the mower – whether ride-on or push - forces the spikes into the root zone to aerate the soil without the clods of dirt left behind by conventional aerators.  Read More

Wake-up in your own time: aXbo sleep phase alarm clock

June 28, 2007 Waking at just the right moment can have a drastic effect on how well-rested a person feels, the trick is knowing exactly when that is. This is the principle behind the aXbo ‘sleep phase alarm clock’- a device that monitors phases of sleep and wakes the user at the optimum moment to maximize their feelings of well-being and vitality.  Read More

Rain Reviva under-house water storage

June 27, 2007 In places like Australia where long-term drought has sparked a re-think of the way we use of our precious water resources, domestic rainwater tanks are undoubtedly of great benefit - but they’re also too large for many properties and, well… ugly. One solution is to disguise the tank, another is to keep it completely hidden from view as is the case with the Rain Reviva water storage system. Designed for easy installation underneath a house or decking, the bladder style tank incorporates a mains-pressure pump and pressure control unit to deliver water for household applications, plus a swing arm that allows automatic diversion into storm-water outflow points when the bladder becomes full.  Read More

It's not much, but we call it home

June 14, 2007 It's just so hard to find the right home for your family of 6, 168 cars and 600 full-time personal staff. India's second-richest man, Mukesh Ambani, decided the only way was up. His 60-storey high vertical palace in Mumbai, to be completed in 2008, tells an epic tale of excess - and the locals aren't happy about this ostentatious display, some calling it the "dawn of a new age of vulgarity".  Read More

Informed's Home Emergency Pocket Guide

June 13, 2007 Not everybody's a first-aider or emergency specialist - and every time a natural disaster like Katrina or serious fires comes along, it becomes clear how poorly prepared the average household is to deal with these extraordinary situations. Informed's latest pocket emergency guide is a comprehensive and easy to use reference for families in the case of natural disaster, terrorist attack, chemical or biological contaminations.  Read More

US $1000 12-Foot Inflatable Home Theater

June 7, 2007 Getting a group of people together is about as much fun as you can have, and all too frequently, the excuse for such a get together is to watch an event on the big screen. Now there’s a way of ruggedising the big screen experience so you can take it outdoors In terms of bang-per-buck, the Sima 12-Foot Inflatable Home Theater is a ripper because for US$1000 you get to protect your monstrous pride-and-joy and make it much more versatile at the same time. For those among us who just have to spend a lot of money to get into the experience, there are lots of outdoor speakers designed to look like rocks, wireless, in-ground speakers and ... and we think it’s a great idea that might yet spawn an entire outdoor home entertainment industry.  Read More

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