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The AeroPress Coffee Machine: a new concept in an ancient art

January 16, 2006 There’s always a better way – ALWAYS! Humans have been consuming coffee for 1200 years, the first coffee shops opened 500 years ago and coffee is the world’s second largest traded commodity, behind only oil. More than 1.5 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day with the US market for coffee machines at 20 million a year and growing. You’d think we would have already perfected the best way to produce a cup of coffee from coffee beans, but several years of research by Stanford University mechanical engineering lecturer Alan Adler (the inventor of the Aerobie flying disk which holds the world throwing record of more than a quarter mile) appear to have found a better coffee machine. Independent reviews suggest the new Aerobie AeroPress delivers the smoothest, richest, purest and fastest cup of coffee (under 30 seconds) you’re likely to find and the bonus is that the AeroPress costs just US$30. And while it might look like a French Press because both use immersion and pressure, it works quite differently.  Read More

Monogram Walk-In Wine Vault

January 14, 2006 If you’re considering the fit-out for your next luxury home and you’re one of those wine enthusiasts who anxiously awaits each November for the Beaujolais Nouveau to arrive, then feast your eyes on General Electric’s latest - a complete, turnkey walk-in wine vault. The US$35,000 GE Monogram Walk-In Wine Vault combines advanced cooling technology, an electronic inventory-management system, insulation, racking, and lighting - all in one spacious, self-contained unit that can be installed in as little as a day. The Monogram Wine Vault offers the ideal location for storing or displaying wines.  Read More

Refrigerator with the lot - Maytag Ice2O

January 13, 2006 There’s not much more you can expect of a refrigerator than this. It’s Maytag’s newest and top-of-the-range refrigerator, the Ice2O French Door Bottom-Freezer with an external ice and water dispenser. The Ice2O combines the best features of a side-by-side and bottom-freezer refrigerator in one design, along with the largest-available fresh food capacity.  Read More

The Kitchen of the Future

January 12, 2006 You are at the office and decide to invite friends over for dinner that night. What's for dinner? Just pick up the phone and call home. Your kitchen can give you a heads up on what foods you have in the refrigerator and pantry, suggest menus that use some of those foods, and once you've selected the menu, it will supply a grocery list for other items you need to pick up. Use the same call to leave a message for your spouse to put some wine in the refrigerator to chill. Sound impossible? When the brightest minds at the Industrial Design Operation of GE Consumer & Industrial were asked to design the Kitchen of the Future - that is how they imagined it. For a demonstration of GE's Kitchen of the Future, see this WMV movie, and for a video explanation, click here.  Read More

CES 2006: Taking `iPod Docking' to a new level

January 7, 2006 A visitor from Mars strolling the halls of the CES might be excused for thinking that the Apple iPod represents a far greater proportion of the consumer electronics industry than it really does. It is just an MP3 player, yet it seems that every manufacturer in the game has hedged a bet by having some form of relationship with the iconic iPod. No doubt when we’ve marshaled the Gizmag troops on the CES show floor, we’ll offer a far more comprehensive and strategic overview of iPod-related offerings, but we thought D2Audio's take was worth a mention. D2Audio new family of Geneva Sound Systems are a single cabinet unit which incorporates multiple speakers internally to deliver an incredibly broad audio sweet spot for iPod music players, as well as CDs and radio. Powerful enough for a house party with its full 600 watts of stereo, it has an iPod dock, built-in slot-loading CD, FM radio and supports multiple audio sources.  Read More

World's largest plasma display: Panasonic 103-inch 1080p

January 5, 2006 Panasonic will begin showing a super-large-size prototype 103-inch plasma display panel (PDP) at its booth at the 2006 International CES later today. The 103-inch PDP has 1080p (progressive) HDTV resolution and can deliver more than two million pixels (1,920 x 1,080) of performance – not surprisingly, it’s world’s largest plasma display, edging narrowly ahead of the 102-inch Samsung shown at CES last year. Given Samsung’s penchant for having the largest and mostest of everything, we suspect it won’t take long for the Korean giant to leapfrog back into the lead, but for now the record goes to Japan and Panasonic (and ultimately to Matsushita, Panasonic’s parent company).  Read More

Ingenious appliance concepts among Electrolux Design Lab finalists

January 2, 2006 Another design competition set to become a global fixture, a source of household appliance ideas and a massive generator of awareness for the brand is the Electrolux Design Lab. The theme for the fourth Electrolux Design Lab competition, for which the winners were announced last month, was “household appliance solutions for food preservation and storage that promote healthier eating habits for 2016.” The winning entry (adjudged by the jury as the most innovative product) was from Turkish student Metin Kaplan, was named Nevale and is a mobile food carrier, though there were some other stand-out ideas including Brian Law’s Organic Cook concept (that uses vacuum cooking in a new inventive way), Eduardo Altamirano’s Vessto portable cook-top which took second and third place. Two of the non-placed finalists that we think are really neat are Teeravit Hanharutaivan’s Vege (an appliance that allows consumers to grow vegetables in their kitchen) and Kleber Puchaski’s HydroSphere (a gorgeous transparent sphere for growing herbs, vegies and fruit indoors). Excellent image library.  Read More

Translucent roofing system uses aerogel to allow full spectrum, natural light into living ...

December 8, 2005 Nanotechnology threatens some radical changes to the way we live – indeed, it threatens to change some of our fundamental belief systems. Anyone with a rudimentary understanding of physics will tell you that putting a clear roof on our dwellings allowing full spectrum, natural light, will result in a disastrously inefficient energy monster. But nanotechnology can offer glass and polycarbonate remarkable new properties as this story illustrates. We’ve written about the world’s lightest substance before (here and here), but now some of aerogel’s other properties are beginning to find commercial application and by filling polycarbonate or glass with nanogel, the clear substances retain their light transmission qualities while delivering outstanding thermal insulation.  Read More

The supreme sports sofa – just US$30,000

December 8, 2005 This looks to be the ultimate environment for the ultimate couch potato. It’s being offered by Domino's Pizza to apparently reflect the desires of pizza-loving sports fanatics, nearly 500 of whom were surveyed about what they wanted in the supreme sports sofa. The Domino's Pizza Man Cave Couch has it all. It serves as a high-end entertainment and food-and-beverage center where everything is within a hairy arm's reach. The couch features two flat screen TVs, a DVD player, an Xbox with three controllers, a refrigerator, an Electric Red MP3 player, an XM Radio with one year of free service, a NEXTEL cellular phone and a NASCAR headset and two Domino's Pizza Heat Wave hot bags to keep your pizzas warm.  Read More

For the man with everything - the V8 snowblower

December 2, 2005 If you’re tired of anaemic, one-lung snowblowers with their slipping drive belts, you might consider Kai Grundt’s V8 snow blower which raises the bar on the traditional snow blower in every respect. With electric start, electric block heater, antifreeze heater and eight cylinders, it has no drive belts to freeze up and you’ll never get bored with the job as the 454 cubic inch big block Chevrolet V8 produces 412 horsepower, 430 foot pounds of torque and can throw snow 50 feet at just 3500 rpm. Nor will you get cold as the machine has been ingeniously designed to route the engine coolant through the handle bars, with the rear mounted, enclosed radiator keeping the operator nice and cosy.  Read More

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