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Around The Home

Audio speakers constructed like a guitar

August 24, 2006 Audiophiles and audio engineers have long debated the relative sound quality of vacuum tubes, vinyl records, Class A amplifiers, and exotic speaker cables, however, while the musical character of some acoustic devices was often a happy coincidence, there is nothing unintentional about a new loudspeaker from Onkyo and Takamine. Onkyo is now shipping the unusual loudspeaker, designed jointly with renowned guitar manufacturer Takamine, to express the positive qualities of both speaker performance and musical instrument design and construction. The Onkyo D-TK10 designers consciously rejected the inert-box acoustics of conventional speaker cabinetry in favour of a freely-vibrating thin-wall enclosure based on high-end guitar construction. Through strategic placement of struts, stringers, and thickness variations, the speaker harnesses the sounds that would normally be absorbed within the enclosure to stimulate carefully controlled cabinet resonances for a much fuller and richer sonic character.  Read More

Gizmo launches Australian comprehensive in-home and phone support technology support taskf...

August 9, 2006 There’s a fundamental shift in consumer digital technology currently underway as the world embraces the digital lifestyle. Led by the growth of broadband, home networking, digital devices and digital media services, the uptake of new technologies has been extraordinary despite complexity, integration and interoperability issues. A recent GfK Group study showed that 77 percent of Australians now have more than eight digital devices in their homes so it’s timely that Australia is about to get its equivalent of America’s GeekSquad – a reliable, comprehensive in-home and phone support technology support taskforce. To be known as Gizmo, the comprehensive support service is designed to help Australians get the most out of their computer and related gadgets, launched today by announcing the opening of its Sydney operation. The Gizmo service provides home support with customising, setting up and maintaining computer systems, home networking, peripherals and media/entertainment centres.  Read More

The world's most secure front door

August 1, 2006 Necessity, it is said, is the mother of invention, so we weren’t surprised to get an email from TechnoImport in beautiful downtown Bogota, capital of one of the world’s toughest countries, Colombia, explaining the development of what TechnoImport believes is the most secure armoured door in the world for residential homes – a bargain at just US$2500 given the remarkable array of technology it contains. The steel door is bulletproof (it’ll stop a Magnum 57 bullet - see main pic), offers antifire protection, cannot be cut through with cutting/welding equipment and is designed to withstand the use of explosives, having a steel frame as well. It has two inboard engines guaranteed to a minimum 30,000 openings and locks in ten places with 3/4 inch pins, on all sides of the door. Even the biometric lock is intelligent, sensing for bloodflow and the correct fingerprint to foil those unscrupulous fiends who found a way past the first generation fingerprint locks by hacking off the fingers of their victims.  Read More

Sound System in a Rocking Chair

July 19, 2006 The rocking chair had its own entry in the Oxford English dictionary in 1787, so suffice to say that it’s not exactly something one traditionally associates with high technology, adrenalin, driving bass and acute awareness – but Ace Bayou's X Rocker II really caught our eye this week when the unique 21st century rocking chair with a built-in, high-quality 80 Watt sound system went on sale in Wal-Mart, signifying that it has become distinctly mainstream, perhaps moreso than its iconic wooden ancestor. The US$100 surround-sound chair connects to a variety of the most popular media devices including iPod, PSP, Xbox, DVD player and most home theatre systems, bringing a new level of media immersion to listening to music, playing games, or watching movies.  Read More

The Floating Bed

July 5, 2006 Given that we spend roughly a third of our life asleep, the humble bed has had remarkably little innovation pointed in its direction over the ages. So a new floating bed which hovers 40 cm above the floor represents a significant development in the design of sleeping apparatus. Debuting at the recent Millionaire Fair in Kortrijk, Belgium , the floating bed is the result of six years of development by Dutch architect Janjaap Ruijssenaars working with Bakker Magnetics. Using the power of permanent opposing industrial-strength magnets to enable it to float, the full scale bed can hold 900 kilograms of weight, while a smaller one fifth scale platform can safely hold 80 kilogams. Already people are beginning to see many applications for the simple yet visually arresting platforms ranging from the basis for a sofa, Coffee table, Japanese dining table and particularly in the display areas where museums and high-end visual merchandisers are beginning to conceptualise numerous creative uses.  Read More

The Simmer Stove – ingenious and simple new stove design

June 28, 2006 The best inventions are invariably the simplest, easiest to understand and those that clearly offer a solution to an important problem – inventions that the moment you see them make you wish you’d thought of them, and are so obvious that you believe you might just have done so under the right circumstances. The Simmer Stove fits the bill for such an invention and works by lowering the cooking pot into the benchtop, significantly reducing the chances of the pot being pulled or knocked off the stove and taking the heat source well away from human hands. The safety aspects seem to pale beside the confinement of the heat source which prevents heat loss to the atmosphere and significantly reduces the energy needs of the stove. Given that stoves have been with us forever … we just can’t undertand why has it taken this long to do the obvious. Romy Hockley conceived Simmer Stove and is seeking partners to develop the concept.  Read More

200 Mbps Powerline Solution

The home network you wished you had might already be there – just missing a few parts. Netgear’s new 200 Mbps Powerline HD Ethernet Adapter turns any AC electrical outlet into an HD-streaming, high-speed ethernet broadband connection, suitable for real-time high-quality video, gaming and VoIP or connecting a personal computer, digital video recorder, game console or other ethernet device to their home network. The goal for next-generation home networking technology is two-fold: to offer speeds to support high-definition devices, and to ensure uninterrupted connectivity in wireless problem areas. With Powerline devices operating at 200 Mbps, it’s now possible to stream voice, data, video and gaming throughout any building at speeds to support bandwidth-needy applications without the need to run any cabling between rooms.  Read More

The Jeppe Utzon Barbeque

June 20, 2006 The result of a two-year collaboration between Electrolux and designer Jeppe Utzon, grandson of Sydney Opera House designer, Jorn Utzon, the Electrolux Jeppe Utzon Barbeque is designed to complement the current architectural trend of clean, minimalist lines. Not surprisingly, the elegant Utzon Barbeque is constructed of premium grade materials such as ScotchBrite Stainless and Corian and comes in at the ultra-premium end of the market with a AUD$9,000 (US$6630) price tag.  Read More

Panasonic launches High Definition web-based service to offer the world's finest art and p...

June 16, 2006 Panasonic Direct is making available the world's finest high definition art and photography for use on Panasonic HDTVs through its newest web-based service, the Panasonic HD Image Gallery, it was announced yesterday. The Panasonic HD Image Gallery features an extensive library of downloadable HD image collections powered by GalleryPlayer. The content available includes masterpieces from Monet, DaVinci, and Andy Warhol to photographic imagery from National Geographic, Time Life, and 30 other leading content partners.  Read More

Guggenheim Museum to feature Zaha Hadid's Futuristic Z. Island Kitchen

June 14, 2006 When world-renowned architect Zaha Hadid was asked to design a kitchen by DuPont and Ernestomeda for the Milan Furniture Fair, the chances were that it would be very special, but it’s hard to imagine how delighted DuPont must have been with the result, which not only showcases the company’s remarkable design material Corian to perfection, but has just gone on display in the Guggenheim Museum in New York as part of a special exhibition celebrating Hadid's equally remarkable worldwide projects. The exquisite Z. Island is equipped with numerous futuristic features such as embedded heating membranes, touch control panels, sound activators and scent dispensers, LED lighting and a multimedia entertainment system, including a flat screen and an Apple Macintosh Mini for serving iTunes. Such has been the interest in the kitchen that Ernestomeda is now offering the kitchen as a special, on- request production. Be sure to see the images in the extensive photo gallery.  Read More

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