Photokina 2014 highlights

Around The Home

Biometric Home Security - entry via fingerprint scan

February 9, 2007 America’s top-selling lock-set manufacturer Kwikset, has unveiled a stylish biometric keyless entry system for the home. SmartScan eliminates the need for a key or key code, with the deadbolt activated simply by swiping a valid fingerprint across its sensor. Programmable with up to 50+ user fingerprints, SmartScan also has a special timed "lock out feature" that allows homeowners three levels of access options. This feature allows continual access (24/7) for family members, temporary access for house sitters or contractors, and time restricted access for babysitters or housekeepers.  Read More

IntelliScanner Mini Home Organization Scanner

January 11, 2007 There is no doubt that organizing things is much easier once they are digital. For those of us who work in the digital world, there’s a vast chasm between the databased, orderly digital work environment and the disorderly analog or real world environment. If you’re looking to get some organisation into the home, IntelliScanner has rolled out IntelliScanner mini, an ultra-portable personal barcode scanner and software package for organizing collections and home assets with barcode technology plus an AutoFill item identification. IntelliScanner mini is about the size of a car keyfob, organizing personal assets automatically by simply scanning the retail barcode or printed tag.  Read More

Apple TV connects the digital world to your television

January 9, 2007 Apple premiered Apple TV today, creating another easy-to-use and elegant product which delivers an incredibly useful way to wirelessly play all your favorite iTunes content from your Mac or PC on your widescreen TV, including movies, TV shows, music, photos and podcasts. Using Apple TV’s new interface, anyone can quickly browse and view their entire collection of digital media from across the room using the simple and intuitive Apple Remote. Apple TV easily connects to almost all modern widescreen televisions, and will be shipping in February for just US$300.  Read More

Velcro-tipped FlexiSnake drain unclogger

January 2, 2007 For all the high tech wonders in our life, there’s nothing quite as humbling as a simple blocked rain to remind us that we have yet to solve all the mysteries of the universe. A new product designed to open a slow-running drain caught our eye over the holiday period - a velcro-tipped, disposable drain snake called FlexiSnake.  Read More

Dance your way to cleanliness – Electrolux Dustmate shoes

December 18, 2006 They may only be a design exercise at this point, but the Electrolux Dustmate shoes strike a chord, if only in expectation of the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers commercials which would surely result if the product ever came to market. The Dustmates are shoes with built-in vacuum cleaners. There’s also the slight problem of fitting an effective mechanism for vacuuming into the shoes, not to mention the repository for the dirt. Nice idea though!  Read More

The expanding dining table

December 12, 2006 It is not often that we see a product of exquisite beauty, ingenious design, and made from extraordinary materials that scores 10 from 10 on the usefulness scale. This is such a product. David Fletcher is a bespoke furniture manufacturer who has spent many years producing distinctive pieces of exceptional quality, each custom designed and built for each commission. Nothing is copied, nor are any two pieces ever created the same. The expanding table shown here is the result of many years of development, but follows a line of history of more than one and a half centuries. The Fletcher Capstan Table is the only table in the world with its unique properties. It is a circular table which, when rotated at its outer perimeter, doubles its seating capacity, yet astonishingly remains truly circular. The masterpiece is of course the operating mechanism which is beautifully engineered, yet simple and robust … and you can have one built to your exact requirements for a sum commensurate with this functional work of art. Gizmodo’s comments are worth reading and the videos are here, here and here. Just to show they know their way around functional design, the company also manufactures another expanding table done by entirely different means - the Fletcher Rising & Folding Table achieves many of the same functions, but also raises and lowers. And if you like this table, you'll also like this one.  Read More

The Cyberlux EverOn LED Portable Light – a 'must-have' for the emergency kit

December 8, 2006 We do get excited about useful things that become more useful in an emergency and the Cyberlux EverOn fits that bill perfectly – it is an easy-to-use, inexpensive emergency light that offers over 500 hours of nightlight level light, or 60 hours of a medium, room-filling light, or 30 hours of intensely bright white light – all from one set of 4 AA batteries. It can perform this seemingly magical feat because it is bulb free - it uses Cyberlux solid-state LED technology which is 90 percent more energy efficient than conventional incandescent lighting elements found in most lanterns and flashlights. And an ideal safety light for young children.  Read More

The Chumby, the wifi internet-connected news-gathering squishy clock radio

December 6, 2006 The chumby is a modern day equivalent of the clock radio, but it’s very different in what it will enable you to do, and enables you to appropriately introduce or conduct your day just as you would wish. It’s a really low-cost, WiFi, Internet-connected information device that will accompany you in the bedroom (or any other room) and wake you up. The starting point was the humble clock radio concept of audio information presentation, but it was extended into multimedia and is designed to connect up to the information resources you require, such as pictures that your friends send you from their cellphones, messages from your IM buddies, your blogs and social network sites. In fact, you can set up your chumby to show you almost any information you want, and anything your friends want to send you. It will wake you up with anything you wish - AM or FM radio, MP3 files or podcasts from the Internet, from your computer, or even from your iPod. It can display your daily horoscope and the weather, and a whole community of artists and animators can send their creations around the chumby network to entertain you. Chumby is the product of a group of hackers who wanted to create something interesting, useful and different. It doesn’t look like a clock radio - it’s soft, and squishy and you communicate with it by tapping or squeezing it and in the true spirit of open collaboration, its open and hackable and they encourage everyone to “pull out its electronic guts and reprogram it.” There are alternative skins for your chumby so you can do whatever you want to personalize it. Several hundred chumbys are currently being beta tested with a view to a commercial product some time in in the 2007-2008 time frame with a target retail price of US$150. If you are a serious alpha-geek hacker, they can be convinced to give you a prototype.  Read More

Melitta Smart Mill & Brew – the Intelligent Coffee Pot

November 17, 2006 Now here’s a must have for any self-respecting, caffeine-powered technophile – a coffee maker with real-time weather forecast information and the ability to brew a cup of coffee from either whole beans or ground coffee. The US$200 Melitta Smart Mill & Brew with MSN Direct incorporates Microsoft's Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) and automatically detects current weather conditions, the day's forecast, probability for precipitation, and sunrise and sunset times, without the need for outdoor sensors, through MSN Direct.  Read More

The Rotating Home – high efficiency, high tech and dial-a-view

October 24, 2006 Which way do you orient your home when you have spectacular views on all sides? Luke Everingham had that problem but having worked as a high-end audio/video engineer and construction contractor, he looked for and found the solution to the problem in a different way. Taking an idea from a throwaway comment from his wife, he conceived, designed and built a rotating house that offers not only dial-a-view, but can take full advantage of its rotational powers to optimise the use of sunlight to create better thermal efficiency. The Everingham Rotating House is situated four hours north of Sydney, NSW, and any room in the house can choose its view from pristine rapids and deep water river views on one side to soaring mountains on the other. The rotating home is one of the most remarkable and unique homes in the world but it wasn’t always that way. Luke and wife Debbie lived initially just a few metres away in a 90-year-old farmhouse and had theorised for some time on how to take most advantage of the landscape when they built their dream home. One night at a dinner party Debbie made a comment about how it would be nice to be able to turn an existing design by 15 degrees and Luke came up with the idea of a rotating home. Ingeniously solving engineering problems for a living in the construction industry had prepped him well. The drawings took six months and were the start of thousands of hours of research over six years to the completion of the house. “There’s a fair bit (of work) in it to make it work,” says Luke. Everingham is now seeking to commercialise the expertise he gained in constructing ERH Mk I and living in it for several years, and looks forward to creating new and innovative solutions for using natural light and the environment to assist the house… and check out this stunning pictorial.  Read More

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