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Around The Home

Caroma's H2Zero Waterless Cube Urinal

May 17, 2007 It's not our favourite subject, but it has the potential of saving the average office building around 2.3 million litres of water each year. Caroma's H2Zero Cube Urinal is completely waterless, featuring an air-tight seal and deodorising cartridge to keep bathrooms smelling fresh without squandering water.  Read More

May 12, 2007 A US$18.6 million “self-healing” house will be able to resist earthquakes by sealing cracks in its walls and monitoring seismic vibrations. The walls of the house contain nano polymer particles designed to convert into liquid when under pressure, flow into cracks, and solidify. This would theoretically stabilize the structure after severe seismic trauma. Funded by the European Union, and using technology from Leed University’s NanoManufacturing Institute, the house is to be constructed in Greece by 2010.  Read More

The Clarity wireless TV amplification device

May 12, 2007 If you’ve spent a lot of time at rock concerts, or been part of the motor racing fraternity, or clocked up half a century of living, chances are you’re a bit hard of hearing. It’s a modern phenomena that the baby boomers know only too well now they’re heading into senior citizenship. It afflicts you in so many ways – in conversation when ambient noise is greater than usual, and most annoyingly, when watching television. Of course you could turn the volume up extremely high, but family and friends may find sharing an evening in front of the television with you to be unbearable. The Clarity wireless TV amplification device has been created to solve this problem. The US$190 Clarity Professional C120 uses infrared technology to wirelessly transmit sound from a television, stereo or MP3 player to a lightweight amplified headset, enabling users to hear clearly and comfortably without disturbing others in the room.  Read More

Pimp my Grill - the BeefEater gold-plated barbeque

May 11, 2007 We’re not quite sure what it is about barbeques, but we’ve seen our share of innovative outdoor cooking appliances in recent times. First there was the 345 horsepower, 5.7-liter HEMI V8 barbeque, then the Powerblock V8 BBQ that brands the food it cooks with the logo of your choice and then GarageWorks’ concept tailgating appliance that cooks, cools, warms and stores. Now we’ve seen it all – in a promotional initiative designed to draw attention to its range of barbeques, BBQ manufacturer BeefEater has created the ultimate in backyard bling – the world’s first fully operational gold-plated barbecue. All parts of the US$12,500 grill except for the cooking surfaces have been individually plated in 24 carat gold. BeefEater tricked out one of its range-topping Signature Series 6 Burner SL4000 to create a uniquely lavish gold plated barbecue, “for those who want to make a statement with their barbecue and have the money to burn.”  Read More

Samsung's Vibration Reduction Technology (VRT) washing machine

May 9, 2007 If your washing machines often makes more noise than mating walruses, you’ll be pleased to hear that at long last there’s a solution for the vibration and noise caused by unbalanced loads during the spin cycle. Samsung’s new Vibration Reduction Technology (VRT) washing machine is claimed to be the quietest ever during the spin cycle. The new VRT Washing Machine can be seen for the first time at the 2007 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show (K/BIS) this week in Las Vegas.  Read More

SeaChange's Axiom Core 4.0 is the latest version of the most widely deployed VOD managemen...

May 8, 2007 Turning the television model on its head, Video On Demand (VOD) is developing into a serious competitor for broadcast and cable TV programming. Leaving aside the vast television content piracy "industry," established TV companies are looking at how to capitalise on developing technology that allows users to pick and choose what they watch and exactly when. As storage and streaming solutions improve, the ability to get home and turn on the 6 o'clock news at 6:45 gets closer to a reality. As a major player in pushing technology forward in the VOD industry, SeaChange is unveiling two new products at The Cable Show over the next couple of days. Axiom Core 4.0 is the latest version of the company's proven VOD network, content and subscriber management software. MediaServer Flash Streamer is the first VOD content serving medium to eliminate volatile media such as spinning discs.  Read More

IKEA's ingenious affordable housing system

April 16, 2007 Built in a quality-controlled factory, delivered and assembled in a day. The BoKlok (pronounced Boo Clook) housing concept, a partnership between property company Live Smart @ Home and Swedish furniture giant IKEA is only months away from bringing the average UK family a stylish, efficient and affordable housing option.  Read More

Miniskaff - an affordable, safe home scaffolding system

April 5, 2007 Australian company AdForm is to unveil an interesting portable scaffolding for domestic usage this weekend at Sydney’s Royal Easter Show. The key feature of the standard 1.8 metre AUD$595 (US$485) Miniskaff is that it can be assembled inside eight minutes, deconstructed to fit into a standard car luggage space and offers a safe, stable elevated platform capable of carrying a workload of 225 kilograms. So that could be two people making themselves a comfy platform at an outdoor spectator event, a safe place from where one can safely trim the hedge, or paint the house or … lotzastuff. The modular 1.6 gauge Galvabond steel frame components are interchangeable and extra parts are available to extend the height. The platforms are Grip Mesh galvanized steel and if correctly cared for, should last for generations. Miniskaff is seeking international licensors for the system.  Read More

NuVo OLED Audio Controller

April 4, 2007 NuVo, best known for whole-house audio systems, has released details of its new in-wall, multi-room home audio controller. The Control Pad uses OSRAM Opto Semiconductors' 2.7-inch Pictiva OLED display for durability, high-contrast and readability from any angle and in bright daylight conditions.  Read More

The frightfully proper alarm clock

April 4, 2007 For those who resent being awoken by the shrill ring of an alarm or the inane chatter of breakfast radio jocks, there is now a classier option. Voco has developed an alarm clock that sounds off with the dulcet tone of English comedian Stephen Fry, known for his work in TV shows Blackadder and the Young Ones. Fry, who once made the claim that his “vocal cords are made of tweed,” recorded 50 tender, deferential, deeply respectful wake-up messages to coax "sir" from his depths and into the world. The clock, which stands at 110mm, is available to purchase on the Voco website. The popularity of the UKP26 (US$51) product has ensured that an equivalent version will soon be created – "for madam". You can hear MP3 samples of Fry’s wake-up messages here.  Read More

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