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Around The Home

LLC’s Cool-or-Heat Pad – an electric blanket that’s useful all year round

August 3, 2007 Electric blankets are a boon for those who want to avoid the winter cold but they quickly become redundant during the warmer months of the year. LLC has pounced on this gaping hole in functionality by producing an electric blanket that can switch between both ends of the temperature scale, helping slash air conditioning bills in the summer as well as heating bills in the winter. The quiet, slim Cool-or-Hear Pad can oscillate between a 70 and 96 degrees Fahrenheit (21 - 35.5 degrees Celsius) and is available now for US$200.  Read More

Vornado room air circulator

August 3, 2007 From palm leaf waving ancient Egyptians to the punkah fans of the Middle East and the first appearance of the electric desk fan in the late nineteenth century, the quest to keep cool has undergone steady improvements over time. The Vornado room air circulator is continuing this tradition with a design tailored to operate more effectively than a normal fan by circulating air around the whole room for constant air movement, rather than just blowing air in one direction. Though not an entirely new concept, the latest design achieves a tight vortex airflow that is drawn back around the perimeter of the room and recirculated to provide constant airflow and a more even temperature throughout the entire area. The AirTensity Grill acts as a flow-straightener and further assists in focusing the outward stream of air into a tight vortex airflow. This high velocity Vortex Beam of Air actually projects across the room pulling even more air into its beam. As the beam of air reaches the other side of the room, it is drawn back around the perimeter of the room and ultimately back to the circulator to be recharged again through this continuous cycle.  Read More

Dubai's ultra-exclusive Pentominium is set to be the world's tallest residential building,...

July 31, 2007 The enormous and still skyrocketing wealth centralized in Dubai has seen some absolutely outrageous construction projects taking off. From the world’s tallest building and a ski slope in the desert to custom-built islands and rotating skyscrapers, the international commerce hub seems to have ingenious developers fighting each other over who can make the biggest show of material excess. The latest jewel in Dubai’s extravagant crown will be a 516-metre tall apartment building, more than twice as high as the previous biggest residential building and with no expense spared on pure luxury. Even its name, the Pentominium, drips with treacle-thick exclusivity. Some floors will be uniquely suspended in mid-air, giving the impression that you’re living in a floating penthouse in the sky, with residents having access to a fleet of luxury automobiles and yachts for transport and entertainment. The ancient Egyptians defined their era with the impossible pyramids of Giza – could the fantastical architecture of Dubai be the defining monument of our era?  Read More

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

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