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Around The Home

The Fraunhofer Multimedia Dome

September 6, 2006 Making its first public appearance at the IFA international consumer electronics fair in Berlin, the Multimedia Dome is the first digital dome theatre to feature natural spatial sound: it envelops visitors in fascinating universe of video pictures and sound. The Multimedia Dome was developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Architecture and Software Technology FIRST and the Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technology IDMT, the inventors of the MP3 format which has taken over the world in the last decade.  Read More

Panasonic’s 160GB audio player dock

September 4, 2006 Japanese giant Panasonic (AKA Matsushita) has come up with yet another variation on the theme of seamlessly connecting the home stereo system with the portable audio player, specifically, it’s own D-snap. The SX850D-dock minicomponent audio system combines an SD card slot, 160GB hard drive, and a CD drive, so it’s possible to copy audio CDs to SDHC cards, record them direct to the hard drive, or connect it to your home network and load files from your PC. As it contains an on-board Gracenote database with auto recognition and track, artist and album info, users will never have to enter album information manually. Available later this week in Japan, the 160 GB SX850D-dock will cost JPY80,000 (US$690), while a lesser 80GB SX450 model will sell for JPY39,000 (US$340).  Read More

The iRocker - iPod Gaming Music Chair

August 31, 2006 The iRocker is an interactive gaming chair with docking station that allows the user to lounge comfortably while enjoying surround-sound music . It comes complete with remote control, a multi-position reclining back, Heavy Magnet speakers, Base Tube (on many models), audio inputs, additional line input (to use with brands of MP3 players other than iPod) and master volume dial with LED indicator light (for non-docking models). It can also be used with any electronic device that has an audio output, making it ideal for video game sound set-up.  Read More

The Fish-N-Flush Toilet

August 29, 2006 The Fish ‘n Flush two-piece aquarium toilet tank was designed as a source of entertainment and conversation and from the moment it debuted earlier this year at the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Chicago, it’s been getting serious main media attention. Firstly, let’s be clear that the fish in the aquarium are in no danger of being flushed. Fish-n-Flush is a two-piece aquarium toilet tank with an aquarium that wraps itself around a clear inner tank. The special tank within a tank retails for US$400, and comes with everything but water and fish. Manufacturer AquaOne worked with a marine biologist to develop the technology and produce a certified working aquarium.  Read More

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

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