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The couch for immersive digital living

September 18, 2005 Like just about everything else on the planet, as the world undergoes its greatest period of change in human history, it makes sense that our furniture should also evolve. With music becoming a vital aspect of movies and games, there is an ever increasing call for total immersion and few environments can offer this - but the Pyramat can. The Pyramat is a cushioned mat with a headrest, built-in speakers, subwoofer and reverberation technology. Moreso, Pyramat is a unique entertainment accessory - a portable foam mat that is comfortable and capable of transmitting the sound from your movie, PC or game console throughout your body.  Read More

Ten million U.S. households will have a networked storage device by 2010

September 16, 2005 The number of U.S. households with a networked storage device will grow from 300,000 at the end of 2004 to nearly 10 million by 2010, according to Storage and Management for the Connected Home, a new report from Parks Associates. A networked storage device connects to a router and allows shared access among multiple PCs and other networked devices, as defined in the report. The addressable market for these devices includes households with home networks and those with multiple PCs. By 2010, 17% of U.S. households with multiple PCs and one-fourth of those with a home network will have a networked storage device.  Read More

Multi-Zone Digital Music System

September 14, 2005 Digital music fans can now listen to rock in the garden, punk in the playroom and fusion in the bedroom, with the launch of the Sonos Digital Music System. The Sonos offering is the first and only multi-zone digital music system with a wireless, full-color LCD screen controller that lets consumers play all their digital music, all over their home, while controlling it all from the palm of their hand. One of the hits of the Consumer Electonics Show earlier this year, the system is now available in all major markets.  Read More

Field Tested: Logitech and Microsoft Media Centric Keyboards

September 13, 2005 As society enters the next phase of embracing the computer - welcoming it into our loungerooms - every computer manufacturer and peripheral maker is dreaming up new ways of how they're going to break into the entertainment and consumer electronics business. Logitech and Microsoft are no exception, they have just released media center devices to help you transform your PC into the media hub of the future. Interestingly, though Microsoft is far better known for its Windows operating system, it has more than 200 people working in hardware development at redmond - which makes it the world's most focussed developer of keyboards and mice. Last year it conducted research across the world looking at how the world is using computers and the media centric keyboard is the result of that research. Dave Weinstein looked at both keyboards and concludes that Microsoft's research is beginning to show ...  Read More

Reversica introduces innovative 'Rotaxial' Motion; Hides a Thin Screen TV on One Side and ...

September 13, 2005 In April we first wrote about Reversica’s Gyre 6300 flat screen concealment hardware system and the news is that the system has now been released - the design uses an unusual ‘rotaxial’ motion to flip a 50 inch flat screen TV 180 degrees and reveal a bookcase on the other side – all in a slim 18” case. Designed to enable consumers to create flexible living spaces the system was introduced at the CEDIA EXPO 2005.  Read More

Weather-Predicting Clothes Pegs

September 8, 2005 Now whilst we’re generally very bullish about the use of technology to improve life in general, we’re split on whether this next invention is a good idea. Oliver MacCarthy, a Product Design student from Brunel University in the UK, has designed an intelligent clothes peg, which predicts the weather and locks itself shut if it forecasts rain, preventing you from hanging clothes out if they are likely to get wet. Two symbols on the holder – ‘clear sky’ and ‘rain’ – indicate the outlook and are positioned so they can be distinguished from inside. Only one stalwart in the Gizmag team thinks this is a good idea, three think it’s massive technological over-investment that can be saved by checking the weather forecast and one is rolling on the floor laughing, talking about all the poor people who might buy one having to mortgage their kids at a later date when their clothes pegs go on the blink. If you think it has merit, read on for details  Read More

 The Smart Companion: an intuitive human-like user-interface solution for easy access to ...

September 7, 2005 Philips Home Dialogue Systems has announced that it will start licensing its Smart Companion technology to partners in consumer electronics and the PC or network equipment industry. Using Philips’ technology and support, these manufacturers can create their own Smart Companion consumer product and shorten time-to-market. The Smart Companion is a completely new type of consumer product that will act as a companion in the home. This robot device will communicate with users in a natural human-like way, serving as an easy and intuitive intermediary to the technology surrounding us. It will assist people in their daily routine tasks such as sending messages, accessing up-to-date information, selecting their favorite music or movies, or even controlling their home appliances.  Read More

Egg and Muffin Toaster: just like ... errrr

September 6, 2005 One wonders just how much influence the MacDonalds franchise chain has had on the human grazing habits of the planet during the last few decades. We’d hazard a guess at A LOT. Anyone who has ever spent time with children will realize how effective MacDonalds has been at accessing the collective pin-number of the next generation and it’s been an institution long enough to have fond memories for the last generation and even the one before that. Which is why, we hypothesise, gadgets such as the new Egg & Muffin Toaster exist. Comfort food is relative, and for a large proportion of the community that was raised on modern fast foods, this little baby delivers comfort food in under four minutes at home. On a purely functional level, it can simultaneously toast two slices of bread, (or English muffin, bagel, croissant, etc), cook an egg (poached or steam-scrambled), and warm a pre-cooked slice of ham or sausage ... or any combination of these three functions. Clever and functional with a hook to one of the world's best marketers ... ten out of ten.  Read More

Tassimo's new micro coffee brewing architecture

September 5, 2005 There is ALWAYS a better way, no matter what the endeavour and it seems the capsule-based single cup brewer market comprised of Nespresso, Senseo, Illy's E.S.E Espresso pods, the Keurig system at al, is in for a further shake-up. The pod system offers convenience, cleanliness and in a world starved of the one commodity you can never get enough of (time), a semi-automated micro system providing top quality makes infinite sense, particularly when it comes to delivering one of the world's most loved commodities. Coffee is the world’s second largest traded commodity, second only to petroleum – 1.5 billion cups of coffee are consumed every day in the world, more than half the U.S. adult population drinks coffee daily and they average 3.5 cups a day. Coffee makers constitute the largest segment in the small kitchen appliance category with over 19 million coffee makers sold every year in the U.S. But now, there’s a new system that uses a microprocessor that makes intelligent decisions for you and refines the science of coffee making enough to give it a competitive edge – using barcode scanning. The Tassimo system has two key components: the Tassimo brewing machine and proprietary Tassimo discs (T-DISCS). Through Tassimo's smart technology, developed and designed by Kraft Foods, the machine's microprocessor reads the bar code printed on the T-DISC label after it is inserted into the machine and automatically calculates the correct water quantity, brewing time and temperature to prepare the perfect beverage.  Read More

The world’s first software company and the world’s first player violin

August 25, 2005 Prior to the advent of electronic mass media, the height of home entertainment technology was the player piano – a piano which played music encoded in binary format on perforated paper rolls. The company which became the dominant provider of both player pianos and the rolls they played is still in business today, and rightfully claims to be the world’s oldest software company. Interestingly, QRS (formerly Quality Roll Services) is now selling one of the most remarkable musical instruments in the world - the world’s first player violin, the QRS Virtuoso Violin. The QRS Virtuoso Violin is a real acoustic instrument. It produces sound by moving a bow across a string, just as a traditional violin does. Only in this case, bow and string are controlled by a computer chip rather than a human hand. Unlike the traditional violin, which has four strings, the Virtuoso Violin uses a single three-Inch steel "string-blade" to create sound. The bow, driven by motors and microchips in a box on which the violin is mounted, glides back and forth over this vibrating blade. The resulting sound rivals that of the traditional violin.  Read More

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