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Volvo introduces voluntary Alcolocks from 2008

September 5, 2007 One in three traffic fatalities in Europe is alcohol related and around 3,000 people in the UK are killed or seriously injured each year in drink drive collisions. In an effort to help drivers make responsible choices, Volvo is the first manufacturer to launch a fully integrated, voluntary in-car breathalyzer/alcolock system called Alcoguard as an option to its 2008 range, which prevents the car from starting if the driver is over the blood alcohol limit.  Read More

The mophie  Bevy – the first Illuminator-built product

May 8, 2007 Mophie today announced the US$15 Bevy, the first product to be released from the highly successful Illuminator project. The mophie Bevy is a multifunctional case for Apple's iPod Shuffle that features a bottle opener and key chain and was designed by a 17-year-old from California. The Illuminator project at MacWorld Expo transformed mophie’s booth into a live community collaboration and creation lab where, over a four-day period, 30,000+ MacWorld attendees were invited to doodle a product concept that enhanced any of the newest Apple products. Concepts were voted on by MacWorld attendees at the show and on mophie.com. Finally, mophie designers and engineers took the winning concepts and developed prototypes in the booth.  Read More

Discovery opens door for drugs for alcohol addiction

December 14, 2006 The connection between nicotine and alcohol has been known for some time, though the fact that alcoholism is ten times stronger among smokers than among non-smokers is not as widely known ... and it’s not just because many people smoke at parties. When sober alcoholics are tempted to fall off the wagon, the same receptor in their brain is stimulated as is activated by nicotine. This has been demonstrated in a doctoral dissertation at the Sahgrenska Academy at Göteborg University in Sweden. The discovery may lead to new treatment for alcohol abuse.  Read More

Wunderbar draught beer dispenser for the home

December 7, 2006 With beer being the most popular alcoholic drink on earth, it’s quite surprising that it has taken 10,000 years for someone to invent an appliance that will dispense draught beer and keep it fresh indefinitely. The first to do that was Philips with its PerfectDraft, but the company’s development was done in conjunction with Brewing giant Interbrew, so only Interbrew beers were available in the kegs it used. Now a new beer dispenser that is free of exclusive beer company affiliations is ready for market and uses 4, 5 or 6 liter kegs for around 300 beer brands and can also serve chilled wines and soft drinks. Ladies and gentlemen, the Wunderbar!  Read More

The combination wine cabinet and refrigerator

October 20, 2006 Liebherr is well known for its high quality wine cabinets and also makes a range of superb refrigerators so it was only a matter of time before someone got the bright idea for combining them. If you’re a regular wine drinker, it’s heaven sent as the wine cabinet holds 32 bottles and has two zones for storing and/or serving wine at the exact temperature desired, ranging from +41°F (+5°C) to +64°F (+18°C). In all, the SBS 24I5 unit has five different climate zones and ensures everything is kept as it should be. As such, we figure it qualifies as a new and innovative appliance that allows you to store all food and drink under perfect conditions.  Read More

The Asahi Refrigerator Robot holds and pours six cans

September 12, 2006 It might seem a trivial and highly specialised application for a robot, but the task of getting another beer that seems to be one that is ideally suited to a robotic servant and that’s exactly what the Asahi Refrigerator Robot does. The little fellow holds and chills six 350 ml cans and at the touch of a button will dispense a can, rip the top off and pour a perfect beer every time. Japan’s Asahi Breweries held a special promotion earlier this year and gave away 5,000 robots via a lottery for participants who had collected 36 seals from special Asahi beer cans. There’s no sign of the robot hitting the market just yet, but there is a video which shows the little tyke doing its stuff. We suspect a 12 can version will be required for foreign markets. Via Gizmodo  Read More

The wine-tasting robot

September 8, 2006 The evolution of information technology that imitates the five human senses of sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste is important in the advancement of a ubiquitous society. Undoubtedly one of the leaders in this area is NEC System Technologies which continues to push robotic development as can be seen from these stories (here, here and here) on its technologies, all of which seem to be able to be shoehorned into the tiny PaPeRo form factor. More recently, the research has moved from areas such as personality, social skills, companionship and English-Japanese language translation to technologies that support the prevention of lifestyle-related diseases through dietary therapy. Last year we saw Papero transformed into a “health food adviser robot” which analysed food using infrared spectrum analysis and did so WITHOUT opening the packet. Not only did it report on the fat and sugar content, the robot actually identifies several types of cheese (Edam, Gouda, Camembert, etc.), meat products (ham, bacon), and bread (pain de mie, baguette, croissant,). This year they set out to build a robot that could differentiate between different types of wine, a far more exacting task using the same technology. The new wine-tasting robot can now discriminate between wine types but the sensor is much larger, needs to touch the surface of the wine and must be cleaned for each tasting.  Read More

The WinePod micro winery kitchen appliance

September 5, 2006 Man has been making wine for more than 10,000 years but never has it been this easy. The WinePod is a new domestic device for artisan winemaking – a US$2000 micro winery just being readied for launch and seeking international distributors and we see this as a winner because it is just sooooo sophisticated. The insulated, self-cleaning, fully computerised, three foot tall, metallic urn-shaped appliance includes everything required to make 75 litres of the wine of your choice and is above all, easy to use. It wirelessly connects to your PC/Mac, which monitors Brix, pH and temperature to keep things happening exactly as they should and the WineCoach software mentors you through the wine-making process to obtain the best results for the particular variety of grapes you choose. Wine Coach enables you to collaborate with professional winemakers who are dedicated to the different wine types so you can learn the fine art of winemaking from your own personal consulting enologist. The software also enables you to compare notes and interact with fellow wine enthusiasts using the system and it can all be self-contained in an apartment or in a cupboard with the obvious rewards that the final product will bring. The waiting list already runs to April 2007 but a few orders might prompt an increase in production and we’re very bullish about the prospects for this baby.  Read More

The Alcowatch wristwatch alcohol tester

August 9, 2006 Alcohol and road-use don’t mix, and tens of thousands of human beings a year are maimed or killed due to alcohol-impaired drivers. So if you’re regularly going to drink and drive, which many of us do, then the very least you can do as a responsible human being is to ensure your blood alcohol content is below the legal limit. We’ve already written up the fascinating stand-alone Sobercheck breathalyser and we recently wrote about the LG Breathalyzer mobile phone. Well now there’s a wristwatch with a built-in breathalyser set to hit the market later this month. So die-hard booze hounds now can have their very own breathalyser on the end of their arm to ensure the only person they kill is themselves.  Read More

SOBERCHECK: an affordable personal breathalyser

May 23, 2006 Everyone has a different relationship with alcohol and that was never more obvious than during a year of trials with the Draeger SoberCheck - a compact, affordable handheld digital alcohol detector. By the time one reaches adulthood, almost everybody has had a number of experiences with alcohol and its ability to distort reality to a greater or lesser extent. The results of the trial changed everyone involved. The SoberCheck provided dozens of our associates with a reality check on just what their blood alcohol levels were in comparison to what they thought they were - almost invariably, everyone erred several points lower than they really were and we found that this errant judgement would often have been the difference between driving legally and illegally. Remarkably, the SoberCheck emerged as remarkable educational tool, not just in what you need to do to keep your obligation to society and ensure you are driving under the alcohol limit, but about alcohol and its effects in general. Education is about life preparedness – it is formally teaching us the things we need to know to contribute effectively and manage our lives effectively. The SoberCheck could be the enabling tool in the educational process.  Read More

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