Category Archives: LIVING

Giant ball that collects dust and dirts around your house

Dave Hakken Dust Ball with its charging station 544px
(image credit: Dave Hakkens)
by now we are familiar with robot vacuum running the cleaning routine in our homes. how do you like it to roll around your house instead? that’s what designer Dave HakkensDust Ball does. it rolls around collecting dust and dirts, and avoiding obstacles at the same time. when it is filled up, it just automatically heads back its starting point and glows. wonderful.

at the core of this weird looking ball of dust is a two-axis motor that moves the ball around. within this core, there is a dust containment container (much like the vacuum bags), a battery pack and other electronics circuitry that makes up the whole thing. check out the cool video which looks pretty convincing.

Dave Hakken got his inspiration for the Dust Ball from a hamsterball and the Dust Ball was designed to be strong, flexible and most importantly, would be able to get over any cables that gets in its way. apparently, Dave has Dust Ball for public places in mind. oh, and its completely kick-friendly.

it certainly looks cool, you know the design and concept, but i am not all that sure if its practical. rolling around with no bristles to scrub off more stubborn dirt? i don’t know. but it sure do looks like a nice lamp to me. i love the glowing part. really.

Dave Hakken Dust Ball on its charging station 544px
(image credit: Dave Hakkens)

Dave Hakken Dust Ball in airport 544px
(image credit: Dave Hakkens)

Dust Ball from hak op de tak on Vimeo.

via Yanko Design

Alex is a stackable and modular dishwasher safe water bottle

Nice Reuseables Alex Water Bottle img1 544px
Alex Water Bottle | from US$25.95 | www.alexbottle.com

seriously, i didn’t think i would be writing about bottles. but it’s hard to give Alex Water Bottle a miss. Alex isn’t your ordinary bottle-next-door. its body can be separated (in the middle) to allow thorough cleaning of the bottle’s interior, ensuring every bit of grimes and bacterias be rid off. yea. that’s right. those who actually clean their bottles would understand how important this feature is.

another highlight of Alex is how its able to customize to your different need. need a bigger bottle? just swap out the bottom for a longer one and you have a bigger bottle. purchase a few Alex in different colors (currently, three colors are available) and you can even mix match Alex’s bodily parts to customize to your mood. white cap, stainless upper body and black lower body with pink band? done. grey cap, white upper body and black lower half with yellow band? done!

a little more about Alex. Alex is generally made of BPA free premium 304 stainless steel and coated with eco-friendly power paint (except for the Naked series – which is naked, of course. now guys, don’t get all too excited…). Alex comes equipped with Clean Seam Technology (CST) for sealing the water in. both caps and CST are of BPA free polypropylene and the strap are made from 100% recycled plastic water bottles.

you know what? life just gets a little brighter with Alex and starting from $25.95 a pop, it doesn’t sound a bit ridiculous to have a piece of Alex. i am totally sold by the idea of breaking Alex up to clean its interior. at this point if you are still confused… Alex is a water bottle not a person. i just thought you should know.

footnote: ALEX is an acronym for “Always Live Extraordinarily”

Nice Reuseables Alex Water Bottle - opens up to wash 544px
Nice Reuseables Alex Water Bottle - compactable for storage 544px
Nice Reuseables Alex Water Bottle - mix & match 544px

via Yanko Design

Marc DeVidts D.I.Y. working Star Trek style door opens with a ‘swoosh’

Marc DeVidts Star Trek style doors for home 544px
(screenshot from YouTube video)

how many people can claim to have a Star Trek-style door in their home? while automatic glass sliding doors are common in malls, you don’t get to see a manually activated sliding in common household very often, not to mention one that’s air-actuated and comes complete with the ‘swoosh’ sound.

well, this was what electrical engineer, Marc DeVidts, did. he built an air-powered sliding door in his own home which opens with a press of a button and automatically closes after about 5 seconds (yes, we timed it!). we reckoned that would be ample time for a couple of people to enter. i guess if you have more people, then you’d be ready to go in batches or make a run for it. a sensor will be a nice touch to determine if there are people still getting in and out.

there’s a key (just under the open button) to hold the door close or open, an air vent to vent the air out after the door closes and a concealed control panel to disable the door and shut off the air supply. we were not that excited about the sliding door initially, until we heard the ‘swoosh’ sound when it opens. simply awesome. may we suggest some upgrades, such as silver colored door without any pattern or relief, and a matching door frame? perhaps, a trapezoid shape door?

via CRAVE

shutterbugs will love to drink from their Nikon or Canon lens

Photojojo The Camera Lens Mug on the dish drainer 544px
(image credit: Photojojo) The Camera Lens Mug | from US$24.00 | photojojo.com

mum: “John! stop washing your Canon lens and leaving it on the dish drainer!” oh wait, that’s not a real camera lens but just a beverage mug masquerade as a camera lens. confused? ok, its a Camera Lens Mug. available in the form of two “brands”, “Nikon” and “Canon”, both feature heat preserving stainless steel lining, lens-cap lid, rubber-grip focus and zoom rings, and a switchable auto-focus switch. the “Nikon” item will even “zooms” when you twist it’s grip.

i am certain shutterbugs would drink to that. how more perfect can it get? the love of photography can now extend to your mug and you will not miss a single moment not seeing your favorite lens. well, its more than just a mug, by dunking some dirt in it and chucking in a flower or two, you can turn it into a flower-pot. though, its one thing or the other – mug or flower pot. its your choice. both “Canon” and “Nikon” lens mug measures 3.3 inches in diameter and holds approximately 11 oz (about 325 ml) of liquid.

just don’t get confused by its realistic look or else you might end up trying to attach a mug to your camera or worst, rinsing your real lens under the running water. the “Canon” and “Nikon” camera lens mugs are available at Photojojo Store for $24.00 and $30.00 respectively.

Photojojo The Camera Lens Mug img1 544px
(image credit: Photojojo)

Photojojo The Camera Lens Mug as a flower pot 544px
(image credit: Photojojo)

Photojojo The Camera Lens Mug with beverage 544px
(image credit: Photojojo)

Photojojo The Camera Lens Mug up-close 544px
(image credit: Photojojo)

harness the power of the wind with Wing Cube for your home

Wind Cube img1 544px
(image credit: Liao-Hsun Chen / Wen-Chih Chang)

just imagine being able to harness the power of the wind – courtesy of Mother Nature – and converts them into useable electricity in your own home. you don’t need a 300 feet juggernaut wind turbine to do that, all you need is Wind Cube – a concept free power generator for your very own home. Wind Cube is an award winning design by designers Liao-Hsun Chen and Wen-Chih Chang which sought to make wind generated power available to common households.

according to the designers, each Wind Cube – which looks suspiciously like a ceiling fan – can generate about 21.6 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month. an array of the Wind Cubes could be deployed to generate more electricity. the designers projected a family of four uses 324 kilowatt-hours of electricity per month, thus, theoretically speaking, if you rigged up 15 of those Wind Cubes, you could be getting enough electricity for that family of four for the whole month. i guess it also depends very much on the weather too and it will be damned if you are staying in a largely windless area.

to use the Wind Cubes, all you have to do is to install it on an external wall that’s likely to have wind (obviously…), connect it to whatever battery that can store power and hit the switch to activate it. after which, all that’s left to do is to wait patiently for the power to accumulate. in case you happen to reside in an area with ultra strong wind or occasional bad weather that may threaten the well-being of the Wind Cubes, the blades can be retracted back safely into its receptacle (which also happens to be its mounting base).

we really hope to see the Wind Cube becomes a reality soon. we are so in need of free power and love the prospect of making our electricity provider go mad.

Wind Cube img2 544px
(image credit: Liao-Hsun Chen / Wen-Chih Chang)

Wind Cube in array 544px
(image credit: Liao-Hsun Chen / Wen-Chih Chang)

Wind Cube installation and modes 544px
(image credit: Liao-Hsun Chen / Wen-Chih Chang)

via Yanko Design

want some Kinetic Art of your own? Space Warp 10000 does that

Bandai Space Warp 10000 544px
(image credit: Japan Gadgets Shop) Space Warp 10000 | US$155.00 | www.japangadgetshop.com

if you are impressed with the kinetic art by Chris Burden’s Metropolis II and inspired to do the same but don’t know where to begin with, then check out the Space Warp 10000 from the Japanese toy maker, Bandai. well, maybe Space Warp don’t have 1200 die-cast cars and is puny compared to Chris’s art piece but it’s a start, right? based on the original toy in the 80s, the Space Warp 10000 uses kinetic energy to get the marbles going down a roller coaster ride. yes, it’s marbles not cars. Continue reading want some Kinetic Art of your own? Space Warp 10000 does that

advanced bouncing chair that moves like the way you do

4moms mamaRoo advance bouncing chair 544px
(image credit: 4moms) mamaRoo Bouncing Chair | US$185 | www.4moms.com

while grown-ups are busy ogling over their shiny gadgets aka grown-up toys, babies do deserved to have a piece of the gadget action. well, they may be too young to tell you that, but as a grown-up, you can get them started. take for instant, this (space-pod looking) advanced bouncing chair called mamaRoo from 4moms. Continue reading advanced bouncing chair that moves like the way you do

city of tracks for 1200 Hot Wheels: Chris Burden’s Metropolis

Chris Burden Metropolis II - Kinectic Art overview

(screenshots by mike from Chris Burden Metropolis 2 video)

Hot Wheels toy has come a long way. i used to collect them, specifically the Volkswagen Mini Buses and Drag Buses, and some Red Line series items. naturally, i sprung up straight on my chair and get all excited when i came across this fully-automated tracks that has 1,200 of this tiny die-casts whizzing around in roller coaster ride – over and over again. Continue reading city of tracks for 1200 Hot Wheels: Chris Burden’s Metropolis

Black & Decker PlantSmart Digital Plant Care Sensor

Black & Decker PlantSmart Digital Plant Care Sensor 544px
Black & Decker PlantSmart Digital Plant Care Sensor | US$60.00 | www.blackanddecker.com
(photo credit: Black&Decker)

home gardening gets a boost from technology with this nifty little gadget from Black & Decker. dubbed the PlantSmart, it looks like a cross between a flower (as in a fake flower) and a clinical thermometer. this gadget will tell you what you can grow in your garden, and it will also tell you what’s wrong with your existing plants or how to further improve the conditions, if any.

the sensor has three modes of operations: Recommend Mode, Monitor Mode and Water Mode. in Recommend Mode, the sensor picks up key environmental information and recommends the prefect plant for the environment. the Monitor Mode analyzed current growing conditions and gives advice on how to improve the conditions so that your plants will flourish. in the last mode, the Water Mode, the sensor measures the soil moisture instantly so that you know know exactly went to water the plants.

Black&Decker PlantSmart Digital Plant Care Sensor 544px
(photo credit: Black&Decker)

the process is simple. just place PlantSmart sensor at any soil area that you want the data to be collected. once placed, the sensor of the PlantSmart will collect data on soil conditions, sunlight, temperature et cetera. after 24 hours, the PlantSmart will be ready for analysis. remove the PlantSmart sensor, and plug it into a web-enabled PC or Mac (with the include USB cable) and you will be taken to a webpage with recommendations. from there, avid gardeners can select the idea plant or plants from PlantSmart database of over 6000 species.

the PlantSmart uses advanced technology as used by NASA on Mars Phoenix Mission and it will work with both Windows and Mac OS X. however, the PlantSmart only works in the USA.

Top 10 most desirable kitchen gadgets & accessories

Top Ten Kitchen Gadgets banner by Mike 544px
(graphic credit: mikeshouts.com)

gadgets are not restricted to just IT related domain. it is in fact, everywhere in our life, including the kitchen. kitchen is a place where we often take for granted and it is the place in the house that we think of only when we are hungry or thirsty. unless you are the chef of your household, else you wouldn’t even give a second thought to it. not wanting to leave those wonderful creations out in the cold, we have compiled a Top Ten most desirable (and our favorite) kitchen gadgets & accessories list – to remind us the wonders of kitchen. am i getting nonsensical? well, let’s get the list going…

1. Sunbeam Designer Series™ Glass Kettle
SunBeam Designer Series Glass Kettle 544px

Sunbeam Designer Series™ Glass Kettle | AU$139.95 | www.sunbeam.com.au
(photo credit: Sunbeam)

you didn’t think a transparent kettle would look this good. didn’t you? this 1.3 liter glass kettle from Sunbeam is, well, made of glass so that you can see what’s going on within while it is boiling. not that there’s anything to see.

the vessel is not just any glass but its a SCHOTT DURAN Germany glass vessel. with a history of 125 years, you can’t go wrong with SCHOTT’s glass products. the Sunbeam Designer Series Glass Kettle features sensor-touch button operation with illumination, removable lid with mesh filter, 360 degree cordless power base and a 2400 watt concealed element.

2. KitchenAid Artisan Food Processor
KitchenAid Artisan Food Processor 544px

(photo credit: KitchenAid) KitchenAid Artisan Food Processor | £315.00 | www.kitchenaid.co.uk

constructed of die-cast metal construction (for the base), this food processor from KitchenAid‘s Artisan series provide serious food processing power with the eye-pleasing look. the KitchenAid Artisan Food Processor features integrated touch control, dual feed tubes with extra-wide and narrow food pushers, and ultra wide mouth feed tube which accommodates larger food easily, therefore less of the slicing and dicing.

the Artisan Food Processor also comes with a slew of accessories, ensuring you will have the necessary tools to whip up a fancy (and complete) meal. it comes in a choice of 7 different hues: empire red, brushed nickel, almond cream, onyx black, white, pearl metallic and cocoa silver. i’d say go with the brushed nickel finish for a more space-age look and feel. though i am not sure if the ‘space age’ beings still cooks.

3. Taylor’s Eye Witness Wall Mounted Wooden Magnetic Knife Rack
Taylors Eye Witness Wooden Magnetic Knife Rack 544px
Taylors Eye Witness Magnetic Knife Rack | £20.00 | taylors-eye-witness.co.uk
(photo credit: Taylors Eye Witness)

common method of stowing away knives is by the way of knife block but the problem is, you don’t know what’s lurking within the slits that hold the knives. the solution? stuck it up on a magnetic board. the Taylor’s Eye Witness Wall Mounted Wooden Magnetic Knife Rack (wow… that’s quite a mouthful, isn’t it?) holds up your knives by the means of magnetic attraction.

the wood, with a choice of Bamboo or Beech, measures 45 cm long is embedded with magnets and it comes with template and screws for you to mount to the wall. this minimalist block will holds six to ten knives which also allow easier reach and no doubt, more hygienic. as an added bonus, you get to show off your expensive collection of Hattori kitchen knives in its full glory.

4. DUALIT Piccolina Coffee Capsule Machine
Dualit Piccolina Coffee Capsule Machine 544px

(photo credit: Dualit) Dualit Piccolina Coffee Capsule Machine | £149 | www.dualit.com

a kitchen isn’t complete without either a coffee machine or a tea set. with so many coffee machine in the market, consumers are spoilt for choice. here’s one to add to the list and it looks pretty damn nice too. the Dualit Piccolina Coffee Capsule Machine offers a unique twin pressure system for making expressos or at low pressure, a longer drink.

if you’re a milk kind of guy, this machine also works with Latteccino Milk Frother to create frothed or heated milk. however, you will need to purchase the Latteccino (Latte + Cappuccino?) Milk Frother separately.

good look aside, some other features include integral drawer for used capsules, auto shut-off, quick heat-up with coffee dispensed in under two minutes, preset functions, removable 1.2 liter water tank, adjustable spout height and temperature and auto de-scale program.

The Dualit Piccolina is a John Lewis exclusive and it retails for £149.

5. SunBeam Pure Elements Toaster
SunBeam Pure Elements Toaster 544px

(photo credit: SunBeam) SunBeam Pure Elements Toaster | AU$139 | www.sunbeam.com.au

among the other must have for a kitchen is the toaster. like the oven, it is there even if you hardly use it. why? a toaster is to a kitchen as a coffee to a cafe. you’re looking at the SunBeam Pure Elements Toaster and no, the image above is not an external hard drive, though it looks like one that iOmega would produce.

this two slice in-line electronic toaster has a nifty feature: a toasting progress indicator (much like a MacBook battery status indicator but in white LED), and it beeps when your toast is crisp and ready. everything is electronically controlled in this toaster, well, including the touch-sensitive lever.

other features include self-centering extra wide and deep slots, electronic browning control (yippee! no analog knobs!), defrost setting, specialized crumpet setting, removable crumb tray and a cord storage to tuck away your cord when not in use. i love the attention to detail.

best part we like about the Pure Elements Toaster? the white LED progress bar. that part really oozes with futuristic-statement.

6. Alessi Tea Matter, Melodic Tea-strainer by Alan Chan
Alessi Tea Matter melodic tea-strainer 544px

(photo credit: Alessi) Alessi Melodic Tea-strainer by Alan Chan | from £21 | www.alessi.com

if you’re not a coffee drinker, chances are you’re a tea person. just drinking tea alone could be rather mundane sometimes. so how about adding some melodies into your tea session? not literally though.

Tea Matter, melodic tea-strainer is designed by graphic designer Alan Chan and is constructed of 18/10 stainless steel and PMMA. it certainly look more like a showpiece rather than something we would use it every other day.

i presume that the decorative birdcage that holds the strainer was derived out of the relation between tea-drinking and bird appreciation in the early years of Hong Kong. regardless, it looks awesome and like i mentioned earlier – like a showpiece.

7. DUALIT Kitchen Scales
Dualit Weighing Scales 544px

(photo credit: Dualit) Dualit Kitchen Scales | £tbc | www.dualit.com

not everything must move along with technology, take for example, the kitchen weighting scales. what it really does is to measure the the weight of the ingredients during food preparation, giving you the precise quantity required. or maybe an occasional weighing of some outgoing mails…

so we shall stick to traditional analog scales with Kg and Lbs, and since it will be idle most of time, it gathered that it should look nice too. this retro-looking item from Dualit features a oversized stainless steel bowl, a calibration wheel and a large easy-on-the-eyes dial. it has a maximum capacity of 5kg/11lbs which is enough for most home cooking use – unless you’re cooking for an army.

constructed of stainless steel outer casing (including the bowl) which is an excellent idea as stainless steel is less prone to bacteria cultivation and top of that, it looks good too. the fascia of the scale is shatterproof too. i have no idea why a weighing scale needs a shatterproof fascia but i guess it is a good to have thing.

8. JCK Original KAGAYAKI CarboNext (ES) Series Kitchen Knives
KAGAYAKI CarboNext (ES) Series Kitchen Knives 544px
JCK Original KAGAYAKI CarboNext (ES) Series | US$88.00 | www.japanesechefsknife.com
(photo credit: Japanese Chefs Knife)

kitchen knives has come a long way, from contemporary day stainless steel blade, it has moved to carbon stainless steel, ceramic blade and now we have the full carbon steel blades. chef and cooking enthusiasts will be thrilled because carbon steel has several advantage over standard stainless steel blades.

carbon steel has better sharpness, longer edge retention and easier resharpening. however carbon steel tends to be susceptible to rust and discoloration and often requires extra care and maintenance. the KAGAYAKI CarboNext, as the name suggests, uses the next generation of Carbon Tool Steel for its blade. this steel, also known as “Honko”, unlike the standard carbon steel, has a much better rust resistance property but still carries the advantage of a standard carbon blade.

we have listed this as one of the top ten kitchen gadgets/accessories because kitchen knives are essential part of a working kitchen. most magazine wouldn’t have bothered to feature knives, however we noted that the material developments for kitchen knives do deserve our attention.

9. GROHE Veris Faucet for Kitchen
GROHE veris faucet for Kitchen 544px

(photo credit: GROHE) GROHE Veris Faucet for Kitchen | US$tbc | www.grohe.com

why am i listing this? maybe because i am a fan of (beautifully designed) faucet. faucet is something that virtually requires no technology intervention to work at this point. it is more of a design stand point then a gadget or technology innovation.

i like the minimalist design of the Veris range. although i would prefer a more vintage look but i though the Top Ten list should embody something more to the future. so here it is – the GROHE Veris Faucet for kitchen. don’t read. just look at the picture, that’s all what i want to express.

10. La Cucina Alessi Kitchen by Alessandro Mendini and Garbriele Centazzo
La Cucina Alessi Kitchen 544px
 
a beautiful piece of kitchen furniture to wrap up the Top Ten list: the La Cucina Alessi Kitchen expelled the tradition that kitchen furniture need be at the walls. this curvey kitchen island has the basics you will need to cook up a storm. the low shelving provides easy access to your necessities such as spices and the round corner is not only aesthetically pleasing but also prevents accident.

what can i say? its simply beautiful. kind of space-age looking too. i like.

well, there you have it. out Top Ten most desirable kitchen gadgets & accessories. we certainly hope you have enjoyed reading this article (that we have spent hours prepping). do drop your comments. yah?