• Wearable tech tops trends for 2014

    Posted on February 8, 2014 by Ben

    Google Glass is nearly here for the regular consumer while Samsung’s Galaxy Gear SM-V700, a watch that connects to your phone so you can use it to answer calls, texts and email, has been out for a while. But now it seems like everyone is launching their own wearable tech, with the most interesting are these focusing on health and fitness.

    Wearable wristbands that monitor your daily activity have been around for a while, with many sitting somewhere between a fitness band and more sophisticated smart-watches.


    Jawbone for example dominates the market with a stylish wristband that monitors physical activity, calorie intake and sleep patterns to help you stay to your fitness goals.

    Basis Carbon Steel Edition

    Another leading maker of fitness bands is Basis, its new Carbon Steel Edition can monitor sweat output, heat dissipation, blood flow and heart rate as well being able to detect if you’re running or walking. It also offers advanced sleep analysis to help you get a better, healthier night time routine.

    Sony recently announced its entry into the market, the SmartBand SWR10, which tracks movement and activity and it records on a lifelog app on your smartphone. The interesting angle that Sony have taken is that it also records your digital life, so the photos you take, the music you listen to, the places you go and your online social activity is all recorded as well. While it may be a bit too Orwellian for some people it will give you a good measure of how your daily routines break down. Maybe even inspiring you to change your ways.

    Google Smart Contact Lens

    Google recently revealed they are working on a contact lens that will allow its wearer to monitor their glucose levels. The lens, which has a small chip inserted into it, will help diabetics to easily track their condition without needing to resort to needles. Google are working on including tiny LEDs so that updates can be displayed directly to the user.

    As this kind of tech gets more sophisticated it will be able to monitor and predict your behaviour while being able to make suggestions about sleep, fitness and eating in a way that you can maintain your health. It’s only a short leap then for this kind of tech to start talking to each other or even to your home gadgets. That way they can work alongside your fridge for instance, to monitor your food intake, or your lighting and electric blinds to send you to bed or gently wake you up.

    This post was posted in Technology and was tagged with monitor, smart, Google, tech, fitness, activity

  • What’s big in interior design for 2014

    Posted on February 3, 2014 by Ben

    At this time of year style magazines and industry commentators try to predict and dictate the essential design motifs that will be on trend for the year ahead. Pantone have already thrown its hat into the ring when it declared Radiant Orchid as its shade for 2014. But what other colours, patterns and textures are also set to be on everyone’s lips this year?



    One of the few colours that many designers are agreeing will dominate in 2014 is blue. It’s an ideal accent colour for most rooms whether it’s a kitchen in shades of light blue or a bathroom with a navy blue feature wall. More muted shades of Teal and Turquoise will also lend a stylish feel to a living room or bedroom.

    Corduroy Upholstery

    It sounds like a strange one but corduroy covered furniture is set to be big this year. It’s a fabric that you’ll either love or hate, with its connotations of bad 70s flares and geography teachers, but thick, bold textures are making a comeback and a set of electric roman blinds in a complementary material would tie your living room together nicely.


    Silver and gold

    There’s a definite move towards opulence and fussy detail this year, not least in the trend for pairing silver and gold together. In most spaces this can easily be pulled out with silver ornaments and gilt-edged mirrors. But patterns like flock print or stripes on your soft furnishings and blinds will help complete the look.

    Blinging kitchens

    The fashion for bling has also found its way to the kitchen with a move to the opposite end of the spectrum from the modern, clean minimalist kitchen of previous years. This look consists of dark shades, mixed with classical motifs such as ornate cornices and bejewelled details such as crystal cupboard handles. It can come across very Victorian in style and can be topped off with a big crystal chandelier for good measure.

    Neo-classical decoration

    If any of the above doesn’t make you feel opulent enough then another recurring motif for 2014 is neo-classical sculpture, or to put it another way - big faux Grecian and Roman busts. Alongside all the other bling that’s in this year your home could end up looking very Versace and distinctly decadent.


    Honey-toned woods

    A far simpler trend for the New Year is for honey-toned woods. So instead of the vintage, rough or untreated wood of previous years beautifully amber-toned wood with a smooth lacquered veneer is now in. It brings an easy warmth to any communal space such as your dining room and ticks both the natural and the stylish boxes.

    This post was posted in Interior Design and was tagged with blue, interior design, kitchen, room, silver, trend

  • The latest building to make waves in India

    Posted on January 24, 2014 by Ben


    A new development currently being planned for Bandra, Mumbai in India is making a big impression round the globe thanks to its ground breaking design.  The Ohm Residential Tower has been designed by James Law Cybertecture and is based on the shapes that ripples make when splashed by a drop of water.


    Rising to 30 storeys high the development promises to provide luxury living for those that can afford it. The circular, almost donut-shaped, building houses an orb-like club house in the centre, while each apartment boasts a glass-sided infinity pool on its balcony.

    See more work from James Law Cybertecture  www.jameslawcybertecture.com

    This post was posted in Architects and was tagged with architecture, development, building

  • Iron Man's gestured control on the horizon

    Posted on January 14, 2014 by Ben


    The kind of gesture-controlled, floating computer interfaces that Tony Stark uses  in the Marvel Comics inspired Iron Man movies have long been a goal for many tech developers.

    Displair is one company that has managed to create a viable ‘floating interface’ that it aims to put into production. The system works by producing a curtain of fine vapour on to which a computer interface is projected. Custom-built gesture recognition is then used to detect the movement of your hands as it touches and passes through the mist, allowing you to interact with the items in the display. So it can be used to manipulate objects that are rendered in 3D on the screen or to produce visual effects that ripple and burst as you put your hand into the mist.

    At the moment the price makes it prohibitive for home use but Displair is aiming at getting it into wider commercial use during 2014. But it does begin to show the way in which gesture-recognition and screen technology are combining to remove any need for physical computer interfaces.

    Find out more: http://displair.com/

    This post was posted in Technology and was tagged with computer, gesture, interfaces, Displair

  • Fancy something a bit different for Christmas?

    Posted on December 20, 2013 by Ben

    Got some last minute Christmas shopping to do and you’re desperate for ideas? Here’s a few clever options that will give you something to talk about around the Christmas tree:

    The water-proof pool table

    Waterproof Pool Table

    If you’ve ever been lounging in your pool and thought how great it would be to play a game of pool then this waterproof pool table is aimed squarely at you. It’s fully weatherproof, so you can leave it out all year round and, at $6,500, you probably don’t have to worry about spilling your drink on the baize either.


    Fire Escape Shelves

    Fire Escape Wall Shelf

    These cool Fire Escape shelves from Urban Outfitter’s US webstore bring an iconic feature of countless American apartment blocks and cop shows to your home. Though they might not be the most practical of shelves they are great to look at and are a unique reminder of your time stateside.


    Astronaut duvet set

    Astronaut Duvet

    If space is a problem in your home then you’ll the right equipment for exploring it. This brilliant duvet and pillow set from Dutch designers Snurk comes in both single and double sizes so big and little kids can both indulge their dreams of being an astronaut.


    Classic videogame table

    Arcane Arcade Table

    The Arcane Arcade Table takes it’s inspiration from old videogame tables that were briefly popular back in the Eighties, so you’ve always got somewhere to rest your drink while you’re playing. The Arcane table updates it with a simple, stylish cabinet and over 100 classic 8-bit videogames, including Bubble Bobble and Dungeon Crawl.


    This post was posted in General Posts and was tagged with Christmas, pool, arcane, gifts

  • The chair that defies gravity

    Posted on December 18, 2013 by Ben

    The Gravity Balans Chair

    When it comes down to it we all want great pieces of furniture to do two things: look fantastic and be luxuriously comfortable. Designer of innovative furniture, Varier, has created a wide range of chairs that tick both of these boxes combining elegantly sculptural forms with the more practical considerations for comfort and posture.

    The Gravity Balans Chair is a great example of this, it’s large gravity-defying form providing a beautifully balanced cradle for resting and napping. The recliner allows you to put it into four positions, so you can take pressure off your spine, while it improves blood flow by having your heart lower than your head and feet.

    The incredible design is sure to be a talking point as well as providing a welcoming rest at the end of a hectic day.

    Find out more here: http://www.varierfurniture.co.uk/Products/Relax/Gravity-balans-R

    This post was posted in Home & Garden and was tagged with chair, furniture, Gravity balans, Varier

  • Setting the tone for 2014

    Posted on December 17, 2013 by Ben


    For the past few years the internationally recognised arbiter of all things colour oriented, Pantone, has announced a colour that it believes will dominate art and design in the year ahead.

    Pantone use a number of sources to gauge what will be among the dominant colours of the year ahead, from the catwalk to the red carpet. Scrutinizing trends as they develop across art and entertainment to produce a complementary colour palette that will influence the creative industries in 2014.

    The colour for 2013 was Emerald 17-5641, a strong turquoise colour that it described as ‘a symbol of growth, renewal and prosperity’. However, next year Pantone has revealed that the colour will be Radiant Orchid 18-3224, which it described as: ‘An enchanting harmony of fuchsia, purple and pink undertones, that inspires confidence and emanates great joy, love and health.’

    Pantone Colour of the Year 2014

    If you like the look of Radiant Orchid then Pantone recommends pairing it with olive, turquoise, teal and light yellows. Or you could use it as an accent colour beside more neutral tones like grey, beige and taupe.

    Find out more here:  http://www.pantone.co.uk/pages/index.aspx?pg=21129

    This post was posted in Colour & Design and was tagged with colour, Pantone, radiant orchid

  • The easy way to an automated home

    Posted on December 6, 2013 by Ben


    Tech accessory manufacturer Belkin’s WeMo range is designed to be a quick and simple route to home automation. It basically consists of a series of plug adaptors that can be switched on and off via an app on your tablet or smartphone and your home wifi.

    You can also schedule when appliances come on, while a motion detector can also be added to trigger the lights in a room when someone enters. Because you only need a WeMo adaptor, the system is scalable to whatever range of lights and appliances you need. Making it a cheaper way to get your home automated.

    The latest version of WeMo also allows you to monitor energy consumption through the adaptors so you can keep you bills down even when you’re away from home. While the WeMo Baby is a smart addition to the range using the same technology to turn your mobile device into a baby monitor.

    Find out more: http://www.belkin.com/uk/Products/home-automation/c/wemo-home-automation/

    This post was posted in Home Automation and was tagged with Home Automation, Belkin, WeMo

  • Spotify goes off with a Bang

    Posted on November 28, 2013 by Ben

    Beoplay A9 AirPlay Music System

    Bang & Olufsen, maker of high-end entertainment systems, has recently set its sights on producing great sounding, interesting looking speakers for a younger, hipper market. The BeoPlay brand focuses more on cool headphones and music on the go than turning your living room into a cathedral of sound but is ahead of the game when it comes to connectivity.

    Beoplay A9

    The new A9 speaker looks a bit like a satellite dish thanks to Bang and Olufsen’s trademark minimalist styling. It’s almost a work of art, which is just as well since you can have it freestanding or hanging on the wall. Plus it comes with a couple of neat tricks. The first is called Magic Touch, which allows you to raise and lower the volume simply by sweeping your hand across the top edge of the speaker. The second, hidden within, is the ability to connect to your Premium Spotify account and stream your music direct from the cloud while you control it via the ubiquitous app. It promises to be so easy to use you could almost forget the £1,699 price tag.

    Find out more: http://beoplay.com/Products/BeoplayA9

    This post was posted in Audio Visual and was tagged with spotify, beoplay, Bang & Olufsen, speaker

  • 3D printing from your desktop

    Posted on November 22, 2013 by Ben

    Windows 3d Builder

    The fashion for 3D printing has been growing significantly in the past couple of years with the technology behind it becoming compact enough to fit into the average home. The idea of downloading and printing out objects from the internet is now a reality and set to become common place in the next few years.

    At the moment you’ll find 3D printers in some specialist businesses while a handful of entrepreneurial ‘copy stores’ are opening on high streets across the globe. But now Microsoft has released a 3D printing app for Windows 8.1 meaning you can design and print your own objects at home.

    The free 3D Builder app comes with a library of pre-defined objects and shapes, which can be easily combined and changed to produce new objects. The best thing is you don’t need a degree in CAD to use it although access to a 3D printer would be helpful.

    Find out more: 3D Builder app for Windows

    This post was posted in Technology and was tagged with app, microsoft, 3d, printing

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