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Homestar Aqua: Sega Toys rolls out planetarium for your bathroom

Sega Toys’ series of planetarium projection systems for home use, the so-called Homestars, is getting another update. The company has announced the so-called Homestar Aqua for the Japanese market (everyone living outside this country can pre-order the Aqua here). This version is smaller and can, as the name suggests, be used in the bathroom (it’s water-resistant). And it’s relatively inexpensive, too.
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Magimix Vision Toaster

The result of 15 years of research and design, Magimix’s new Vision Toaster uses revolutionary long-lasting quartz heating elements to perfectly toast bread and let you get a peek at the action through a window.

Tucked away in the corners of the French appliance brand’s toaster, the hidden quartz parts replace the traditional metal components not only getting them out of the way for a clear panorama of the toast, but also heating more evenly.
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Bike Helmets That Don’t Make You Look Like a Dork

Bike helmets from Yakkay disguised as stylish hats.They come in all different colors and styles and are interchangeable, so you can always swap ‘em out instead of purchasing a whole new helmet!

Cardboard Hotel Room from Kueng Caputo

From January 21 to February 6, 2010, Kueng Caputo, a Swiss-born designer/artist duo, creates a cardboard hotel room within a gallery space which promises five-star comfort and luxury in spite of low-cost disposable materials. The accommodation will be offered free of charge during the gallery’s regular hours (Tues. – Sat. 11am-6pm).
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Solaterns: Solar Powered Reading Lamps In Kenya

Solanterns are an attempt to replace potentially dangerous kerosene lamps with more environmentally friendly solar powered lamps in Kenya. A Solantern is available locally for 2000 Ksh ($25). While the lantern requires a considerable initial investment, the long term savings are great, as families usually spend around $90 per year on kerosene.

Smart Paint: Paint away the carbon dioxide

GROWING grass on your roof and other attempts to make homes carbon neutral are mere “green bling”. So says Rachel Armstrong of University College London (UCL), who suggests that her smart paint can turn buildings into carbon sinks.

Armstrong created the paint by dissolving salts and esters in oil droplets. Repeated coatings react with carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to produce calcium carbonate – which is the main constituent of limestone – and alcohol. The resulting “biolime” will provide extra strength and insulation, she says. How much CO2 could be removed from the atmosphere in this way has not yet been tested.
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Off the Grid;Sustainable Habitat 2020

Philips Design Probes is a dedicated ‘far-future’ research initiative to track trends and developments that may ultimately evolve into mainstream issues that have a significant impact on business.
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Daizi Zheng’s Sugar-Powered Mobile Phone

Treehugger reports on an intriguing cell phone concept design that’s powered by sugar. Daizi Zheng’s mobile phone runs on a battery that can generate power using soda, or any other kind of sugary liquid. It’s unique idea, and a potential solution to the environmental problems that come with disposing traditional batteries.
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Craft Council Launches major Research project

Craft Council
Making value: the economic and social contribution of craft makers
The Crafts Council has just launched a major research project into the economic and social value of craft, focusing on portfolio working craft makers who engage with other industry sectors and community and education contexts.

They are looking for makers who apply their craft skills/knowledge/creativity in other industry sectors (eg fashion, television, carnival, leisure, tourism etc) and/or in community settings (eg youth, older people, criminal justice etc) who would be interested in taking part in this interview based research.
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Roll Your Own Open Source Joint

Duann Scott at Ponoko notes that a CNC router isn’t just a way of doing the same old thing faster, but opens up entirely new ways of putting things together and possible an entirely new aesthetic. Scott points us to Flexible Stream, where you can download fifty different digital wood designs that anyone with a CNC machine can use. For free. Scott is impressed. More Info and images after the jump via:[]

Whitworth Art Gallery to Host First Major UK Exhibition of Artists’ Wallpapers from Feb 6th

Allen Jones, “Right Hand Lady”, 1972. Courtesy: The Whitworth Art Gallery, The University of Manchester
The first major UK exhibition of artists’ wallpapers with work by over 30 artists including Andy Warhol, Sarah Lucas and Damien Hirst. Kitch ideas of home decoration are turned upside down as artists subvert the stereotypes of wallpaper to hit home messages about warfare, racism, cultural conflicts and gender.
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Ron Arad: Restless at Barbican Art Gallery from 18th February 2010

Bold, experimental and inventive, Ron Arad defies categorisation. This internationally acclaimed London-based maverick is variously described as a designer, architect and artist. Ron Arad: Restless is the first major exhibition of Arad’s work in the UK. It opens at Barbican Art Gallery on 18 February 2010
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Kyle Bean for Hermès

hermes kyle bean
UK based designer and animator Kyle Bean created this piece consisting of newspaper covered instruments for Hermes . The installation was used for their Christmas window displays. Via:[Slamxhype]

Beautiful Earth Group Solar Powered Vehicle Power Stations

Beautiful Earth Group, a New York-based sustainable energy company, has finally made solar powered electric vehicle stations bi-costal. Red Hook, Brooklyn, is home to the first of these powering stations, just a stone’s throw from Beautiful Earth’s offices in downtown Manhattan. The stations is completely modular and off-grid, and is comprised of shipping containers that have been recycled specifically for this purpose.
The station, located in an industrial lot, is powered solely by 235-watt photovoltaic panels. With the amount of commercial electric and plug-in hybrids that will be hitting the market next year, this station is one of only several that will be demanded in New York City. And the station, while it’s primary use is for vehicles, can power a small home and has a battery bank that can store electricity for 24/7 on-demand usage.

World’s Largest Solar Energy Building Opened in China

Located in China’s northeastern province of Shandong, the world’s largest solar energy building opened in November, 2009. Built in preparation of the Fourth World Solar City Congress, the sun-dial inspired building covers 75,000 square meters and features exhibition halls, scientific research facilities, training facilities and a hotel. The energy savings on the building is 30% higher than the national energy saving standard due to advanced roof and wall insulation.