Yves Bhar unveils new Smart Locks that make keyless entry a breeze

September 19, 2017 by  
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One of the worst feelings is wondering whether or not you left the front door unlocked. With Yves Behar ‘s new Smart Locks, you’ll never have to worry about that again. Behar just debuted three new products for August Home Inc. – including a Doorbell Cam and two Smart Locks equipped with the first integrated sensor that tells homeowners if their doors are opened or closed. August Home Inc. was co-founded by Yves Béhar and Jason Johnson. The company develops smart home products that use encrypted locking technology . This enables consumers to create virtual keys for their home and grant access to guests, house cleaners, dog walkers, delivery services, and friends and family members from their smartphones and computers. The latest August products are the August Smart Lock Pro, which is the most advanced smart lock on the market with support for HomeKit, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and Z-Wave Plus ($279); the August Smart Lock, which is newly-designed and is for consumers “exploring the benefits of smart home access” ($149); and the Doorbell Cam Pro, which lets homeowners use a smartphone to see and speak with visitors at the front door. An important feature included in the Smart Locks is DoorSense, which the company says is “the first intelligent, integrated sensor that tells users if a door is open or closed.” When a homeowner is wondering if they locked the door, they can check their smartphone and be informed at the touch of a button. “Smart locks are playing an important role in the growth of the smart home,” said Jason Johnson, CEO of August Home. “With the Smart Lock Pro, we’ve created a lock that gives people total control over their front door in ways that aren’t possible with a traditional lock. Now people can make sure their door is closed and locked from anywhere. We’re also expanding our offering to include a more affordable lock so everyone can make their door safer and smarter.” Related: Yves Béhar’s shapeshifting Ori furniture transforms your home at the touch of a button Johnson continued, “The front door is the gateway to the home and our mission is to transform every home, by helping people manage access for themselves, guests, home services, and for secure package delivery.” + August Home Inc. Images via August Home Inc.

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Yves Bhar unveils new Smart Locks that make keyless entry a breeze

Solar-powered robotic umbrella tracks the sun to provide shade

August 23, 2017 by  
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What if you could sit outside in the shade all day without ever having to move your umbrella ? That’s the vision ShadeCraft brings to life with Sunflower – what they say is the world’s first autonomous robotic shade that tracks the sun . The umbrella is solar-powered – and can even charge other devices. Photovoltaic panels keep the Sunflower umbrella moving to shade users. But the umbrella also serves as a portable source of solar power, storing excess energy in batteries able to last for over 72 hours. A USB connection allows users to charge mobile devices while sitting in the shade. The 122 by 84 by 84 inch umbrella can rotate 360 degrees with the help of three electric motors, and can tilt 45 degrees. Related: Finally, an umbrella you’ll never lose Wait, there’s more. The Sunflower is equipped with sensors that track air quality , weather, and wind. If wind speeds get too high, the Sunflower will actually close to escape damage. It also comes with cameras that can be utilized as part of a home security system – they’re able to record a 360 panoramic view for either safety or simply capture a picturesque moment. ShadeCraft’s SmartShade app allows users to access the data, even from a distance. Using the app, they can check out air quality or view the area remotely. The umbrella is also Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled, so users can connect to their other smart home technology or control the Sunflower from afar. And a microphone and speaker system allow for voice command and artificial intelligence integration – or lets users jam to their favorite music while sitting outside under the shade. So how much does the Sunflower cost? Around $2,700, according to Bloomberg , which quoted inventor Armen Gharabegian as saying the company could start shipping the product as soon as early 2018. + ShadeCraft Via Curbed Images via ShadeCraft

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Solar-powered robotic umbrella tracks the sun to provide shade

The world’s most compact electric bike folds to fit into your backpack

May 25, 2017 by  
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Forget traditional bikes or skateboards – the future of green transportation is the Smacircle S1 , an incredibly compact and lightweight electric bike that can be folded up and carried in your backpack. Introduced to the world via an IndieGoGo campaign , the invention has surpassed its startup goal by 281% – and it’s not difficult to comprehend why. The carbon fiber S1 eBike can be folded in five simple steps and can travel up to 12.4 mph. Additionally, though it only weighs 15.4 lbs, the eBike can hold 220 lbs. According to the founders of the Smacircle S1, the road-legal ergonomic design folds to 19-inches and, with a 240W motor, can propel commuters in quick fashion without the need to pedal. On a single charge, the eBike can deliver a distance of 12 miles. After being plugged into any domestic power socket for 2.5 hours, it is ready to go again. The invention is road-legal and provides both front and side lights to make it highly visible to vehicles, pedestrians and other cyclists on the road. Electric brakes allow the bike to quickly stop to prevent accidents. The S1 automatically syncs to your smartphone when you approach, and an app unlocks the eBike. This feature prevents the invention from being stolen, as the accelerator deactivates until the original owner unlocks the S1. Other features of the app include the ability to adjust the lights’ intensity, track routes traveled and monitor speed and battery life. Once they’re rolling, commuters can attach their phones to the handlebars to keep the device fully charged, thanks to a built-in USB charger. Related: Make Your Own Electric Bicycle With the Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide The initial crowdfunding goal was set at $30,000 – but the project surpassed its goal by 281% in just five days. According to the founders, the next crowdfunding campaign will attempt to reach $300,000 to “put the next generation eBike into mass production.” The starting price for an S1 eBike is $1,499. + Smacircle S1 Images via Smacircle S1 IndieGoGo campaign

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The world’s most compact electric bike folds to fit into your backpack

Worlds largest floating solar farm is now generating energy in China

May 25, 2017 by  
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A 40-megawatt solar farm in the South Anhui province of China is finally online and generating renewable energy . Larger than floating farms in Australia and India, the mass of solar panels is the largest in the world can produce enough clean energy to power homes in the area. Though the city of Huainan is known for its coal-rich land, the Chinese government decided to invest in a floating solar farm because the rainy weather has resulted in flooding. In certain areas, water is four to ten meters deep. The cooler air at the surface helps to minimize the risk of the solar panels overheating. As a result, a decrease in performance is prevented. As Daily Commercial News  reports , the panels are linked up to a central inverter and combiner box. Both are supplied by Sungrow and are customized to work with floating power plants. This ensures they are resistant to high levels of humidity and spray from the water. Related: How a small tribe in Nevada shut down coal and built a solar farm A spokesperson for the government said, “The plant in Huainan not only makes full use of this area, reducing the demand for land, but also improves generation due to the cooling effects of the surface.” China may be one of the most polluted countries on the planet, but the government is investing in green energy initiatives to offset that reputation. Now that Huainan is home to the world’s largest floating solar farm , it is likely to become a leader in renewable energy production. + Sungrow Via  Daily Commercial News Images via Sungrow , Pixabay

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Worlds largest floating solar farm is now generating energy in China

SolarAid launches "the world’s most affordable solar light" for just $5

November 2, 2016 by  
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UK charity SolarAid and solar panel manufacturer Yingli Solar just launched “the world’s most affordable solar light.” Sold by SolarAid’s social enterprise SunnyMoney in Africa , the SM100 solar light costs only $5. People in the UK can buy one of the lights for 10 pounds, and the money will help distribute two more solar lights in African countries. The SM100 is designed for off-grid use by African families and children working on homework at night. The light is “two times brighter than kerosene” according to SolarAid, and the light’s battery provides five hours of illumination. The SM100 is equipped with an adjustable stand that can be removed or be used to hang up the light. In the UK, the SolarAid is marketing the lamps for campers or festival goers, suggesting users add a strap and wear it as a headlamp. Related: SunFire fights energy poverty in Africa with parabolic solar kits SolarAid CEO Nick Sireau said in a Yingli Solar statement, “When I first started at SolarAid 10 years ago the lights we sold in Africa were $25 each. Over the last 10 years prices have come down and now SolarAid is proud to be launching what we believe is the world’s most affordable solar light on the market…We sincerely hope this step change in pricing will help us to eradicate the kerosene lamp for good.” SolarAid’s goal is to get rid of the need for expensive, polluting kerosene. During the past ten years, SunnyMoney has sold 10 million solar lights in Africa, and gathered feedback on the features people need in a small solar light. In August 2016, SunnyMoney distributed 9,000 of the little lights in Malawi, Zambia, and Uganda to gain insights from users for future solar light designs. The SolarAid SM100 is available for purchase here . + SolarAid + Yingli Solar + SunnyMoney Via Treehugger Images via SolarAid

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SolarAid launches "the world’s most affordable solar light" for just $5

Egloo launches brilliant electricity-free heater that warms your home for just pennies a day

September 5, 2016 by  
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With just four candles, Egloo can heat a room up to 90 square feet in size, which means you can warm up those spaces that just refuse to get toasty. Once you light the candles , Egloo is ready to go in 5 minutes and, after 30 minutes, the space around the heater will climb 10 degrees. It’s the perfect thing for chilly rooms or your patio during the cooler weather. Related: VIDEO: How to make an electricity-free radiant space heater that heats your home for pennies a day The Egloo’s terracotta warms up and retains heat thanks to a few candles placed under the dome. According to the manufacturer, Egloo is composed of four elements: “the base, the grill and the two domes. The base offers a space for the positioning of the candles that, once you light them up, will warm the domes up. There is a metal grill placed on the base, serving as a support for the domes. It makes a space to let the air in, necessary for the combustion of the candles.” The 3D-printed heater comes in a variety of colors and finishes – like matte black, lacquered purple or simple terracotta – and the base model starts at about 50 dollars. + Egloo

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Egloo launches brilliant electricity-free heater that warms your home for just pennies a day

Product Review: Inhabitat tests out the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat

August 31, 2016 by  
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Honeywell’s Lyric Wifi Thermostat is a smartphone-connected device that allows you to regulate the temperature of your home while you’re there or on-the-go. Because you can control it via the Lyric app , it gives you the flexibility to start cooling your place down as you leave the office on a hot day, or to shut the system down from 30,000 feet in the air if you forget to switch it off before leaving to catch your plane. Like other programmable thermostats, it can be set up on a schedule so that it maintains a comfortable temperature during the times you’re usually at home while switching the system off during times you’re not. There’s also a handy geofencing feature that allows you to map off a radius around your home so that the system can detect that you’re nearby using your phone’s GPS system and start heating or cooling your home to your preferred temperature. A thermostat that knows when you’re almost home? That’s pretty cool! RELATED: VIDEO: How to save money and energy with a programmable thermostat Design-wise, the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat is one of the most visually pleasing models on the market, although you have to admit that its round form factor does look pretty similar to the Nest’s (a competitor that rings in at about $50 more at $249). On the other hand, it should be noted that Honeywell came up with the first round thermostat way back in 1953, so maybe they’re just getting back to their roots. With a pristine white face wrapped in a sliver of silver, the unit is almost like an artpiece or accessory for your wall. The minimal touchscreen buttons light up in a cool blue, giving it an even more soothing appearance. In the box: The unit itself, a battery, two screws and anchors for mounting, instructions and an optional wall plate. Setting the device up was a breeze, although I should note that since I live in an apartment with no existing in-unit thermostat system, I was unable to actually install the thermostat as you would if you were actually going to use it to control your heater and air conditioner. Instead, I simulated the installation process using a wall adapter, so this part of my review is based solely on the ease of setup, rather than how the device actually regulated the temperature in my home. The first steps are downloading the Lyric app and connecting to your WiFi, and after that, your phone guides you through the entire setup and installation process. Although I wasn’t fiddling with any wiring or anything like that, I was still able to appreciate the step-by-step instructions that popped up right on my phone to guide me through the installation process if I was. It even asks you questions along the way so that you can tailor the experience to your particular system, taking the hassle out of fumbling with an instruction manual and leafing through the parts that may or may not apply to you. The whole thing took me about 5 minutes to complete (though you would probably need to spend at least 20 if you were actually following the steps). One thing I did find was that the touchscreen buttons were not quite as responsive as I wanted them to be and I had to press down harder than I’m used to doing on my smartphone. Luckily, there’s not much need to use the buttons on the unit itself after setup since you can just use your phone to make any changes, or simply rotate the face of the unit clockwise or counterclockwise to turn your temps up or down. The Lyric app itself is intuitive, easy-to-use and starts up in a matter of moments. The Lyric WiFi Thermostat is also fully compatible with Apple HomeKit, Samsung SmartThings, Amazon Echo and other home ecosystems. In terms of energy and cost savings, Honeywell’s energy savings calculator estimates that I stand to save about $142 per year on my energy bill (based on my zip code) using the Lyric WiFi Thermostat. That means that in addition to keeping my home comfortable and reducing my power usage, I could also make back the $199 spent on the Lyric Thermostat in a little over a year. To learn more about how the Lyric Wifi Thermostat can help you slash your energy bills, check out the video above or visit Honeywell’s Lyric Connected Home website here . + Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat Editor’s note: The Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat was supplied to this writer free-of-charge by Honeywell in exchange for an unbiased review. Photos: Honeywell and Yuka Yoneda

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Product Review: Inhabitat tests out the Honeywell Lyric WiFi Thermostat

Typhoon Lionrock drenches Japan, leaving at least 10 dead

August 31, 2016 by  
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Typhoon Lionrock slammed Japan’s northeastern shores on Tuesday , leading to flooding that killed at least 10 people. The town of Iwaizumi in Iwate Prefecture on the eastern coast of Japan ‘s main island suffered the most flooding. There, more than 1,100 people evacuated their homes, and the town’s prefecture disaster prevention office reports that at least 400 people have been rescued after being stranded by the rising water. Rescue and recovery efforts are ongoing. The storm began as a tropical depression more than 10 days ago miles off the southeastern coast of Japan, building strength over time as it traveled northwest toward land. While over the ocean, the storm reached maximum wind speeds of 135 miles per hour, classifying it for a time as a Category 4 Hurricane, but Lionrock lost some of its power before making landfall. Lionrock crossed Japan late Tuesday night and its winds dropped to 35 miles per hour, turning it into a low pressure system. Related: Japan’s Hanazono Kindergarten was designed to keep kids safe during typhoons Nine of the flood victims were found in the Ran Ran retirement home in Iwaizumi after the nearby Omoto river flooded the single-story structure. Another man’s body was found elsewhere in the prefecture, bringing the current death toll to 10. A second home for the elderly, the Friendly Iwaizumi, was also flooded, but caregivers were able to move residents to the building’s second floor to avoid the rising water, saving their lives. Four people are missing and some 700 still stranded, according to local officials. The storm system continues to produce heavy rains as it continues on its path, and some parts of northeastern China have already felt the effects. However, with the storm once again so close to land, it is not expected to regain its former hurricane force winds. Still, as many as 26,000 Japanese residents are recommended to evacuate their homes, as further flooding is still possible. Via CNN Images via NASA Goddard Rapid Response Team , NASA/NRL and Weather Underground

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Typhoon Lionrock drenches Japan, leaving at least 10 dead

10 smart and cheap things every college dorm room needs

August 31, 2016 by  
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NORDLI Wireless charging furniture Your phone is at 5% and you’re tossing everything out of your backpack trying to find your charger, which seems to have sprouted legs and strolled away. Sound familiar? IKEA is putting an end to vanishing phone chargers with their wireless charging NORDLI furniture . It works like this: set down your phone on your table or night stand. Pick up your phone once it has enough juice to for you to Snap your roommate doing that weird thing again. Repeat. RIGGAD LED work lamp with wireless charging If you already have your nightstand sitch squared away, but you still want that groovy wireless charging, check out the RIGGAD LED work lamp . Not only does it have energy-efficient LED bulbs, but you can also set your phone on the lamp’s base and it will charge right up. So you can get your study on while your phone is getting juiced up. BEKANT sit/stand desk It’s easy to get lost in that 20-page term paper and not realize that the hours have disappeared – that is, until you stand up to stretch and find that you are permanently hunched over like Quasimodo. The IKEA BEKANT desk can shift between sitting and standing height (22 – 48-inches) so that you can find the perfect position. It even comes with a cord management net to keep everything in place. TVINGEN shower curtain You might not realize how much water is rushing down the drain when you take a shower, but 2 gallons vanish every – single – minute that you stand there singing along with Spotify. That’s why we love this TVINGEN shower curtain . Not only does it look good, but the graphic reminds you that you are using up a lot of water, so keep it quick. BLAVIK LED mirror/lamp It’s the little things that you miss when you are living la vida dorm. Privacy. Mom’s home cooking. A well-lit space to apply makeup or shave your face. The BLAVIK LED mirror/lamp can fix one of those problems for you. It installs without the need for drilling and runs on batteries, so you can put it wherever you need good lighting and a mirror. Sadly, it can’t make even the most basic spaghetti. LYCKSELE sofa/bed This isn’t your mother’s futon. The LYCKSELE sofa/bed has a durable quilted slipcover that can be easily laundered should beer pong get out of hand. And it’s just the right size to turn even the tiniest dorm room into a cozy space to hang (or sleep) no matter how crazy things get. DOFTKLINT comforter set This 100% cotton DOFTKLINT comforter set looks as good as it feels. We love the colorful print and you’ll love the snaps that hold everything in place, so you can spend your time studying, not shifting your duvet around. FAVREN Shower caddy Trust us: it may not seem like much, but when you are trudging down the hall trying to juggle your shampoo, conditioner, soap, razor, tower, face wash, wash towel, toothbrush and toothpaste (forget the necessities like a shower radio and your phone), you’re going to wish you had a shower caddy. This one is perfect because it has lots of compartments to keep you totally organized. IKEA PS 2014 storage combo Bamboo, how we love thee, let us count the ways: First, there’s the warm, textured look that takes any space up a notch. Then there’s that durability that can withstand even the rowdiest crowd. And don’t forget the sustainability. The IKEA PS 2014 storage shelf combines all that is amazing about bamboo with the perfect look and dimensions to hold absolutely everything you need in your dorm. MARSLEV rug When you start to pack for dorm life, floor coverings are probably the last thing on your mind. But trust us, a good rug will not only protect your feet, but it will take your dorm space from generic box to “feels like home” in an instant. The MARSLEV rug has a woven jute design that we can’t get enough of. + IKEA

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10 smart and cheap things every college dorm room needs

Stunning bamboo speakers marry Vietnamese tradition and modern technology

June 16, 2016 by  
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The centuries-old tradition of coiling and carving bamboo is unique to Vietnam . Craftsmen shape the material by hand to form shells. Multiple layers of varnish are then applied to create a natural finish. The resulting design merges traditional manufacturing techniques with modern technology-the spherical shell lets sound resonate acoustically, a Bluetooth connection offers flexibility, while the integrated potentiometer allows precise volume control. Related: Beautiful Speakers Made from Sustainable Bamboo and Leather The speakers are made by Bruno Chandon, an engineer who loves innovation and sustainability. He received a chance to combine these two interests when he met Chung, a rural craftsman skilled in working with bamboo. With the help of French product designer Marie Hautecoeur, he designed this remarkable speaker, which he then equipped with the best possible drivers, amps, and other components. + Hazang Bamboo Bluetooth Speakers + Hazang Kickstarter

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