Lord of the Rings may have a large following, but rarely do you see fans actually recreating something from the series, that is unless…you’re Jim Costigan. His day job is a New York construction supervisor, but his free time for the past 6-years was spent building an energy-efficient Hobbit House, complete with a lush green roof that Bilbo Baggins would most certainly approve of. “I thought that was the coolest house I’d ever seen. Architecturally, I thought that that house in the movie was just really well-done, that it was really original. The curvatures, everything about it was unique,” said Costigan about the home of Bilbo Baggins, Bag End. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
Photo credit: Modscape
Australia-based Modscape Concept specializes in prefabricated architecture, and they designed a strange five story home that hangs off a cliff’s edge a while back, but now, we get a first look inside. It features a modular design and was inspired by the shape of barnacles clinging to a hull of a ship, and that’s why it extends off the side of a cliff, rather than sit directly on it. Read more for additional pictures and information.
Amazon’s Echo Input adds Alexa to just about any external speaker via 3.5 mm audio cable or Bluetooth, and it’s being offered for just $19.99, today only, originally $34.99. It can hear you from across the room, even when music is playing, enabling you to stream Amazon Music, Apple Music, Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM, and more on your favorite speaker. Simply ask Alexa to play a song, read the news, or check the weather and traffic. Product page. Read more for another video review and additional information.
IKEA and Sonos have officially unveiled the SYMFONISK line of WiFi speakers. One model is table lamp, while the other has a bookshelf model that can also be wall mounted, priced at $179 and $99 respectively. Both speakers can be controlled with the Sonos app, and easily integrate directly into the Sonos ecosystem should you have any existing speakers. Or, set them up using Sonos’s TruePlay custom tuning function as bonded stereo pairs or individual mono speakers. Apple’s AirPlay 2 integration enables iOS and MacOS users to stream any audio content directly to the speakers without using the app. Read more for a video, additional pictures and information.
Photo credit: Andrew Ferrier via Yanko Design
Cable management accessories are nothing new, but what if there was an easier way to avoid tripping over cables? Meet the “Cable Cradle” by designer Andrew Ferrier. This creation basically fits over your existing outlet and can be snapped on securely for 1-second installation. After plugging int your device(s), simply wrap the cable around the outer edge to keep things organized. Read more for additional pictures and information.
Never lose your gadgets again with the new Tile Mate (2x) and Tile Slim (2x) trackers, all for $46.88 shipped, today only, originally $69.99. Can’t find your phone? Just double press the Tile button on your Tile Mate to make your phone ring, even when it’s on silent. If your Tile Mate is further away, you can even let other Tile community members help since the Tile app running on their phones can send location updates to your app. It includes a replaceable CR1632 battery is guaranteed for one year from activation. You can easily replace it yourself. Product page. Read more for a hands-on review of the Tile Slim.
Kasa’s Smart WiFi Power Strip not only has 6-outlets, but 3 USB ports as well, all for $54.99 shipped, today only, originally $79.99. Monitor exactly how much energy devices connected to the power strip consume by simply checking in on the Kasa Smart app – you can also turn off devices that are using too much power. Plus, control connected devices from anywhere with the Kasa Smart App, which means you can power up your office remotely and even your computer from a phone. Schedule each outlet individually or collectively to turn on and off at set times throughout the day. Product page.
Google may become the champion of April Fools’ Day pranks if they keep this up, as they’ve unveiled yet another product that sounds cool, but will never become a reality. This service can be setting Google Assistant on your phone or the Google Home smart speaker to the English language and saying “Talk to Tulip Translator.” In other words, they can now they communicate with humans when they require assistance, such as water, light or some more space. “Socially, it turns out that plants, and particularly tulips, are very chatty, and make for great friends. Tulips are excellent listeners and when listened to carefully, give sound advice,” said Google. Read more to see it in-action.
Belkin’s Wemo Mini Smart Plug utilizes your existing home Wi-Fi connection to provide wireless control of your lights and appliances, without the need for an additinal subscription or hub, all for $19.99, today only, originally $34.99. Just plug in a WeMo Mini Smart Plug, download the free app, and control your lights / appliances from your smart device or voice through Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple Home Kit. Schedule the fan to turn on before you come home, sync lamps and devices to sunrise, sunset, or pre-set times automatically. Its sleek new form-factor enables you to stack two Mini Smart Plugs in the same outlet. Product page. Read more for additional discounts in Belkin / Linksays one-day sale – check out all the deals here.
Samsung subsidiary called Cheil Worldwide unveils Firevase, which looks like a normal flower vase at first, but it actually doubles as a fire extinguisher. Simply put, its outer chamber is filled with fast-cooling potassium carbonate that quickly suppresses oxygen when the vase shatters, while the inner chamber works like normal, and holds water for your flowers or plants. Read more to see it in-action and for additional information.