A Crib that Simulates Late Night Car Rides to Help Babies Sleep

For some parents, the late night car ride is a tried and true method of finally getting their stubborn newborn to go to sleep. The problem with the method is the driver often doesn’t know how long the drive will take, and longer, frequent trips start to add up in both time and money costs. Plus, God forbid, you could get in an accident. But all those dangers and costs drop away with the MAX Motor Dreams crib. Users download an app, which they use to record any drives they take. It then syncs with the crib to accurately replicate the ride, allowing you to lull your child to sleep in the safety of your own home and the comfort of their own bed. Thanks to Ford Spain, you get all the benefits of the traditional late night drive, updated with the ease of modern technology.

This Tape Makes Everything LEGO Compatible

Team Nimuno is currently crowdfunding an invention that will let you realize your wildest dreams because this tape makes everything LEGO compatible. Nimuno Loops is a flexible, bendable, shapeable, cuttable, reusable tape with a top side compatible with LEGO, Mega Bloks, Kreo and other major toy building block systems. You can LEGO on the walls. You can LEGO on the ceiling. You can LEGO on the fridge, your glasses, the toilet, your kid’s toy dinosaur, the sink, your forehead, an umbrella, your car and, well, you get the idea. Nimuno Loops turn almost any surface into something you build on so you can finally realize your desire to create an entire Inception-style world with folding buildings if you have enough bricks, imagination and adhesive tape. The product is currently in the prototype stages with estimated delivery in July of this year. Based on the fact that the project was designed and developed by two professional industrial designers—and the fact that it has absolutely crushed funding goals—it’s a pretty sure bet that a successful product will end up on your doorstep in just a few months.

Three New Candles to Make Your House Smell Like a Diner, a Library, or a Barber Shop

Trying to capture the scents of idyllic places is a difficult job, but that’s just what has been accomplished with these three new candles.  Coffee & Cigarettes brings you back to a time when “cancer sticks” was an ironically self-aware joke name, not an aggressive ad campaign.  Public Library hits notes that remind us of when we had to get the back of our books stamped, not scanned.  And while we’re still getting haircuts, Barber Shop puts us right back in our light-up Velcro sneakers, lounging in a thousand-year-old chair while a million-year-old Italian gives us a bowl cut.  These new soy wax candles are great vehicles for all the good parts of nostalgia with none of the bad.

Science Says That These Are The Best Houseplants To Improve Indoor Air Quality

If you’re looking to improve the quality of air in your home, potted plants are a good place to start. But not all indoor plants are created equal.

A new study has found that certain varieties actually do more than pump more oxygen into your surroundings – they can also clear the air of harmful chemicals.

The new study, conducted by researchers from the State University of New York, looked specifically for plants that had the ability to absorb volatile organic compounds or VOCs, which are potentially harmful pollutants that can come from paint, furniture, printers, dry-cleaned clothes, and other household products.

“Buildings, whether new or old, can have high levels of VOCs in them, sometimes so high that you can smell them,” said study leader Vadoud Niri.

A high concentration of VOCs can lead to health problems such as dizziness, asthma, or allergies, but get the right plant on your desk or kitchen sideboard, and you could save yourself the trouble of installing extra ventilation.

While there’s nothing new about the practice of using plants to clean air (technically known as biofiltration, or phytoremediation) Niri and his team conducted precise experiments to determine the efficiency and capabilities of five different types of houseplants – the jade plant, spider plant, bromeliad, dracaena, and Caribbean tree cactus.

Each plant was placed in an air-tight chamber with specific concentrations of several types of VOCs. By measuring the air quality over time, the researchers were able to see which did the best job of purifying the air.

The bromeliad plant got a gold star from the team, managing to clean up 80 percent of the pollutants in six of the eight VOCs tested. Others scored highly for certain pollutants: the dracaena absorbed 94 percent of the chemical acetone, used in nail polish remover.

Spider plants, meanwhile, were very fast at removing VOCs, starting work just a few minutes after being placed inside its container.

Niri was prompted to start his research after going into a nail salon and being put off by the smell, Sarah Kaplan reports for The Washington Post. Now, he wants to test his plants in a real salon setting to see how effective they can be at dealing with VOCs when they’re not in sealed containers.

It’s important to note the new study hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed or published at this stage, because the team is still refining their experiment. This means we can’t read too much into the study until it’s been independently verified, so don’t go putting bromeliads in every square foot of your home based solely on these results just yet.

Another thing to note is that the extent of the links between VOCs and health problems have been debated in the past, but the evidence suggests there is at least some relationship between the air we breathe indoors and a number of particular medical issues.

What is certain is that VOC concentrations can be much higher indoors than outdoors.

Niri says houseplants could be a natural and effective way of keeping our air clean, and really, what have you got to lose by making your house look a bit more green?

“Each of us breathes over 3,000 gallons of air each day,” he told the Post. “That’s why air quality is extremely important and air pollution is an important environmental threat to human health.”

The results of the study were presented at the 252nd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Philadelphia.

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Homesick Candles Fill Your House With the Smell of Home

Created by a group of friends who were missing their home states, Homesick Candles instantly transport you to the state of your choosing with unique scent combinations. Homesick for Texas? Try a hint of leather, a bit of fresh cotton, and just a touch of sage. Kentucky? Hints of bourbon, mint and other local scents. Florida? Hint of orange, touch of sea mist and a bit of driftwood. Wisconsin? Kringle cookies, Wisconsin cranberry and winter air. Each candle is made from all natural soy wax in the USA, weighs just under 14 oz and is rated for a typical burn time of 60 – 80 hours.

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HOW TO BUY A HOUSE AT AN AUCTION FOR AS LITTLE AS $1,000

The prospect of home ownership is a distant fantasy for most young people. But if you’re willing to forego the traditional home buying process of crowded open houses and overbearing realtors for the open auction market, there are some serious deals to be had. In fact (if you’re particularly lucky), in some parts of America you can score a great piece of residential real estate for as little as $1,000. Don’t believe me? Here’s how it’s done.

1. Scour local listings

To get a feel for what’s available, you’ll want to call local realty offices to see if they have listings for any homes up for auction. You’ll also want to check the local classifieds (under both “real estate” and “auctions”) and check Zillow’s foreclosure listings, as well as contact auctioneers directly. You should also pay attention while driving around for obviously abandoned homes that pique your interest—watch out for signs out front with more info, as they may very well be going under the hammer soon.

2. Hire a lawyer

Once you’re serious about going down the auction road, you’ll want to hire a real estate lawyer to advise you on the process and help you avoid any pitfalls. Going in blind can be risky, especially if the property for sale is in foreclosure. There could be unpaid tax bills or other outstanding debts that you’d be on the hook for should your bid win out. This handy referral directory will help you locate a rockstar real estate attorney tout de suite.

3. Do a thorough title search

Once you’ve found the house(s) you want to bid on, do a full title search (or have your lawyer do one) to turn up any outstanding debts, unpaid taxes, or other liens. Most auction houses will provide a title assessment indicating whether it’s free of all debt, or what you might be on the hook for as a winning bidder.

4. Do a dry run

Before you make any big moves, you’ll want to attend a couple local real estate auctions to get a feel for the action. Keep an eye on how the auctioneer runs things, how he calls for bids, and how potential buyers indicate their continued bidding. Also read up on the terms and conditions of the particular event, and whether winning bidders are being charged any money in addition to their winning bid price.

5. Know when to tap out

Once you’ve set your sights on a particular property, you’ll want to calculate how much you’ll be willing to shell out for it. Once you have a plan for the investment (live in it, flip it, rent it, etc.) you’ll want to find out what similar nearby properties have sold for recently, determine what it might sell for, and calculate necessary improvements based on worst-case scenarios since you will be unable to have it properly inspected beforehand. Do the math and figure out your maximum bid price.

6. Arrive pre-approved for a mortgage

If you’re planning to bid, you better be prepared to pay. Depending on the state, an auction may require a cashier’s check for at least $5,000 made out to the auction house to prove you’re serious. Additionally, if the auction allows for financing you’ll want to show up pre-qualified for a home loan so you know exactly what your buying power is.

7. Be prepared for some costly repairs

You may be inheriting the space from tenants who couldn’t afford even the most basic repairs (or are so angry for being booted that they trashed the place before leaving). Be prepared to shell out a significant sum just to make it livable. Specifically, in the case of Detroit’s incredible $1,000 auctions, winning bidders are responsible for bringing the home up to code within six months of purchase or risk forfeiting the property back to the city. If you can, peek through the windows to check for any necessary surface-level repairs.

8. Be on time

Most auctions don’t last very long, so being 15 minutes late could mean missing the whole thing entirely. Plus, experts claim that the first few properties in an auction sell for less because the bidding crowd may take a bit to adjust to the protocol and pricing patterns. Early birds get the deal.

8 Smart Devices For The Kitchen Of The Future

The Internet of Things is building the kitchen of the future. Everything from an app to turn on your coffee maker to a pan that monitors heat on your iPhone to cook the perfect steak is so close we can (almost literally) taste it. Here are some of the top tech gadgets making their way to our cookery in the near future.

1. Palate Home Smart Grill

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This is not your average George Foreman grill. The Palate Smart Grill from Palate Home can cook almost any food perfectly based on weight, composition, and desired done-ness, all controlled through an iPad app.

2. Pantelligent Smart Frying Pan

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Temperature control and perfect timing in a pan. This gadget lets you check the exact temperature inside your salmon, steak or whatever else you’ve got sizzling and let’s you know when it is ready without having to stick a fork in it. The Pantelligent app for iPhone monitors the cooking and lets you know the ideal time when the food is done.

3. Drop Connected Kitchen Scale

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This one aims to be an easy-to-use kitchen baking scale that guides you through select recipes connected to an iPad app. You pick out which recipe you want on the app and then place a bowl on the bluetooth connected scale, drop in each ingredient until the app says you have added enough into the bowl and follow along with the instructions to make the perfect cake, cookies or whatever else you desire.

4. LivBlends Smoothie Maker

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Y Combinator team LivBlends is mainly into juice delivery in the Bay Area for now, but it’s in the middle of cooking up a Keurig-like smoothie maker that could put your old JuiceMan to shame. The picture above is a prototype of what it will look like.

5. Prep Pad from the Orange Chef

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Prep Pad tallies up nutritional info from the foods added to any bowl on its connected food scale. The information is then transferred to an iPad app so you know exactly how many carb, fat and protein calories are in your food. It then gives you an overview of every ingredient you put on Prep Pad throughout your week and logs that with your connected Jawbone Up to help you meet your health goals.

6. HAPIfork

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The HAPIfork is an electronic fork that helps you monitor and track your eating habits for weight loss. It measures how long it took you to eat, the amount of fork servings and the time in between servings. It then uploads that info to an app via USB or Bluetooth to show you what you are doing.

7. Siemens Connected Coffee Maker

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Siemens is not in the business of making kitchen gadgets. It is creating the makeup of the actual kitchen infrastructure itself. It has a slew of appliances that are connected to a single app. This coffee maker is a part of that. Push a button on your phone beside your bed and you’ve got your morning espresso ready to go.

8. LG’s Smart Oven

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This connected kitchen appliance allows you to control cooking remotely from your smartphone. Click on the LG Smart Access Range app to set it and forget it. It also lets you send recipes to your range.

Bacon-scented pillowcases are here!

Created by J&D Foods, the pork-inspired pillowcase uses “advances in printing technology we stole from NASA to allow the scent of bacon to permeate your dreams and expand your mind,” according to the company website.

Benefits include “happier dreams of breakfast past, effortless, overnight weight lost, and dramatic increases in your intelligence.”

The Washington-based company was founded by two friends, Justin and Dave, after they won $5,000 on ABC’s “America’s Funniest Home Videos.” The pair spent the earnings creating their first product: bacon salt.

“In just five days we sold all 6,000 jars of bacon salt,” the company says. “We soon realized that the worldwide demand for a bacon-flavored seasoning was more immense than we could have ever imagined.”

The bacon-scented pillowcase sells for $12.99, and the company also sells bacon deodorant, bacon popcorn, and a bacon coffin.

12 Of The World’s Most Awesome Remote Hideaways

When you live in a constantly connected (but spiritually disconnected) urban environment, it’s natural to dream about escaping to some wilderness shack and never coming back. Hide and Seek: The Architecture of Cabins and Hide-Outs, a new book from Gestalten, lets you indulge that fantasy without having to go all Grizzly Man. It presents some of the world’s most stunning cabins, shelters, hideouts, and sanctuaries that answer to the longing for retreat in nature.

Similar to the way 19th-century Romantics reacted to the Industrial Revolution with a more emotional, worshipful approach to the natural world, contemporary architects are building structures that incorporate the wilderness into their designs, inviting it in rather than shutting it out. “Direct connections to water, earth, air, and even fire enhance the power and sense of discovery present within the rural refuge,” writes Sofia Borges in Hide and Seek’s introduction. Among these are a mirrored lake cottage that reflects the surrounding forest on its facade and the nook-like Cocoon shelter, made of strips of cedar, which snakes around a series of tree trunks. Here, 12 of the most jaw-dropping contemporary hideaways in the world’s many middles of nowhere.

BIVACCO LUCA VUERICH, BY GIOVANNI PESAMOSCA ARCHITETTO IN FRIULI-VENEZIA GIULIA, ITALY

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This tiny, stoic A-frame cabin perches atop a rugged landscape in the Julian Alps, 8,303 feet above sea level. It’s situated along a summit trail, so hikers and climbers can catch up on rest in the hideout, which sleeps up to nine guests.

SLEDGE-PROJECT, BY ROB SWEERE, QAASUITSUP, GREENLAND

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These futuristic mobile dwellings on sleds were built for an organization that helps rehabilitate troubled children by pairing them with local hunters, who teach them the ways of the wild. They can be towed with dogs or snowmobiles over sea or ice, and each sleeps up to six guests.

THE PUMP HOUSE, BY BRANCH STUDIO ARCHITECTS, VICTORIA, AUSTRALIA

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This re-locatable lakeside cabin perches on stilts. Floor-to-ceiling windows let sunlight pour through.

FIRE SHELTER, BY SIMON HJERMIND JENSEN, CAPITAL REGION OF DENMARK, DENMARK

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Inspired by the architecture of nomadic people, this egg-like plywood hut has a simple circular bench around a central fireplace. Open to the public, and meant to stand only for a year, the Fire Shelter is ventilated by a hole in the top and two towards the bottom.

STEVE’S THAILAND DOME HOME, BY STEVE AREEN, IN ISAN, THAILAND

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This Dr. Seussian orange refuge sits amid a large organic mango farm. Completed by a small community of builders in just six weeks for under $6,000, the dome-shaped hut includes a handmade staircase that winds up to a rooftop patio shaded by a shaggy palapa.

VEGA COTTAGE, BY KOLMAN BOYE ARCHITECTS, IN TRONDELAG, NORWAY

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Close to the polar circle, this simple house borrows the gunmetal-gray color scheme of the surrounding bedrock in its harsh northern landscape, and its roof reflects the silver-white of the perpetually overcast sky. Large windows offer vistas of the ocean and mountain range.

COCOON, BY AA DESIGN & MAKE, SOUTH WEST ENGLAND, U.K.

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This cocoon, made of cedar strips in a whimsical monocoque structure, weaves through the trees of a forest park. Visitors can curl up inside its undulating form.

KEKKILA GARDEN SHED, BY AVANTO ARCHITECTS, UUSIMAA, FINLAND

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This garden shed-greenhouse hybrid lets you feel about as close to nature as possible while still technically being inside.

LE TRONC CREUX BY BRUIT DU FRIGO, BORDEAUX, FRANCE

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This cylindrical nature hut, resembling a giant log, can sleep up to nine people.

TREE SNAKE HOUSE BY REBELO DE ANDRADE, PEDRAS SALGADAS PARK, PORTUGAL

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The long, skinny bodies of snakes gliding between trees inspired these designs, in a Portuguese resort park, which can sleep one to two guests.

LAKE COTTAGE BY UUFIE, ONTARIO, CANADA

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This cottage in an Ontario forest has a mirrored entrance that lets it blend magically into the surrounding wilderness.

STUDIO FOR A COMPOSER BY JOHNSEN SCHMALING ARCHITECTS, WISCONSIN, UNITED STATES

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A country western musician uses this retreat, made of exposed concrete and steel, glass, and wood, as a studio for writing and recording his music.