From colour-changing wardrobes to TVs that double as artworks, these objects make for tech-savvy living
Smart furniture that will transform your living space and experience
Some of us might know the effect as hologram, but its real name is lenticular – a special printing process that creates the illusion that a coloured surface or image is changing as you move around it. And now, Orijeen, a South Korean design studio based in Seoul, has used the effect to produce two mesmerising items of furniture, as part of its Color Flow collection. One is a free-standing wardrobe, the other a smaller sideboard, both of which feature rigid lenticular surfaces that refract light from a colour gradient under the skin, depending on your angle of approach. The pieces are elegant and simple in design, with the wardrobe appearing to change between blues and greens, while the sideboard shifts between blues and pinks.
August is an American company that wants to make its customers’ lives simpler and more secure by developing and offering devices that give homeowners and tenants “unprecedented visibility and control over their front door”. Letting the right people in, at the right time and on the right terms, is just as important as keeping the bad guys out, the company says. The August Smart Lock Pro can be easily fixed to your door, without the need to change your existing locks, so you won’t even require a new set of keys. Using Wi-Fi technology, you can control access from anywhere via your smartphone, as well as check that the door is actually locked (if it isn’t, fixing that problem is a tap of a screen away). You can send keyless access to friends and family, or your cleaner or trusted plumber, without stressing about hiding spare keys under the doormat. Perhaps coolest of all, it detects your smartphone as you approach your front door, automatically opening it – handy for impressing friends or when your arms are weighed down with shopping bags.
It is no longer enough for a table to simply be functional – not when it is surrounded by all those other smart devices in your 21st-century home.
Enter Smartables. This new multimedia table doesn’t just provide a surface on which you can set your phone, place a speaker or install a light. Instead, it combines all these functionalities into a single piece of rather futuristic furniture. Featuring a wireless charger for compatible mobile devices, LED lights and Bluetooth speakers, the Smartables will satisfy most of our modern needs. You can place up to three Qi-compatible phones, smartwatches or tablets at the head of the table, where the built-in inductive charger will supply the power. If you don’t have a phone capable of being wirelessly charged, there are USB ports that will allow you to juice your devices the old-fashioned way. With two 10-watt speakers connected to an amplifier, you can transmit your favourite tunes directly to the Smartables via a Bluetooth connection. But perhaps more compelling than its built-in functionalities is its modular design. The top of the Smartables can be detached, and repurposed as a serving platter or laptop table.
Tech as art
Samsung has turned the television into a work of art, quite literally. Its new set, known as the Frame, is designed to enhance any room or viewing environment, and is so much more than a big black box. Using new technology, the Frame can be switched to Art Mode when not in use, and users can select digital artwork from a collection of more than 100 pieces that include architecture, landscapes, wildlife and drawings. Extra artworks can be downloaded from Samsung’s Art Store for a fee, or you can use the surface to display your own photos by uploading them. Numerous options exist for layouts and colours for borders, as well as a customisable surrounding frame, which is available in beige wood, walnut or white. As you might expect, the Frame can be wall-mounted – flush with the surface, with no unsightly cables – or even on an easel, should you have one sturdy enough.
In the cloud
If you are looking to create a unique ambiance in your space, the Cloud could be just the thing. In the words of its creator, Richard Clarkson, this is “a music-activated visualisation system that conducts thunder-and-lightning performances”. Using an Arduino controller and embedded motion sensors, the Cloud consists of an interactive lamp and speaker system that flashes light and explodes sound to simulate thunder and lightning – only indoors. Users can adjust the Cloud’s light levels and colour while streaming music via Bluetooth-compatible devices. A cloud crafted from sensors and code, this is a highly technical interpretation of nature.