The best of February on Smart stuff.

It seems a lot of blogs are fond of making monthly roundups. Maybe it is a good idea. Maybe a lot of smart stuff gets forgotten about when it could be appreciated by more people if we were to make such a monthly roundup, too. Let’s try it. Here’s our five favorite posts from the past month (it’s kind of hard to pick five but here goes):brbr
• Extra long finger plastersbr
• The inkless penbr
• The California car dusterbr
• The Multimirrorbr
• Electric power shifter for bicyclesbrbr
If you have missed any of these, we suggest you click and have a look. We do not think you will be disappointed. /Ed.brbr

Push and pull oven hook.

Now, as all our regular readers surely know, we prefer a good Nomex oven mitt anytime for handling hot pots and pans. But at the same time we understand that everybody else does not. So for all those out there who prefer a more mechanical way of handling hot pans and such things, here is the push/pull oven hook. We do think it is pretty clever. And it is not very expensive, either; just USD 5.99 (about SEK 42:-) on Walter Drake. brbr

Electrical bicycle auto shifter.

We suppose Shimano has done pretty much everything in bicycle gears except an automatic, so it was probably due. The new (?) technology is launched under the Coasting brand (almost unreadable site), and as far as we can gather it may be available in four bikes from three manufacturers; Trek, Giant and Raleigh. If any of them will hit Europe and Sweden is shrouded in uncertainty, by we think at least Trek has an importer, so maybe… The bikes shown are no sports rigs, they are more like something you’d pedal to the store with. The power shifter is located inside the oversized chain cover, and, if we are not mistaken, it’s powered by a dynamo in the front wheel. The actual gears are located in the rear hub. You’ll find a longer text on the Bike Gallery web site.brbr

Chair with coat hanger – stolen idea?

This chair from Pottinger Cole (right) has been doing the rounds lately. And why not, since it’s both smart and fun. It would be perfect by the bed, since it provides both coat hanger and beside table all in one. But even though it is smart, the idea is not exactly new. We already have a similar chair (left) in our archives, that one designed by Jörg Gätjens. Considering the fact that we found Jörg Gätjens’ chair already in December 2005, one might suspect that PC liked the idea and simply ripped it off to make their own interpretation.brbr

Charging box with integrated speakers.

Previously we have mentioned the Swedish Contactboxen, the Multipot and the charging box that is meant to be placed under a cabinet. Now we have another installment in the charging box series. Student industrial designer Alexander Lundqvist Cruz has created the Speakerbox and introduced it at the Stockholm Furniture Fair recently. The Cruz box is different from the others since it has integrated speakers allowing you to listen to your tunes while the phone or iPod is charging. So far the Cruz box is a concept, but with the proper interest, it may be produced.brbr

California car duster.

This dusting brush post is the result of a tip from good friends Klas and Tracy B. The brush has cotton strands treated with a special paraffin wax that collects and lifts off dust from the surface. The brush does not need cleaning, and it is supposedly very popular among the people on the custom car show circuit. We have actually never seen one in this country, but we have found it for sale on a couple of Swedish sites. In the US you can get wooden handled version from California Car Duster themselves for USD 19:99, or from Amazon- where it is USD 15:75.brbr

The Latvian water carrier and folding seat.

During the Stockholm Furniture Fair there was a special section with works by students at different art- craft- and design schools and colleges. Among them we found the Art Academy of Latvia in Riga. And among the works displayed these two struck us a both clever and good looking. The first (above) is the Yoke water carrying strap by Janis Valdmanis. The simplicity is compelling. A piece of rubber with room for one, two or three bottles, and an ordinary nylon strap.brbr
The other (below) was the Chiks folding seat by Kaspars Jursons, made from a metal tube with a fabric seat. The seat is small, but OK, and the whole thing small and light enough to bring along to the kids football or little league game, we suppose.brbr

Clever mirror saves space and hides clutter.

Anybody who has been reading our site for some time knows we like inventions that lets us use hitherto unused space. Anything that lets us hide away the stuff that clutters any home, makes even a studio apartment feel more spacious. Architect and designer Charlotte Elsner has created this smart mirror/gadget hider she calls Multimirror. The Multimirror is so far just a concept, but if the final product even comes close to the examples she showed at the Stockholm Furniture Fair we think it has every chance of success. The Multimirror is a sliding mirror mounted on a shallow cabinet allowing space for most anything. As a hall mirror (left) it lets you keep shoe brushes, cellphone, ipod, keys, wallet, notes, etc, within easy reach but still hidden away. As a bedroom or dressing room mirror (right) it can be fitted with an integrated ironing board and space for clothes brushes, sewing kit, etc. Brilliant!brbr

Silicon keyboard protection cover.

Even though we do try not to, it happens that different foodstuffs and beverages end up in close proximity to our keyboard. This is of course not good, but what do you do when things heat up? Anyway, we’ve often looked enviously at the plastic covers some restaurants and shops use. (We actually know a sushi place where they wrap the entire remote for the stereo in cling-film to keep it out of trouble.) However, we’ve never seen a cover for notebooks. Until today, when we saw the Sonnet Technologies silicon notebook cover. The cover is as far as we can see only available for Apple’s MacBook, MacBook Pro and PowerBook G4, but perhaps other brands will be covered in the future. The cover is USD 20:-.brbr

Extra long finger plaster.

We did not even know there were plasters like this until the other day. We cut a finger in the kitchen, put a plaster on, but the plasters we used did not work very well at the tip of one finger. They came loose and fell off time and time again. Very irritating. At the local pharmacy, however, we found these extra long finger plasters, that go around the finger two and a half times. Now we don’t have to change plasters until the old one gets dirty. The finger plasters are SEK 31:- (approx. USD 4:40) at Apoteket.brbr