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Gifts for the Geek Home

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A home should be an expression of who you are. Sure, when you're young and broke, your room or apartment might be an expression of who your parents or the people who donate to Goodwill are, but gradually you collect items that express your personality, whether you receive them as gifts or purchase them yourself. If you are a technologically oriented geek, there are plenty of manufacturers and vendors catering to your tastes in home decor.

Interactive LED Dining Table

Windell Oksay of Evil Mad Scientist Laboratories built a dining room table with 448 LEDs inside. The lights respond to movement on and above the table surface! No, not a motion sensor, but light sensors that detect shadows and respond appropriately by activating LEDs in those areas. This is a one-of-a-kind project, but if you are handy you can make your own with the extensive documentation of the project as your guide. Take a shortcut by buying the LED panel kit.

Motherboard Picture Frame

Recycling is not only environmentally-friendly, it can make a statement. The Motherboard Picture Frame states that you know what motherboards are all about -even if you don't! Buying one is much easier than recycling your own, but the motherboards are recycled from somewhere.

Geek Clock

This geeky clock was posted all over as "the clock only geeks can read." That's not quite true, as those of us of a certain age learned to read an analog clock by its angles, so no numerals are necessary. However, the formulas used in place of numerals on this clock face will display your geekiness for the world to see.

A Clock that Spells

Here's a clock that is easy for anyone to read, but the mechanism that displays it is something else. Christiaan Postma designed it to mechanically spell out the time.

I put together more than 150 individual clockworks and made them work together to become one clock.  I show the progress of time by letting the numbers be written in words by the clockworks. Reading clockwise,  the time being is visible through a word and readable by the completeness of the word, 12 words from "one" to "twelve".

Watch how the clock face changes here. Unfortunately, it's an artwork that is not available to purchase.

Galactic Hitchhiker's Towel

Never be caught without your towel! Express your inner hitchhiker with this utility towel, complete with the number 42. No need to explain to science fiction fans.

CRT Light Fixture

As you move from cathode ray tubes to LEDs, recycle your CRTs into light fixtures!

Fractal Art Quilt

Rose Rushbrooke makes gorgeous art quilts with intricate designs, including a collection of fractal patterns she designs and hand quilts. I was particularly taken with this quilt displaying a pattern based on the Mandelbrot set. A quilt like this will impress everyone, but particularly anyone who recognizes how the intricate pattern came about.

Enter Doormat

What do you do at someone's doorstep? Enter! This doormat says just that, but it looks like a huge computer key. Another available doormat resembles the "home" key.

Icon Pillows

If you're going to have throw pillows around, make them conversation starters, like pillows in the shape of familiar computer button icons, such as RSS, Mac OSX, subscribe, iTunes, and even chat balloons.

Social Networking Pillows

Display your loyalty to your favorite social networking site with a throw pillow your friends will recognize -or if you have no loyalty, use them all! Etsy seller Craftsquatch makes them in Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and other flavors, including a generic email pillow.

Mini Disc Pillows

Your geeky life isn't restricted to the internet, however. This pillow comes in the form of a floppy disc, which you might find fun to explain to younger visitors.

Elemental Refrigerator Magnets

Teach your kids about the periodic table as you hang their artwork on the refrigerator, or just show off with the Periodic Table Magnet Set. Use as a complete table, or detach individual magnets as you please.

Temperature Sensitive Tiles

Line your bathroom with tiles that react to heat like a mood ring! These temperature sensitive glass tiles go wild in a hot shower or when washing dishes. They even make awesome floor tiles that respond to bare feet.

See also: Video Game Furnishings for Your Home.

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Animals
Get IKEA's New Pet Furniture Collection for Not a Lot of Scratch
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IKEA

The biggest surprise about IKEA's newest product line is that it has taken this long to debut. This week, the North American arm of the Swedish furniture giant unveiled a new assortment of furniture designed specifically for four-legged customers. Dubbed LURVIG (Swedish for “hairy”), pet owners can now browse IKEA aisles for everything from dog beds to cat scratching posts—many of which have a distinct IKEA twist.

Their pet couch ($49.95), for example, folds out into a bed; another bed is small enough to slide under a human-sized mattress. Their “cat house on legs” ($54.95) looks like a retro TV and allows space for a cat to stalk you from behind a screen.

An assortment of IKEA pet furniture
IKEA

The retailer solicited advice from veterinarians on product design that would be functional while sitting comfortably within the IKEA aesthetic. “It is quite important for IKEA to have a pet range that fits into our normal furniture range,” Barbara Schäfer, IKEA’s product risk assessment leader, told Curbed. “As a pet owner I can say, so far, the normal pet products are quite ugly.” (Don't hold back, Barbara.)

The LURVIG line is currently being rolled out to IKEA stores, but you’ll have to be willing to be your furry pal’s personal shopper; the company doesn’t allow pets in their stores, save for service animals.

[h/t Curbed]

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Design
IKEA’s New Augmented Reality App Lets You Test Out Virtual Furniture in Your Home
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IKEA

No matter how much measuring and research you do beforehand, buying a piece of furniture without knowing what it will look like in your home is always a gamble. With its new augmented reality app, IKEA hopes to take some of the guesswork out of the process. IKEA Place features more than 2000 items in the Swedish retailer's inventory, and visualizing them in the space where you live is as easy as tapping a button.

As WIRED reports, IKEA Place is among the first apps to take advantage of Apple's ARKit, an augmented reality platform that debuted as part of iOS 11. iPhone and iPad owners with the latest update can download IKEA's new app for free and start browsing through home goods right away.

To use the tool, you must first select the product you wish to test out, whether it's a loveseat, a kitchen table, or a dresser. Then, with the camera activated, you can point your device at whichever space you want the item to fill and watch it appear on the screen in front of you.

According to IKEA, the 3D models are scaled with 98 percent accuracy. Factors that are hard to analyze from photos online, like shadows, lighting, and textures, are also depicted as they would appear in real life. So if a sofa that looks great under the lights of a store looks drab in your living room, or if a desk that seems tiny online doesn't fit inside your office, the app will let you know. It's the closest you can get to seeing how a piece of furniture complements a room without lugging it through the doorway.

IKEA isn't the first company to improve interior design with computerized images. Several hardware stores and furniture outlets offer their own AR apps. Other services like Modsy let customers pay to create full virtual models of their homes before populating them with 3D furniture. Even IKEA had a basic AR app prior to this one, but it was glitchy and not always accurate. This newest iteration aims to provide a more seamless shopping experience. And with the latest iOS update placing a greater emphasis on AR, you can expect to see more apps using the technology in the near future.

[h/t WIRED]

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