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Science Fiction Home Furnishings

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Earlier this week I was working on a list of science fiction-inspired furniture when I became distracted by a number of creative science fiction quilts. When I returned to the matter at hand, I found quite a few ways to take your home "out of this world."

1. TARDIS Murphy Bed

An unnamed craftsman in New Zealand built a very special bed for his son. By day, it’s a life-size TARDIS (the time machine from Doctor Who) disguised as a police box. By night, it’s a fold-down bed! It has a working police light, pulsing LEDs, and a talking telephone. It made news when it went up for sale at Trade Me, but for one reason or another it didn't sell.

2. Y-wing Elevated Bed

Another home-crafted project that has been lost to time is this elevated Y-wing Bed, like those of the Rebel Alliance in Star Wars. It was spotted in a real estate listing a couple of years ago that has since been deleted, so we may never know who actually built it.

3. Millennium Falcon Bed

Kayla Kromer, who gained fame for the Hamburger Bed, also designed and built the Millennium Falcon Bed. It is a one-of-a-kind. Image by Heather Leah Kennedy.

4. and 5. AT-AT Beds

Instructables member BykManDan says he is not a carpenter, yet his constructed this AT-AT Imperial Walker loft bed for his son and captured the imagination and envy of Star Wars fans worldwide.

Jonathon used the same idea for his son's bunk bed, but made his AT-AT (seen in the film The Empire Strikes Back) a three-level bunk bed! You can see more details at YouTube. The child presumably has no trouble getting friends to sleep over.

6. Shuttle Bed

Custom space beds are wonderful, but if you don't have the skills or time, you can buy a Space Shuttle Bunk Bed. It has the NASA decals, but more closely resembles a shuttlecraft from the original Star Trek series.

7. Captain Kirk's Chair

The one piece of furniture that will most make you feel like part of another world is Captain Kirk's Chair (NYT link). And even better, you'll be in total control of that world! There were once several outlets that sold replicas of the original captain's chair, including Hammacher Schlemmer, but all seem to have discontinued the item. However, if you take a good look, you'll see that the various captain's chairs used in the different Star Trek series and movies often resemble high quality but readily available office chairs modified to sit on a stable base, such as this one used by Captain Picard in several movies. Image by Susan Seubert for The New York Times.

8. The Galactic Throne

The Galactic Throne from Tom Spina Designs puts you in control, whether you're the Emperor, Darth Vader, or some other evil overlord in a spaceship. Or just a person watching them in your home theater.

9. H. R. Giger Furniture

If you are looking for furniture that evokes the creepiness of the movie Alien, you are in luck, because the Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger,who designed the alien queen, also does furniture. However, you will have to contact the his agent for prices, so don't expect a bargain.

10. Alien Table

There was a company that made tables and chairs incorporating the Alien queen a few years back, but the manufacturer seem to have disappeared.

11. Predator Table

However, you can find a glass top table held up by the alien from the Predator movies. Pro Mech Racing has them in several styles.

12. Han Solo Table

R-9 Studios brings us the Han Solo in Carbonite Coffee Table as well as the Millennium Falcon Coffee Table. Your guests probably already know your favorite films, but they'll still be impressed one way or another.

See also: Gifts for the Geek Home and 10 Ways to Game Up Your Home.

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IKEA
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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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Live Smarter
AI Tool From West Elm Suggests Furniture to Match Your Pinterest Tastes
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iStock

Curating a Pinterest board is often more fun—and always less expensive—than filling a space with actual furniture. Now, there’s a new tool from West Elm designed to put your time spent pinning decor ideas to practical use. As Fast Company reports, the home retail brand’s Pinterest Style Finder uses an AI algorithm to recommend furnishings that best suit your tastes.

Users start by pasting the URL of a Pinterest board they love, whether it’s their own or someone else’s, into the web tool. Then, they select a category of furnishings to browse through, such as bedroom, kitchen, or office.

That’s when the AI gets to work: A neural network powered by the startup Clarifai analyzes the images and finds products in West Elm’s catalogue that match the style. If you input a board of boho-chic furniture, for example, the tool brings up reclaimed wood nightstands and funky quilts. Search for products related to your vintage kitchen board and you’ll get retro stools and mid-century bar carts.

Of course, the results are limited to what’s in the retailer’s inventory, so if you would never shop at West Elm to begin with this may not be the tool for you. If you'd rather pick out furniture the old-fashioned way, here are some neural network-free design tips to follow.

[h/t Fast Company]

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