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Hi-tech for the bed and bath

Hi-tech for the bed and bath
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First Published: Wed, Jan 16 2008. 12 02 AM IST

Updated: Wed, Jan 16 2008. 12 02 AM IST
Think for a moment about technology in the bedroom (no snickering!) and bathroom. You’d be forgiven if you don’t come up with many items featuring advanced materials and engineering. It seems like the living room gets all the good toys. To dispel the low-tech rep of our most personal spaces, we’ve rounded up some products that exemplify the 21st century bed and bath.
Bedroom 2.0: The ClassicBed (Queen with base, $1,999, Tempurpedic.com) is on the lower end of the Tempur-Pedics price range, but more expensive than the de luxe models of competing companies. The experience is a weird blend of weightlessness and complete support. Since the foam’s temperature equalizes with the body’s and pressure is distributed equally over the mattress’ surface, there are no unpleasant reminders that you’re lying on a solid, synthetic object.
The next generation: The electric blanket has made some advancements lately. The Sunbeam Slumber Rest blanket (Queen, $130, Sunbeambedding.com) has dual temperature controls, one for each side (there is even a preheat function to dull the shock of cold sheets). Now your partner can cuddle up in the four-five setting range while you can snooze with a one or two. And if you need a new wake-up system to persuade you to leave the comfy confines of the new bed and blanket, try the Philips AJL308 digital media clock ($130; Consumer.philips.com). It is a clever mash-up of digital photo frame, MP3 player and clock radio. You can wake up to your choice of environment sounds, FM radio, digital music files or your own video clips. A photo slide show displays your favourite pics. The USB transfer process between the unit and a PC was simple.
Air supply: We spend a good chunk of our lives in the bedroom, so the quality of air is critical to our good health. Air cleaning systems often are technically complex and require expensive filter replacements. The Air-O-Swiss AOS-2055 ($259, Plaston.com/uc) takes a simplified approach to air treatment. A row of thin plastic discs rotates through water inside the machine. The water on the surface of the discs humidifies the air, while attracting dust particles and pollutants. Thus, the air is “washed”. The Air-O-Swiss unit is simple to clean—just throw the innards in the dishwasher. The Air-O-Swiss AOL 7142 ($199) humidifies through more elevated technology. Its nearly silent ultrasonic process produces water vapour that vanishes into the air almost instantly. Like the AOS-2055, a replaceable cartridge releases silver ions into the water to kill bacteria; no chemical additives are used. The unit's hygrostat measures relative humidity, displays the current reading and only kicks in to maintain the user-selected level.
Super bowl: Japanese company Toto makes the rest of the world look clumsy and unclean when it comes to toilets and bidets. Comparing its Neorest 600 system ($5,200 to $5,980; Totoneorest.com) to a toilet is something like putting an abacus up against a PC. There are a host of comfort and cleaning features packed inside such a humble fixture. The lid opens silently as you approach and the seat is pre-heated in anticipation. At the end of your visit, the magic begins. A small washlet wand is extended into the bowl and a gentle sprinkle of water cleanses your underside. Maybe the water is too cool or you want to adjust the pressure or position of the spray. The wireless remote control handles all the Neorest functions, including the final blow-dry.
The power of clean: The Sonicare FlexCare with sanitizer ($170; Sonicare.com) is a dentist-grade tooth cleaner. The FlexCare has a handy one-minute cycle as well as a marathon three-minute session. Germaphobes will love the bacteria-blasting UV chamber that doubles as a brush headcase.
©2008/THE NEW YORK TIMES
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First Published: Wed, Jan 16 2008. 12 02 AM IST
More Topics: Bedroom | Bath | Bathroom | Gadgets | Blanket |