Greengates Builders Merchants

Ideal Homes Show

In the Grand Technology section of the Grand Designs Live Birmingham show, which ran from 7-9 October, there was a house of the future exhibit which showcased a range of products that could bring a touch of hi-tech to our homes.

This intriguing item is called the Long Form Library. It's a 2.5m ring that you can sit inside - with enough space to store several hundred books as well. Around the circumference are 16 glowing lights, while the hull of the library rocks when you are sitting within it. It certainly makes a change from a Kindle.

The S-Box storage devices uses up dead space in your home's work surfaces and cupboard tops. Press the top of an S-Box and it rises into view. When you're finished with it, you can push it back down again. The current range includes a TV Box (including a 19-inch TV with DVD Player), iDock Box (including a iPod dock), Power Box, Knife Box (including five knives), Spice Box (including 10 spice jars) and Key Box.

An add-on for your existing bath enables you to remotely fill the tub from wherever you are using an application for your mobile phone. You're able to choose the depth and temperature you require, and even select additional fragrances and bubble bath. Its makers claim the gadget can boast eco-friendly credentials, since it will use no more water than you need.

The EasyBloom Plant Sensor is a gardening gadget that can monitor the sun, soil moisture, soil fertility and temperature in your garden. It can also tell you whether you're over watering or under watering, or whether your plant needs different light or soil conditions.

Smart-Tint glass instantly switches from clear to opaque and back at the flick of a switch this is a bit more high-tech than net curtains!

The Robo TAP is one of the products from this year's Electrolux Design Lab competition. It's still at the concept product stage, but the idea is a clever one that evolves the robotic vacuum cleaner. The Robo TAP will patrol your rooms, vacuuming as it goes. The ingenious part is that it will come running to clean up a particular area when the user taps twice on the floor with their foot.

“some pretty good new inventions here, if they work” says Greengates Builders Merchants Accrington, Lancashire.