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Get yourself an Ideal Home

Future of living starts tomorrow

Tomorrow sees the first day of the Ideal Home Show 2002. Held as usual at London's Earl's Court, the exhibition has a few interesting treats — PC Advisor went to the preview day this morning to have a look.

If you happen to slip along, you should be told that stand workers were greasing up their sales patter on unsuspecting and hungover journalists this morning, so standard Home Show advice applies: leave your wallet at home.

Once there, avoid the displays of overpriced marble furniture and flatpack showhomes and head straight for the Concept Products are. Here, you'll find the sort of stuff you could be using in the not-too-distant future and you can even vote for your favourite to help it reach that goal.

Our picks for mass production include the natty-looking Egg Plug, a round rubberised version of a standard electrical plug that can withstand being kicked by those too lazy to bend down and plug it in properly and those with bad backs who can't. It's also got a built-in bulb which makes it an ideal low-energy nightlight.

We also like the look of the solar-powered lighting unit called Solsken concealed in a Venetian blind. The batteries charge during the day and, in the evening the LEDs illuminate, producing a moonlight effect for up to seven hours.

Finally, scalding or freezing baths could be a thing of the past with the Bath-Butler which stores details of individual's preferences for that elusive perfect water temperature. The Bath-Butler can be fitted to your existing tub, so it should be fairly cost-effective to install.

Outside of possible futures the RAC was showing off a driving simulator (pictured) that can teach you from scratch how to drive before you ever get behind a 'real' wheel. We tried use of the handbrake at 70mph. Expected results followed. Outstanding.

To see these and other innovative product designs, check out the Ideal Home Show's website at www.idealhomeshow.co.uk or order your tickets by calling 0870 606 6080.

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