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Ideal Home shows off an easy life

Robot gardeners and e-butlers take over world

From the mundane to the marvellous, this year's Ideal Home Show in London demonstrates an unstoppable trend: what was once a Jetsons-style dream home, stuffed with gadgetry, can now be yours.

Tiny was showing off portable DVD players and slimmest-ever laptop while, round the corner, a robotic lawnmower trundled about on fake grass. Stangest of all were the concept products on display that are barely off the design table.

One of the most double-edged devices shown off in the concept device area was the Jeeves Messenger. It's a sort of answerphone for real visitors. People who come to your house while you're out can leave a voice message for you to pick up on your return. Chances are you'll have to wade through hordes of salesmen's calls, but the idea has obvious pluses too.

Other strange but almost-true devices included the Windup Toothbrush, the Self-erecting Iron that always tips itself to the upright position (no more burnt shirts) and the Smart Mirror which will show how you would look in various outfits before you try them on.

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