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    Kyoto Talks

    6 Cool Gadgets You Need in your Bedroom

    6 Cool Gadgets You Need in your Bedroom

    From the iPhone to self-driving cars, technology has certainly come a long way in the last decade. A new gadget’s success is largely dependant on the usability and convenience it provides to the end user. And while industries from communication to transportation have been revolutionized in recent years and plenty of coverage along the way, one department of innovation that gets less attention is the bedroom. A wave of new tools and resources have given birth to brand new sleep experiences and the. Here are 6 of the coolest ones out there now.

    1. Smart Blinds - FlipFlic

    FlipFlic, a compact solar-powered device basically controls your blinds in seconds with no tools. The gadget adjusts window blinds based on sunlight, temperature, or a schedule set in the app to provide energy savings. The smart bedroom accessory is practical but comes at a steep price. FlipFlic is currently going through the crowdfunding rounds and taking pre-orders online.

     

    2. Smart Sensors - Sense

    This beautiful, sleek looking device tells you everything you want to know about your sleep; from how well you slept last night to how long you were actually asleep for. Sense can act as an alarm clock and is packed with sensors that monitor the conditions in your bedroom, giving you insight into how your environment affects your sleep. The wide range of information and data that Sense provides allows you to discover patterns to help you sleep better.

     

    3. Under the bed night lights


    Ok, maybe not so much of a tech innovation, but a functional tool nonetheless. We’ve all been there, waking up in the middle of the night scrambling get to the washroom, tripping over everything in our path. Under the bed nightlights provide a dim illumination while making your room look pretty slick at the same time. It's motioned activated too, only going on when you step out of bed and not disturbing you while you sleep.

     

    4. Thermostat - Nest Thermostat

    This one is a pretty cool one. Smart thermostat, Nest, uses technology to figure out your daily schedule as well as your heating and cooling preferences to reduce your energy usage and save you money. The device on your wall lights up when you walk into the room and shows you the temperature, weather or the time. With interconnectivity to your phone, it can also send you an alert if there’s something wrong like your furnace acting up. Google actually loved the product so much that back in January 2014, they announced plans to acquire Nest Labs for $3.2 billion in cash.

    5. Mattress - The Jupiter+

    What’s a bedroom full of gadgets without a smart mattress? The Jupiter is one of many smart mattresses that built with a dynamic reactive foam that measures your nightly sleep patterns, manages your bed temperature and integrates with your smartphone. With a better sense of your nightly sleep routines, you asses optimal sleep times to allow you to sleep longer and deeper.

     

    6. Alarm Clock - Ramos Alarm Clock

    With all these cool gadgets designed to help you sleep better, you’re going to need something to help wake you up out of your deep, peaceful sleep. In order to turn off the Ramos Alarm Clock from its wake up call, you actually have to get out of bed. No, the snooze button won’t bail you out of this one. This alarm clock is genius for all you snooze-button abusing, morning-rushers out there.

     

    Bonus: Kyoto Threads Bedding

    At Kyoto Threads, we’ve spent countless hours developing a bed sheet that conquers all bedding. The result? A healthy, more sustainable bed sheet with maximum comfort. Using bamboo as a raw material, a lyocell fibre and a plant-based dying process, our bed sheets offer a luxurious and silky feel while eliminating harmful toxins and maintaining a sustainable and environmentally friendly approach. They're really the first of their kind!


    Check us out now live on Kickstarter and order your set at these wonderful Kickstarter prices.

    8 Unusual Uses For Bamboo

    8 Unusual Uses For Bamboo

    Bamboo is a fascinating plant. Some people only know it as nutrition Pandas love to snack on, but in reality the plant has a variety of practical uses that humans have leveraged for thousands of years. Not only is Bamboo a multi-practical plant, it is also an extremely sustainable one that is good for our planet.  Did you know that bamboo is one of the fastest growing natural resources on the planet (it can grow up to one yard per day). While bamboo uses only 12 gallons of water to produce one pound of fabric, cotton requires over 200 times more. Also, bamboo does not require replanting after harvesting because its vast root network continually sprouts new stems. The roots pull in sunlight and greenhouse gases and convert them into new green growth. Bamboo grows without the the need for petroleum-guzzling tractors and poisonous pesticides and fertilizers and in fact when Japan’s Hiroshima was bombed, Bamboo was the first plant to grow back, bringing green back to the land. With all the amazing benefits that come from this plant, here are some of the ways it can be put to work.

     

  • 1. Building roads

  • While Bamboo is used in road construction all over the world, you are more likely to see bamboo weaved into roads in places like India and China. Bamboo bridges have been built in China capable of supporting trucks that weigh as much as 16 tons. Bridges and roads built from bamboo instead of steel provide a cheaper, more environmentally sustainable engineering solution.

     

    2. Rugs

    Bamboo rugs actually add a beautiful element to your home decor and can provide many practical benefits. Using them in your main entrance can help prevent dirt from being tracked into your home. Bamboo rugs also bring natural warmth to your house and are very easy to clean. Not only are bamboo rugs are smart choice, but they also add a great conversational piece to your home.

     

    3. Nutritional / medicinal purposes

    Bamboo is used extensively in Asian cooking for its medicinal purposes. The most edible part of the plant is the shoots which can be found in markets in various forms including canned, dried, and frozen. Bamboo leaves have antioxidant properties, have a low calorie count, are high in dietary fiber and are healthy for the skin. Medicinal uses include helping women regulate their menstrual cycle, easing labor pain in late stages of pregnancy, treating wounds and ulcers, curing stomach symptoms like indigestion and diarrhea, control blood pressure, reduce cholesterol and much, much more.

    Sounds like a miracle plant if you ask me!

    4. Weapons

    Bamboo has often been used to construct weapons and is still incorporated in several Asian martial arts. Bamboo is naturally suited to blow guns, as you’d often see in movies. Bamboo is used as a staff with one end sharpened off in the martial art of silambam. Bamboo can also be turned into swords, bows and the first gunpowder-based weapons. The light weight of the plant is what makes it so favourable in the use of weaponry.

    5. Musical Instruments

    If you’ve ever held a piece of bamboo before, you know that the insides are completely hollowed out. If you have a musical inclination, you were surely tempted to use the bamboo staff as an instrument, blowing through the ends. The most common bamboo instrument is (obviously) the flute but it can be made into other instruments as well including slit drums, guitars, and ukuleles.

    6. Beer!

    No this is not made up, bamboo beer really exists! And it’s not some special alcoholic drink for Pandas celebrating their birthdays. Bamboo breweries harness the plant, more specifically, the leaves, to create a sweet and refreshing taste.

     

    7. Houses and Schools

    According to UNESCO, 70 hectares of bamboo produce enough of the material to build 1000 bamboo houses. If timber was used instead, it would require the felling of trees from an already diminishing forest. Today, over one billion people in the world live in bamboo houses. There are also places in Bali, Indonesia and other parts of Asia that offer hotels made entirely of bamboo creating a pretty unique experience.

     

    8. Bedding

    As durable as bamboo is, it can actually be woven into one of the most soft, comfortable fabrics on earth. Bamboo bedding is often compared to silk because of it’s soft and cozy feel. At Kyoto Threads, we’re actually leveraging the sustainability of bamboo to create one of the most innovative bed sheets on the planet. Check us out now, live on Kickstarter!

    Kyoto Threads visits Kyoto, Japan

    Kyoto Threads visits Kyoto, Japan

    In case you were wondering, things have been pretty busy here at the Kyoto Threads headquarters in Montreal, Canada. We’re officially going live on Kickstarter on Thursday, October 26th and have been running around making sure we have everything in order to deliver an awesome Kickstarter experience for our backers. But that didn’t stop me from taking a trip earlier this month to where all the inspiration began - the world’s largest bamboo forest in Kyoto, Japan.


    If you aren’t already familiar, here’s a little background of what we do. We’ve been selling bamboo bed sheets online for over 5 years now over at Bamboo Sheets Shop. From the moment my co-founder Allan and I discovered the luxurious silky feel and comfort bamboo can be woven into, we’ve made it our mission to provide this sleep experience with as many people as possible. In recent years, we’ve discovered ways to innovate and develop a healthier, more sustainable bamboo bed sheet. The result is an earth-friendly linen product made using bamboo as a raw material, a lyocell fiber and non-toxic, plant-based dyeing process. This revolutionary new bed sheet is being launched under our new, conveniently named brand, Kyoto Threads.


    What’s the significance behind the name, you ask? Well, Kyoto is not only a city in Japan that houses the world’s largest bamboo forest, but it also shares the name of the Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement passed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which commits its parties by setting internationally binding emission reduction targets. The protocol is a commitment to a greener earth and so using the name in our brand requires a certain level of responsibility. We proud to say that the essence of what we as a brand are trying to achieve aligns with the values of Kyoto.


    But launching a brand that borrows the sacred Kyoto name without actually visiting the city and walking the infamous forest wouldn’t make much sense, now would it? I knew that I had to see the city and visit the forest myself so I packed my bags, reluctantly entrusted my partner Allan with the responsibilities of organizing our campaign and flew 20+ hours across the globe to Japan. And let me tell you - the experience couldn’t be more worth it!

     

    The morning of October 9th I got up bright and early to head over to start my journey through the enchanting Sagano Bamboo Forest. A short 45-minute train ride later, I arrived at the edge of the forest with my guide, Reo. Normally most people go during the spring and fall for the cherry blossoms or autumn for the brilliant colors of its maple leaves. We also happened to be there during a Japanese holiday, rendering the shade-ridden paths crammed with mesmerized tourists. The towering green stalks of the famously versatile plant look down on you as they shifted back-and-forth in the wind. The forest is made entirely of bamboo with the exception of a paved path cut out for it. The path connects the Tenryuji Temple and the Nonomiya Shrine and is approximately 300m long and accessible from the main street in Arashiyama.

    Despite the many upward looking, camera-in-hand tourists that lined the path, I felt a strong sense of calm and tranquility in the forest.  My experience visiting this forest has allowed me to feel closer to our brand and the strong mission that it encompasses. I couldn’t be more excited to come home and launch this campaign designed to bring a healthier, more sustainable bed sheet to a market that so desperately needs this alternative right now. For more on our inspiration behind Kyoto Threads, check out this post!

    Scroll down for more picture on my journey through the forest.

    On behalf of everyone on the Kyoto Threads team, I want to thank you for your help and support in bringing this new product to market.

    6 toxic products your probably use everyday

    6 toxic products your probably use everyday

    We often buy products for the convenient features they offer. They often help us get jobs done quicker and more efficiently or provide us with a quick fix for one of our problems. We become so used to using these everyday items that we sometimes forget to think about the harmful effects they could have on our body or even the environment. There are many items you likely have in your home that you probably didn’t know were toxic. Here are the 6 of most common ones that might shock you:

    1. Plastic Food Containers

    We all have them. They’re perfect to bring those leftover dinners to work the next day. Unfortunately, plastic breaks down over time, especially after countless times of running them through the dishwasher. Once the breakdown begins, the plastic releases dangerous chemicals into your food. Another thing you should make sure to never do is put the plastic containers in the microwave. The alternative: switch to glass containers (and make sure not to drop them)!

    2. Air Fresheners

    You just cooked a delicious fish filet for dinner and now are expecting guests over for a couple of drinks. It’s easy to turn to air fresheners to tidy up the fishy smell in the house. The problem is, anything you breathe in eventually ends up in your bloodstream. This includes scented spray cans, scented candles, and plug-ins, all of which contain phthalates chemicals which have been linked to reproductive problems. The alternative: switch to candles made with essential oils and fresh flowers to freshen up your home.

    3. Antiperspirants

    You definitely don’t want to be that person that reeks of B.O. on the crowded, humid bus ride. But many antiperspirants use aluminum-based compounds and other toxic chemicals which are absorbed into sweat glands. This doesn’t sound like the best option for your body. So how do we stay smelling clean and fresh throughout the day? The alternative: look for aluminum-free antiperspirants and chemical-free brands of natural deodorants.

    4. Perfumes

    Are you noticing a trend here? Anything that makes us smell good, or the air around us smell good, could potentially pose a threat to your health. Perfumes can translate to a product containing upwards of 300 chemical ingredients. To further the problem of perfumes, their makers won’t release lists of the exact ingredients for fear of divulging secrets to their competitors. Ahh, the struggles of smelling good! The alternative: switch to products that are scented with natural oils.

    5. Nonstick Pans

    We all dread the sticky mess found at the bottom of pans that come as a result of cooking a delicious meal. For that, we turn to nonstick pans to save us from hours of scrubbing. The problem is many nonstick pans contain trace amounts of a chemical called perfluorooctanoic acid which has been shown to cause cancer in laboratory animals. Over multiple uses of these pans, the nonstick lining scratch or chip off into your food. The alternative: use cast iron or stainless steel cookware, and natural, non-stick sprays such as olive oil.

    6. Cotton Bedsheets

    That’s right, your bed sheets! The very thing you lay on every night when you go to sleep. Heavy amounts of pesticides and fertilizers are used in the production of cotton with 25% of the world’s pesticides and 7% of the world’s fertilizers coming from cotton. On top of that, the dyes that give your sheets color contain high amounts of toxic chemicals. The alternative: switch to bamboo bed sheets with a natural dyeing process.

    In fact, Kyoto Threads is working on precisely that. We’re launching our Kickstarter campaign for our bamboo bed sheets with a natural, plant-based dye on October 26th.

    Here are three key features that make these sheets so special:

    1. They’re made from the incredibly sustainable bamboo raw material
    2. The fibre is made using lyocell, a closed-loop process to recapture and reuse 99% of the chemical solution resulting in minimal environmental impact and economical use of both energy and water
    3. The sheets incorporate an incredible new plant-based dyeing process based on traditional Asian medicinal roots, fruits, and vegetables — completely non-toxic and gentle on the skin!

    BONUS: the sheets have that incredibly soft and silky feel that makes getting out of bed an incredibly difficult task.

    Keep up to date with our campaign by subscribing here. By entering your email, you’ll automatically be entered to win a free set of sheets!