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Things we find along the way…

Five Wooden Gadgets

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As technology continues on its upward trajectory, designers
occasionally grow nostalgic for simpler forms. Consumers also want the
basic aesthetics of yesterday, without sacrificing the technological
advances of today. One way to get the best of both worlds is wood-based
electronics. Whether for the eco-minded, who prefer it to
non-biodegradable plastic, or for pure classicists who are charmed by
its timelessness, the wooden form is at once visually striking and
practical. Here are some of the better examples we’ve come across
recently.

magna_large.jpg magna_small.jpg

Magno Wooden Radio
The Magno radio is the brainchild of Indonesian entrepreneur Singgih
Kartono. Handmade by local carpenters from sustainably-harvested wood,
it comes in two sizes (pictured above). In addition to AM and FM
frequencies, Kartono satisfies the true retro-philes with two bands of
shortwave radio. He also bows to modern conventions by including MP3
compatibility. It’s currently available from Areaware, with the small version costing $200 and the larger $250.

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Maple Phone
The Maple Phone was designed by Hyun Jin Yoon and Eun Hak Lee, who won
the silver at this year’s International Design Excellence Awards. It’s
comprised of two slender pieces of maple that function as a slider,
revealing the LCD display stored inside. A sensor on the back turns the
block of wood into a fully functional, touch-sensitive phone with MP3
compatibility and a digital camera. Though still in prototype form, the
creators expect to manufacture the phone at an affordable rate so that
it’s available on a large scale. Keep an eye on the designers’ blog for production updates.

Swedx
Since 2002, this Swedish company has been producing electronics
embedded in polished wood. They claim to bring a “more human” feeling
by using warm, natural materials on their computer monitors, television
screens and accessories. But despite the unconventional material, they
didn’t skimp on technology. Their engineers designed one of the world’s
thinnest TFT-LCD monitors and didn’t sacrifice on usability. Swedx
products cost are close to the industry standard, and you can buy them
from their website.

 

David Burel Plywood Headphones
These distinctive headphones are as elegant as they are simplistic.
Dissatisfied with wood used as a marketing device for
environmentalists, David Burel made sure his phones made wood an
integral feature of the design. The “wood arch” is made from Finnish
birch plywood and uses the same molding technique employed by furniture
and skateboard designers. The resulting arch has a width of 1.2mm, so
it’s lightweight and flexible, while providing the precise, resonant
sound that only wood can produce. They’re being launched under the
title The Perfect Unison,
where you can preorder one of 100 units currently in production. Since
they’re made from one continuous piece, you’ll have to measure your
head for proper sizing. While it ensures a perfect fit, it’s also a
built-in excuse to reject your friends’ request borrow them.

plywood-headphones.jpg wood_clock.jpg

Wooden LED Clock
This clever timepiece looks like an ordinary block of wood when it’s
deactivated. Once operational, thought, an interior light lets the
numbers glow from behind its surface. It can be run like a normal clock
with a constant display, with the digits flashing every 2.5 seconds or
in “slide mode,” where the numbers scroll one digit at a time every
minute. It doesn’t have an alarm or any advanced features, but what it
lacks in function, it makes up for with eye-catching fashion. You can
buy one for $150 at ThinkGeek.

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Written by tokkipipi

August 17, 2008 at 11:09 pm

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