We may be surrounded by gadgetry clad in shiny aluminum and gaudy plastic, but there's still a place left in the digital age for the comfort, simplicity and beauty of wood. Perhaps its the trend towards a "green" aesthetic or some deeper drive to get back to nature, but we've noticed a growing number of consumer electronics offerings in recent times that mesh circuit boards and synthetics with the wonders of wood. With this in mind, we've scoured our resources to come up with this list of Gizmag's top ten wooden gadgets.
OOOMS Wooden USB StickOOOMS, a design company based in The Netherlands, has created a USB stick that is made of … a stick. The creators literally pick up sticks, based on quality and appearance, and professionally work them into unique USB sticks that can hold from 2 to 16 Gb.
Wooden RecordsAmanda Ghassaei has developed a laser cutting system that can carve music into a wooden record. After pulling audio from a WAV file with Python software, Ghassaei uses a customized processing script to create a PDF of a vector graphic from the data. Using an Epilog Legend EXT laser cutter, the sound data is etched into a wooden disk that is playable on a record player. Though the sound quality suffers due to the low resolution of the cutter, this is definitely a stylish way to represent your music collection.
The Jupiter MouseThis accelerometer mouse from Actbrise Electronics is handmade from Chinese flowering ash. The woodgrain patterns and buttons resemble the storm swirling on our solar system’s largest planet, earning this gadget its namesake. Holding the sphere in your hand, the cursor on-screen moves in the direction and velocity dictated by the tilt of the mouse. This is not only a new way to operate your computer, it is stylish as well.
Griffin Technologies’ Wooden Earbuds
These earbuds are made from bits of exotic scraps that have found their way to the floors of workshops. The wooden design is not only eco-friendly, but also adds volume without distortion or coloring. The hand-polished earbuds accentuate vocals and bass, according to the creators, with a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, 103 dB sensitivity (± 3 dB) and 16 ohms impedance at ± 15 percent, all while providing a uniquely natural digital accessory.
Level Eleven ComputerThe Level Eleven computer, from designer Jeffrey Stephenson, has a minimalist retro feel. It is a fully-functional, solid-state, Intel-based computer that is powered by a VIA P820 Pico-ITX mainboard with a 1.2 GHz VIA Nano 64-bit CPU. With a Pioneer slimline optical drive, this o'natural computer operates a 64-bit Windows 7 operating system. The system is ventilated by stainless steel inlet vents at the bottom of each hard Pennsylvania cherry enclosure box. A dash of 70s class for the office?
The Ultimate Gaming SystemBen Heck, professional modder and pinball extraordinaire, managed to jam an Xbox360, a Nintendo WiiU, and a PS3 into one wood-encased system. The system allows all three gaming systems to function through a single connection to the TV, and it houses a wooden switch to toggle between units. The housing is custom laser-cut wood, giving this high-tech toy a woodland finish.
Wooden LED ClockThis simplistic design looks like a boring block of wood, until it is turned on. Using LED lights layered under a wood veneer, the time is displayed in digital brilliance.
Kisai Maru WoodFor those who like to keep the time while staying in tune with nature, the Kisai Maru Wood watch displays the time in a mirrored LCD that is surrounded by an elegant wooden case. At first glance, the orbiting rings display is an intriguing way to tell the time, but each watch also has a unique color and grain pattern as well. These timepieces are created from natural wood, either red sandalwood or maple.
Moto X smartphoneMotorola has even jumped on the wood-encased bandwagon. The new Moto X totes an array of customization options, one of which includes a wooden chassis with a unique grain finish.
Moss covered keyboardRobbie Tilton has taken a new angle on Apple’s streamline metal finish with his wooden-key, moss-covered wireless keyboard. After creating a CAD model, Tilton laser-cut the keys from two sheets of wood and added rubber springs to give them functionality. The moss is fake, but incredibly authentic-looking, giving the keyboard that final, woodsy touch. Tilton’s design was a deliberate contrast to the cold look of the technology, and though the keyboard was a one-off piece, it is completely functional.
Are there any intriguing gadgets that you’ve seen made out of wood? Let us know in the comments below.