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Alt.CES: Wood-housed electronica: ostensibly green or faux-maker?

Computers & Mobile Craft & Design Energy & Sustainability
Alt.CES: Wood-housed electronica: ostensibly green or faux-maker?


altCES1.jpgOne of the products released at this year’s CES is iWave‘s Grass Roots Collection of personal electronics accessories — iPhone cases, earbuds, and earphones, all cased in recycled wood.

They’re due out Q2 of 2010 with a MSRP of $10-40.


iWave’s press release explains:

The design-forward electronic accessory company is offering its loyal customers the opportunity to enjoy the green lifestyle without having to sacrifice stylish appeal to do so. The Grass Roots Collection will offer a selection of accessory options, including headphones, earbuds and cases for the iPhone/iPod, all made from reusable, environmentally friendly and fully recyclable materials like plastic, wood and bamboo.

Setting aside for the moment whether Grass Roots accessories really are green — I’ll take their word for it — my first thought on looking at these was that they’re meant to look like DIYers modded them.

This begs the question: are we going to start seeing companies mimicking the garage-borne aesthetic of maker projects? What would headphones look like if Kaden Harris built them? Will the low-rez look of Makerbot output catch on?

Leave your thoughts in the comments section.

12 thoughts on “Alt.CES: Wood-housed electronica: ostensibly green or faux-maker?

  1. gyziger says:

    These do look pretty snazzy. I wouldn’t mind bagging a pair of those earphones.

  2. Al says:

    We’re blowing chunks of money to find magical widgets that can selectively filter carbon dioxide out of the air and turn into a form that’s easy to keep out of the carbon cycle. Or at least dramatically delay its reentry (a lessor effect, but still a real one).

    A tree does essentially exactly this. Iff you make sure to turn it into something wooden instead of letting it decompose back in the forest.

    Yes, it does seem mighty odd, but pattern cutting (to leave sufficient patches of true old growth), could easily top the charts of carbon sequestration methods.

    More durable goods (Houses, floors) should be better than relatively ephemeral goods (headphones). But even those headphones are going to be buried somewhere – not thrown into a compost heap.

    1. Al says:

      The replanting is actually the useful part, and I left that out, sorry. Young trees grow very fast, old trees – not so much.

  3. fubarator says:

    When this happens, the smooth curves of today’s solidworks-designed, injection-molded, non-maker digital cameras and mobile phones will look as dated as the original Ford Taurus. Time to buy new stuff.

  4. Don Simpson says:

    I’d get these wood items and carve them (maybe do inlay work also) with designs using small hand or power tools. Other people might like to use lasers.

  5. Anthony says:

    These electronic casings made of natural materials seem to be based off of William Gibson’s description of “Sandbenders” from his novel Idoru. Sandbender electronic gear, as described in the story, is made with a very maker-eque mindset, with the intention that end users can simply open up the electronics “guts”, and place them in these customized handmade cases. Gibson goes so far as to describe techniques that would later be posted about on this website! An excerpt:

    “Aluminum,” Chia said. “They melt old cans they dig up on the beach cast it in sand molds. These panels are micarta. That’s linen with this resin in it.”

    It seems Make magazine might lead to the creation of true Sandbenders. In other words, the Grass Roots Collection is ostensibly green, and faux-Sandbender, while the Sandbender aesthetic and philosophy is proto-Maker.

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal

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