Crowdfunding Spotlight: SmartWood

Crowdfunding Spotlight: SmartWood

May 28, 2014

Everyone likes building with their hands; the tactile feeling of cutting and joining two pieces of wood is something that is an innate experience as human beings. Now instead of a nice bedside table or cutting block wouldn’t it be nice to have a fully functioning RC car that communicates with virtually any smartphone? The technology is more than out there to be able to do this, and it is something that avid hobbyists have been doing for years. The problem is that even though it may seem simple enough from the surface it is a task that pulls from a lot of disciplines, computer science, electrical and mechanical engineering, and, of course, the ability to build a car from wood.

Fortunately, for the rest of us mortals the duo of Elad an Gili have created SmartWood which is essentially like a wooden K’Nex set. Simply labeling it as that, however, is selling the project short as it is much more complex than merely snapping a few pieces together and letting it go. Experience with hardware is a requirement as there are varying levels of gluing and screwing depending on which one of three designs is assembled, and for some SmartWood could make a great father/son bonding project.


Did I forget to mention that by the end of this there is a fully functioning RC car? Yeah, that is pretty awesome. This is done by means of an Arduino which connects with the SmartWood app via Bluetooth and gives the user full control of the vehicle right from their phone. This might not be complex, or exceedingly hands-on, but the ability to have a working Arduino powered motor assembly that natively works with a smartphone opens the doors for those who are looking to create more complex bodies and take this whole concept to the next level. So if one ever becomes bored with the standard tank, dragster, and truck offerings they are more than welcome to let their creativity shine with the assurance that they will have a reliable way of locomotion.

There is still 45 days to go and SmartWood is already nearly 20% funded so it is safe to say that it is not in desperate need of funding, but the stretch goals are fairly attractive and nothing is ever fully assured. Also, the rewards start at $39 for the control unit and $59 for the tank, or crawler. These seem reasonable and the quantities are limited so be sure to get in on the action before they are all sold out.

Theme Thursday: WOOD

Theme Thursday: WOOD

May 31, 2012

One surefire way to add a touch of elegance to any theme is to put a nice dark wood background. The folks at Lucky Art obviously realize that and have provided us with the best hardwood theme for GO Launcher aptly titled WOOD. The provided wallpaper is easily this theme’s strongest asset as the deep browns really pop, and they are just amazing. Unfortunately, I immediately recognized the background as simply a manipulated version of a black and white hardwood wallpaper that I used to employ as my wallpaper and actually have for my ChompSMS background. While this is a little disappointing it does not affect the overall quality of the look. Lastly, the dark background to the dock adds a nice sunken effect that will really add a lot to character to any home screen.

Easily the most perplexing part of this app is that it comes with absolutely no icons. Zero. Initially I was shocked and re-installed the app thinking there was a problem, but what the developer’s intended was to use GO Launcher’s default app selection and then utilize an attractive sunken square slot for all the other icons. I cannot decide wether this should be applauded for its efficiency or derided for its laziness because the default GO Launcher apps actually work very well in WOOD’s theme. The problem is GO Launcher does not come with very many icons, just enough to cover the basic phone functions with not even a Facebook icon.

This theme is best kept minimalistic on the home screen as the bare wood works well with a favorite text clock or something simple. Also, this is a darker theme so I would recommend using the transparency theme for GO Widgets. In conclusion, anyone looking to add the nice touch of modern hardwood to their phone should look no further than WOOD for GO Launcher by Lucky Art.