The SmartDesk AI Box has arrived

Unboxing the “World’s First Smart, Connected Office Desk”

I had been looking for a high quality, affordable standing desk for a long time, so when this Kickstarter campaign came along, I jumped in and bought their top of the line offering — the ‘Smart Model’ for $599+shipping.

It’s been a long wait to receive the complete product. The campaign ended on May 31st, 2015, and I just received the final ‘AI box’ component of my desk on April 18th, 2016.

The desk arrived in three shipments, spaced months apart:

  • The desk base and top arrived a few months ago. Its honestly quite good. The bamboo top looks great and the memory settings work great.
  • The ‘deluxe kit’ (USB charger, inductive charger, hooks and bluetooth speaker) arrived a month or so after that. Most parts look pretty good, sadly the speaker has a junky manual and it isn’t clear how to unpair and re-pair it with other devices after you have paired it with your first device.
  • The ‘smart box’ itself arrived just a day ago. The rest of this article is dedicated to the packaging and construction of the box — I haven’t had a chance to plug it in or evaluate it yet.

The smart module arrived in a stylish black box that is much larger than I expected. When I opened it up I found the box protected with generic foam — the kind that leaves static-clingy crumbs all over.

In addition to the module there is a single sheet of paper describing how to install and connect the module to your desk. There are no instructions on how to use the box once connected and powered on.

The smart box, unboxed

When I lifted the AI box out, I immediately heard something plastic rattling around inside the box, and looking through the slots I could see something loose inside. Since the back plate is held on with regular philips screws, I removed them.

The _inside_ of the smart box was also covered in foam packing flakes

The inside of the box is pretty sparse: A Raspberry Pi, USB to Audio Adapter, and a USB-powered speaker box. The Pi also has a WiFi adapter plugged in. The total cost for the parts from Amazon would be around $70:

You can see the components below, along with more loose packing foam:

The inside of the AI box

The front of the plastic casing for the audio adapter is nowhere to be found, but the back was in the box loose:

The speaker is held in with plastic ties and the controls are locked with hot glue:

The box connects to the desk’s controller with an RJ11 plug which is wired to the Pi’s GPIO pins. The box also has two separate USB power plugs, one for the Pi and another for the speaker, as well as a round microphone which is supposed to go on your desktop.

Honestly, when I backed this campaign I was expecting a more integrated product, I am not thrilled with the build quality. It feels like the output of a final project for a semester long engineering course.

Hopefully I’ll be impressed when I finally get a chance to install the box and figure out how to use it.

You can check out the SmartDesk yourself at