World’s First Smart Desk

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Thursday, October 9th, 2014
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You may want to sit down for this. Then get up. Then sit down again.

That’s because there’s a desk out there that tells you to do exactly that.

The Stir Kinetic is probably the world’s first “smart” desk. It has a built-in touch screen, so you can see this either as a desk with a smartphone in it or a smartphone with a desk attached.

Why does a desk need to be smart? One answer is that it has motors and needs smarts to control them. The motors raise and lower the desk surface. You program it with the height you need for sitting and the height you need for standing. It moves, quietly, between them.

The other reason the desk needs smarts is that you don’t have them. Well, not you, in particular, but people like you. Apparently we know that sitting all day is not good for us, but when we get motorised desks, we don’t use them very much.

“Users were, in general, positive to the worktables, but showed poor compliance in using them,” as some Swedish researchers put it in 2005.

Stir was founded by a former Apple engineer, making it sort of like the Nest thermostat of desks. Both are everyday objects imbued with top-notch software. The Nest figures out when you’re home and varies the temperature accordingly; the Stir desk knows if you’re in front of it.

The Stir knows if it’s at the standing or sitting level and keeps track of how long you’ve been in that position.

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After 20 minutes or whatever interval you select, it will tell you to switch positions. It does so by “breathing” – it gently moves up an inch, then settles down.

Nothing further happens unless you tap the touch screen twice to confirm you want to change positions.

 

By Peter Svensson
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