Sitting at a desk all day isn’t the best thing for your health. But an extremely costly gadget to address that problem is a reminder that sometimes it’s possible to over-engineer a solution.
The Stir Kinetic desk is based around the idea that maintaining good health while working at a desk isn’t simply a matter of standing vs sitting, but rather that being in any position for too long is a bad idea.
While some simple solutions are possible, such as having adjustable legs on a desk to convert it to a “standing desk”, or simply having two desks at different heights, it’s also possible to buy desks with motors that raise or lower them to the height of your choice. The Associated Press notes these go for around $1,500.
However, Stir argues that this isn’t good enough and cites research showing that workers like the idea of a motorized desk but don’t bother actually using it in real life and just stick to one setting.
It’s answer is the Kinetic desk, which includes a built-in touchscreen gadget that’s Wi-Fi enabled for software updates. So what does this gadget actually do? Well, at predetermined intervals it shifts the desk up one inch and then back down an inch to serve as a reminder that it’s time to change position.
(This movement is known as Whisperbreath, and if you’re thinking like that’s the type of grand name Apple would give to a feature, that could be because the company was started by a former Apple engineer.)
Assuming you’re happy to make the change, you double-tap the screen to confirm and the desk then moves to your predetermined sitting or standing height; otherwise nothing happens.
If you’re thinking that makes the gadget nothing more than a kitchen timer, think again. It’s also got a motion sensor so the desk only shifts about when you are actually in front of it, plus an app that tracks how long you’ve been standing during the day and how many extra calories that’s burned off.
While it might seem as if you could get much the same effect by taping an iPod touch to the corner of an ordinary motorized desk, it turns out you pay quite the premium to have the gadget built into the corner of the desk and have a power cable the same color as the desk’s underside (choose from four colors.) The Stir Kinetic costs $3,890 plus $299 shipping.