A company called Autonomous has come out with an “AI” powered standing desk. Basically this is a desk that raises and lowers like a regular standing desk, but also has a 7″ Tablet built into it that will try to help you with your work day. The idea being that the desk will learn your habits and then start giving you recommendations and support.
This has the features you would expect in an intelligent piece of furniture. It knows how long it’s been since you used the desk in the standing position so it can bug you to stand up for awhile when you’re working. It reminds you do do things like drink water, and eat to keep you at your best. It syncs with your Google calendar to try to make sure you’re taking care of yourself, and allows you do to things like order and Uber, or food delivery right from the desk.
As someone who owns a standing desk from UpliftDesk I can personally say how much I love being able to switch from sitting to standing. I sit while watching videos and doing research, then standing helps me focus on writing. From a purchasing standpoint I’m a bit lost as to why I would buy a SmartDesk3 specifically. My iPhone is generally sitting face up on my desk when I’m working so the built in tablet seems like you’re paying for a less functional copy of what every office worker already has. Additionally since it seems to run it’s own OS and apps you have to question how long the device will be supported. The standing desk that I have will be good as new for a decade. It seems like adding a built in tablet simply creates scheduled obsolescence.
I find the SmartDesk3 to be far more interesting from a proof of concept model. When people talk about AR they generally talk about some type of video overlay over your regular vision. As a 41 year old “geezer” I have said for awhile that overlaying additional information over my regular sight would make me nauseous. I’ve played with some of the best AR units out there, and the problem is not one of technology rather the core idea feels generally horrible. I’ve talked about how I prefer an AR world more like what I have when I’m towing my travel trailer. I own a Dezl model GPS for truck drivers. Not only does it tell me where to turn, but it also tells me distances to the next 100 truck stops on the way, gas stations, ATM’s and restaurants. When I’m only getting 10 miles a gallon it’s a life saver to see whether I should stop for gas now, or if I can keep going for another 60 miles. The Dezl gives me an augmented view of reality, without making me go ADD.
I think the SmartDesk3 shows the future of “smart” equipment that can give users a wider knowledge of the world around them. Imagine if the SmartDesk used an Apple Watch as a form of authentication and so you could have it become a terminal for whatever you are doing without needing your phone of computer. Imagine using these for an office wide notification system so if there was an emergency, or HR needs a form from everyone a message can pop up on all desks. You could use these as a form of internal geolocation so if you need to talk to someone you could know exactly what desk they are using that day. I can see a lot of possibilities for this idea, even if the product itself seems questionable.
My quibble with the desk is beyond the question of obsolescence. Beyond the issue of what OS it runs and if it will be updated and cared about by app creators. The main issue is that they didn’t even make the darn thing spill proof:
Is the touchscreen waterproof or water resistant?
- No, the touchscreen is not waterproof. There is no need to worry about a few drops or a small splash, but we recommend drying the touchscreen as fast as possible and avoiding large spills.
If this isn’t a perfect example of why so many interesting products are so horrible in the real world I don’t know what is. “…Avoid large spills…”, no crap, but in the real world people spill stuff. You’re looking at a $549 desk that you can’t spill anything on… ever… The CEO that green lit this should get smack on the nose.
I’d recommend taking a look at the SmartDesk3 as a proof of concept, and if you don’t already own a standing desk that you should look into it. I personally own one from UpliftDesk, but I have the sneaky suspicion that all the standing desk companies are really selling essentially the exact same product as a base model: https://www.autonomous.ai