By now we've all likely heard the deafening buzz proclaiming that sitting is the new smoking; sitting is ruining our bodies and irreparably hunching our backs; sitting is going to be the death of us all, dammit. But are you ready to give up the passive, sedentary pseudo-comfort of a long day spent in a chair? Can you commit to a standing workstation?
Stir is a new "kinetic desk" that wants to give you the best of both worlds with the least amount of possible effort on your part, chock full of smart tech hidden within its unassuming, clean-lined frame. It's the brainchild of JP Labrosse, an original-iPod-era Apple alum who was first introduced to the concept of on-your-feet productivity at the tech giant's HQ back in the day, by colleagues using early models that were hand-cranked to change heights.
Stir is about as far from hand-cranking as it comes. Sidle up to the front of the desk, and a thermal presence sensor will activate the capacitive touchscreen — about the size of an iPhone — that's set flush into the lower left corner of the surface. Simple swipes and taps allow you to navigate the clean interface, which not only lets you preset heights — achieved quietly via telescoping tubes in the legs — but also clocks calories burned in either position (it should come as no surprise that standing comes out tops here as well).
It can also learn your habits, and suggest a position-change with a little one-inch up, one-inch down manoeuvre meant to mimic the pace of a human breath. There are two built-in boxes on top with outlets and space for cable storage, and the whole thing is Wi-Fi and bluetooth enabled and Fitbit compatible.
I'll cop to being sceptical of movement-tracking smart tech, which sometimes seems to quantify data for the sake of quantifying data; but I've also spent many a weekday without leaving my sofa, simply because that's where I happened to open up my laptop first thing in the morning. It's all too easy to get caught up in whatever the hell is going on online, and this takes pretty much all the effort out of putting a little more effort into your stance and posture.
Stir's retail price will set you back a cool $US3890. That's way cost-prohibitive for most work-from-homers I know (myself most certainly included), and it's tough to imagine a sea of ever-rising and -falling desks not being a bit of a distraction in an office environment. However, if you've got the cash, and the space, and the will to stretch your legs, it might be a nice investment. Sign up at Stir for pre-order and shipping info.