Stir’s Kinetic F1: The world’s smartest electronic standing desk and it is cheaper …

23 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

A Smart Office Desk That Tells You When It’s Time to Stand.

The new Stir Kinetic Desk M1 is a “smart desk” that learns your daily routine, gently notifies you of the best times to sit and stand, and raises and lowers itself with its quiet motorized legs.Ever since 2011, when the voluble venture capitalist Marc Andreessen famously stipulated that “software is eating the world,” entrepreneurs have been kicking the tires on his hypothesis in new areas.

One year ago a virtually unknown startup that comes with the tag Stir captured the limelight as it rolled out what many industry analysts described as the world’s smartest desk. Almost a year and a half ago, a small startup called Stir decided to try and sell an adjustable standing desk for the seemingly outrageous sum of $3,890. It’s the second desk in Stir’s lineup, and the specs are impressive for a desk: a 1GHz CPU, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, and a 5-inch touchscreen console that runs Linux. The Stir Kinect Desk M1 comes with built-in electronics and a motor that lowers or raises the desk so that you can either sit in front of it or stand at different times in the day.

Back then, software was already eating giant economic sectors like retail (Amazon), video distribution (Netflix and YouTube) and music (iTunes, Pandora and Spotify). Dubbed as the Kinetic F1, this first of its kind smart electronic standing desk features variable height controls, touch screen panel display, and versatile software which is a perfect fit for those who lingers to keep up with their activities to get acquainted well with their habits. This smart standing desk has a built-in small touchscreen computer that syncs up with Fitbits, letting it both adjust your workspace and tell you when to take a break.

That price accounted for the best, quietest mechanical motorized legs the company could find, as well as a beautiful, hard-coated polymer surface — but it also accounted for hardware that helped the desk learn your sitting and standing habits to encourage you to stand up more frequently. With a Fitbit, and the M1 connected to your Wi-Fi network, the desk can recognize when you’re nearby and adjust itself in response to your presets: whether or not you want it at a sit-down or stand-up height, for instance. It’s one more example of how connected our world is becoming, as it’s another example of the Internet of Things, or smart and connected everyday objects.

There’s now evidence that software may eat transportation (Uber and self-driving cars) and even lowly home devices like thermostats and fire alarms (Nest). Though the sweeping features were overwhelming the desk is beyond the reach to many as it is fetched at a price of more than $4,000, making it one of the most expensive desks in the market. There’s no need to log in to the desk: The M1 detects the presence of the Fitbit (but no other fitness trackers, unfortunately) and can raise or lower itself depending on your preferred preset. But here’s something to cheer about especially for fans and would be fans of Stir as the company has just launched the Kinetic M1, which comes with more enhanced add-ons but still retains the functionality and many features of its precursor.

It has a new design, all the features of last year’s model, and a significantly lower starting price. $2,990 is still a huge chunk of change, but knocking $1,000 off the entry price point will likely open up Stir to an entirely new market — indeed, the company is positioning this model as something that they’ll take custom orders on for businesses who want to buy in bulk, though consumers are still welcome to buy as well. If you haven’t moved enough during the day, and you’re off pace for meeting fitness goals, the M1 can remind you to move using a feature Stir calls “WhisperBreath.” The desk surface moves up an inch, and then back down, a little nudge to get you moving. The most notable thing I noticed when checking out the M1 was its new design — rather than a thick, rectangular slab of painted and treated wood, the M1 has gentle curves and a much thinner profile. Keep in mind that the longer one will use the desk the better as it gets it in getting familiar with the habits, monitor the length of time while standing and can be modified to come up with goals to keep the user stand up and be more dynamic all day long.

There’s a subtle motion that’s patterned after an actual human breath—Stir calls it “Whisperbreath”—to let you know it’s time to get up and move around a bit. A less expensive finish and a thinner piece of wood are major components in what let Stir knock the price down, but for my money the new shape is a definite improvement over the original. The M1 won’t be cheap at $2,990 (shipping included), but it is less than the company’s current flagship desk, the F1, which sells for $4,190 and has received a software updated to include all the same new software features of the new M1. According to the markdown in could have been the result of Stir’s restructuring of its production processes and at the end of the day, the consumers and businessmen will inevitably be benefited with this development. The data isn’t just based on the desk’s position—thermal sensors on the underside of the desk detect when you’re seated, standing, or away from the desk altogether.

Stir increased the size based on user feedback — the larger size gives a bigger target area for users to perform the key “double-tap” prompt that moves the desk between your pre-determined standing and sitting heights. There’s a new processor on board to speed things up, and the hardware guts will be upgradable and replaceable going forward — that way, new technology can be added to the desk without having to actually replace the surface and mechanical legs, both of which should last for many years. So if you’re due for some standing time when you walk up to a Stir, the desk recognizes your Fitbit, greets you, and offers to adjust itself accordingly.

You can still tell the desk how often you want to stand (50 percent of the time, or two-thirds of your day, for example) and tell it how often you like to switch between positions (every 30 minutes vs. every two hours) and then the desk will respect those choices. Perhaps, says Labrosse, but technology is most effective when it fades into the background. “The challenge is to enhance the experience without taking over the experience,” he says. Stir says the new desk is available for order now via its website and that delivery will take about eight weeks; it’ll also be available in furniture stores and through dealers across the US. While there’s no question that these desks are strictly luxury items, anything that reminds us to get out of our sedentary lifestyle is much-needed right now — and there’s a lot to like about Stir’s desks beyond the “smart” features included in them.

While $2,990 for the M1 (or a whopping $4,190 for the original Stir F1 desk with the new upgraded screen and technology) remains a huge cost, there’s no doubt you’re getting a quality piece of furniture here. The company told us that the mechanical legs should last some 30 years — and even if you keep your Stir desk around for half that time, you’re likely getting your money’s worth.

Despite its much wider distribution, including through Relax the Back stores, it’s a safe bet to assume that the M1 remain a niche luxury item — not to mention a conversation starter — at least for now. I’m definitely happy to see Stir continue to improve on its products and release new ones — if a 2016 model manages to be even cheaper, I might just have to seriously think about getting one myself.

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