Brief : Design the desk of the future with existing technologies .
With the advent and improvement of computers, all the devices, gadgets and tools that defined a workplace have all become application on the computer. This has now reduced workspaces to blank spaces with computers on them. All the interactions are also limited to the computer but with the advancement of technology, we can now envision a workspace where all the space can be used and interacting with the space can be used to control the computer.
Deterministic no UI
Current no UI systems are highly dependent on voice and Artificial Intelligence. Artificial Intelligence is still very dubious and voice control is not always appropriate because a workplace full of screaming people will only exacerbate the problems caused by the open office trend. Also using physical positions in the spaces is very intuitive, because we have always been rearranging things to suit our current tasks.
For example, when the user moves his NFC enabled phone from zone 1 to zone 2. Then the workspace realises he is moving from work mode to play mode, and so his work apps save and close, his leisure apps open, his phone ringer profile changes from silent to loud. All with the movement of his phone. This works because the nfc tags under each zone, are detected by the phone and once detected they trigger the above mentioned actions.
Do everything display
The older paradigm of felt boards with things and physical notes pinned and post-its stuck are slowly vanishing. A back wall that is actually a hybrid display helps recapture this space for use. A hybrid display generally has two modes a low power consuming, low latency e-ink display and a normal lcd screen for high latency tasks. When the e-ink display is being used the back wall behaves very much like a felt board due to the permanence that it shows. When the lcd display is used it can be used like any other digital screen, it can also be used to extend the monitor, thereby allowing you to create multiple screens as required. The e-ink displays permanence allows for always on, relevant data to be shown on your desk if it’s your personal workspace.
So when the workspace transitions from work mode then the LCD screen turns off the E-ink display takes over, displaying data like agenda, a calendar, various notes etc.
Seamless interactions with devices
Today’s interactions with devices are not seamless at all, every device needs to be connected by wires. We are limited by number of ports on our devices, the various cable formats used at both ends. All of which leads to a cluttered messy workspace. It also hinders usage of devices because of the extra effort needed to make the devices usable. We believe “place and play” will soon replace “plug and play” where a combination of wireless charging and local area personal networks (like Logitech’s unifying system) will allow for this.
The example scenario here is the user places his hard disk or Digi-cam on the device zone. It immediately powers on as it receives power from the embedded wireless charger. Once powered up it connects to the local network and is detected by the laptop/work device and the user can interact with it. All he had to do for all this is, place the device at the right place.
Camera based scanning
With the improvement of cameras and the advent of spectroscopic scanning, the mounting of such a system allows for easy scanning of documents, or the successful scanning of objects by just placing them in the camera’s field of vision.
Next time a document has to be scanned the user just places it in the cameras view. Instantly it is scanned in and the user can now manipulate it digitally.
We also believe gestural interaction can be used to determine actions between the user and the do everything display, as reaching for and touching such a display may be difficult and cumbersome. This technology can either be camera based, or radar based.
This allows for the user to point with his fingers and pull an application window shown on the “Do everything display “into laptop screen or handwriting section. This allows for further usage of that window.
Hand writing recognition
Having a surface mounted lcd screen or region that works with a stylus, allows for traditional note-taking and writing in the various applications. This is useful because not only does it benefit from that advantages of physical writing. It allows for more creative note taking and data input that is not limited by most non stylus based input methods.
This allows the user to annotate his screens, take notes, Write comments etc.
We envision a future workspace where everything has a purpose, and all actions lead directly to more productive work and less to setting up devices and getting them to work.