By Todd Domke
You don’t need me to tell you that as engineers and designers, we do a lot of computer-intensive work. And until recently, using the computer a lot meant that you were sitting…A LOT! As we are now becoming aware of the fact that all of that sitting is just NOT good for you, this is a perfect time to introduce you to one of our innovative customers who are doing something about it: Altwork.
Altwork is a team of experienced technology professionals, long-time friends and family who’ve worked on everything from building the world’s fastest recumbent bicycle, to security software used by the US Government, to Burning Man art cars. They’ve created and built successful companies, winning multiple patents in the process.
Over five years ago, one of the founders, John Speicher, realized how much more productive and comfortable he was when he worked in a reclining position (necessitated by a back injury). This also allowed him more flexibility with the position of his keyboard and screen. This sparked an idea that grew through many conversations and sketches into a fully realized workstation that promises to “end the tyranny of tables & chairs” with a new way to work - the Altwork Station.
Altwork started with what they thought would be the dream workstation: throughout the day you could sit, stand, collaborate, and recline into a focus position to tackle your toughest work challenges , even work in a “zero-gravity” position—all while maintaining ergonomic integrity and being comfortable to be more productive. Oh, and by the way, it wouldn’t hurt if the thing were drop-dead gorgeous too, which it is. Just look at it!
The Altwork Station is an all-in-one solution that moves with you. Press a button to use your computer while sitting, standing, collaborating or in a reclined focus position – including a “zero-gravity” option with the back reclined around 50 degrees and the monitor above the user. The “zero-gravity” and fully reclined settings are considered “focus” positions because they eliminate the discomfort of standard tables and chairs so that high intensity computer users can focus longer on complex tasks.
Perfectly spec’d actuators, friction adjustments, and gas springs allow you to quickly reconfigure the workstation to any position with just a finger or two. Complex mechanisms designed in SOLIDWORKS allow the user to set the keyboard and monitor once and they stay perfectly positioned as the user moves over the entire range of postures from sitting to reclined. Once you dial in how you want to work, the control software lets you simply press a button to recall several saved positions.
Altwork believes it’s time to move beyond obsolete tables and chairs that constrain our creativity and diminish our health. They believe it’s time computers adapt to us, instead of challenging our bodies to adapt to them.
They believe it’s time for a new way to work.
And I’m “inclined” to agree. But seriously, they had me at “zero-gravity”.
Head over to our YouTube channel for some great video of our visit to their beautiful workshop in the California Wine Country. Also, you can go to http://altwork.com/ for more info on the Altwork Station.