A Smart Desk That Could Change the Way You Work

The new M1 in action. Photo courtesy of Stir.
The new M1 in action. Photo courtesy of Stir.

The makers of the Stir Kinetic Desk say they’re doing for the office what Nest is doing for the home. We touched base with founder JP Labrosse via email to find out more about their latest model, the Stir M1.

How will the product impact the workplace?

The Stir Kinetic Desk is the most advanced desk ever made. A Stir Kinetic Desk is a smart, connected, height-adjustable desk that helps you be more productive and healthy, by actively engaging you throughout your day and making moving effortless. Ninety-five percent of Stir Kinetic Desk users move between standing and sitting everyday – and on average – our users stand for half their day. We can show definitively that people working at Stir Kinetic Desks move more than any other height-adjustable desks on the market. That means a more productive and healthy workforce.

The M1 in white. Ninety-five percent of Stir Kinetic Desk users move between standing and sitting everyday. Photo courtesy of Stir.
The M1 in white. Ninety-five percent of Stir Kinetic Desk users move between standing and sitting everyday. Photo courtesy of Stir.

How does the product contribute to “new ways of working”?

Stir is doing for the office what NEST is doing for the home. Our vision for the long term rests on the idea of creating the adaptive office, bringing amazing technology into the office environment to help people be as productive, healthy and inspired in the workplace as possible. The Stir Kinetic Desk engages its user and learns their preferences over time, in an effort to remind them to move frequently throughout the day, which has proven benefits in terms of both health and productivity. Our cloud architecture supports hot-desking, so that users can share desks within an office or around the world, and their data (height pre-sets, calories burned, etc.) travels with them.

Can you tell give an example of a customer using the product really effectively?

Ninety-five percent of our users move between sitting and standing every single day. This is a tremendous achievement, when you consider that only 1/3 of standard height adjustable desks move every day. Stir Kinetic Desks have tripled the standard engagement rates of height adjustable desks, many of which simply stay in a static position every day. We credit this to our patented Whisperbreath technology, which is a gentle one-inch rise and fall of the desk’s surface, gently reminding the user that they might want to switch positions.  The user can ignore the reminder, or simply double tap the touchscreen and move to the next position. Regardless of their choice, the desk is learning the best times to invite the user to move.

Who was the designer of the product?

JP Labrosse, Stir Founder and CEO, and Lance Blake, our industrial and interface designer.

A close-up of the touchscreen. Photo courtesy of Stir.

What was the inspiration behind the product?

Feedback from our customers inspired the M1. With our first desk (now called the F1) we set out to create the most beautiful and technologically advanced executive desk in the world that would actively get people moving more while working. We’ve sold every single unit we could produce last year, and collected feedback from users in the corner office and the home office.  Many of them asked us for a desk that could deliver the same health and productivity benefits, but would work well in a large office setting, able to deploy in the hundreds or thousands of units.  That was our mission for the M1, and we developed a new desk that delivers the Stir Kinetic Desk experience in a form factor suitable for large scale installations.

When was the product introduced?

Our original product, the first generation Stir Kinetic Desk first started shipping in April of 2014.  The second generation desks, the F1 and M1 [went] on sale on January 22, 2015.

What do you think our readers will love about the product?

Funny you should ask that.  We survey every single one of our customers about 1 month after they receive their desk. Ninety percent of our survey respondents use the word “love” to describe their feelings about the Stir Kinetic Desk. As a product designer, that’s my dream. I want to build products that customers love to use. If I had to pick one thing that people love about our product, I believe it’s that we’ve made the Stir Kinetic Desk effortless to use.  It gently invites you to keep moving, responds to a simple double tap to switch positions, and learns how to be better, the more you use it. An incredible amount of time, effort, experimentation and collaboration went into creating that experience, and I think it was time and energy very well spent.

Power cable cutouts on the M1 offer cord management designed to keep the desk surface clean and clutter-free. Photo courtesy of Stir.
Power cable cutouts on the M1 offer cord management designed to keep the desk surface clean and clutter-free. Photo courtesy of Stir.

What is the price?

The F1 lists at $4,190, including white glove delivery service
The M1 lists at $2,990, including delivery.

Anything else notable about the product that we ought to know?

A few more notes on the details of the product M1 itself:

For consumers, the new Stir Kinetic Desk M1 has been designed with a curved, organic shape and gently sloped front edge that provides maximum comfort for users’ arms. The slim, flexible desk profile allows for the addition of a broad variety of accessories – this includes most monitor arms, keyboard trays and task lamps. Power cable cutouts offer cord management designed to keep the desk surface clean and clutter-free. The new M1 is 30 by 60 inches and can be quickly assembled by two people using the eight provided screws and a single hex wrench.

For large-scale installations, M1 is available in a rectangular shape in three sizes and edge types; though it can be manufactured with nearly any work surface, finish or customer originated material.

The latest processor is four times faster and storage capacity has doubled. The new five inch LCD touchscreen has an increased resolution with a 360 degree field of view, significantly increased brightness, and an anti-glare film – all designed to make the screen much easier to read in any office environment. Five-finger, multi-touch support has also been added, enabling enhanced support for gesture-based interactions. Finally, the electronics design includes a Single Board Computer (SBC) and is housed in a removable electronics enclosure making the desk upgradable in the field.

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