September 23, 2015
My desk just whispered at me. It wasn’t an insightful secret or a sweet nothing, but instead a subtle reminder–it told me I’ve been sitting for too long. If you wear an activity tracker you may be accustomed to this type of nudge, but there are few desks that have this integrated intelligence. So, without further ado: Welcome to the next generation of standing desks! The wave of electronically adjustable desks has hit with full force, and manufacturers are already moving into the development of “smart desks.”
It’s early in the game, and Stir Kinetic is one of the first entrants in this new breed. I’m testing out their newest model, the M1, and it’s just given me the signature “whisper breath,” in which the entire desk gently moves up and down 1 inch, reminding me it’s time to switch positions. This feature is surprisingly pleasant. I’ve used various notification systems to remind me to stand up after sitting for awhile, from my iPhone timer to desktop notifications, but because this one is neither auditory nor visual, it’s much less intrusive. The movement alerts me without being distracting.
The interface built directly into the desktop gives you a snapshot of how long you’ve been standing and sitting today, along with your weekly and monthly stats. A simple double tap on the screen raises or lowers the desk to your preset positions. The interface itself has a bit of a first generation feel to it– swiping the screen results in a clunky screen transition, and the homescreen displays your stats in an interesting, but relatively useless clock-like fashion. However, having this information right on your desktop is much more convenient than having to open an app or a webpage, so I think they’re moving in the right direction.
Stir goes the extra mile to include several features with a lot of potential. The desk can sync with your aforementioned activity trackers so you get credit for your standing time (Hey, it adds up!). The desk has wifi and saves your settings to the cloud so that if you happen to have access to multiple desks, simply logging in will bring up your stats and preferences. Each desk also has a sensor that can tell if you are at your desk or not. This has interesting implications for larger offices with open layouts that may want data on how often some desks are being used over others in order to optimize office layout or track worker productivity. All of these features, along with the M1s high quality engineering, solidify its positioning not just a top-of-the-line desk, but as a leader in driving the movement for healthier and smarter offices. At $2990, this desk is not for the budget consumer. However, the desk improved my office habits more than I thought it would–I was already an avid stander, but a month on the M1 resulted in me standing even more during the day. If using this desk results in healthier and more productive days over the life of the desk, the price tag becomes much easier to justify.
Disclosure: I, nor anyone at FitYourSpace, is associated with Stir Kinetic, and we received no compensation for this review or the links in this article.