Smart desk prototype 1
Office desks will one day incorporate nearly as much computing power as the desktops that once sat on top of them. That’s the vision of workspace furniture design company Opendesk, which has been given a £25,000 grant by Innovate UK to create a prototype smart desk.

The ‘desk of the future’ will be fully customisable, according to Opendesk’s plans. Individual workspaces could be set up to turn on when they sense you’re in close proximity, and similarly ‘go to sleep’ when you step away. They could vibrate when emails are received, or be tasked to notify colleagues when you’re not available to take calls.

Opendesk’s prototype design incorporates a built-in computer motherboard and includes LED notification lights, wireless charging and motion sensors. It connects seamlessly with portable devices, eliminating the need for desktop technology altogether.

To boost productivity, and benefit the health of wellbeing of employees, the desk could rise to a standing position – already a legal requirement in Denmark, one of the happiest nations in the world.

Opendesk is hoping to have the desk ready for commercial market by the end of 2016, and cost no more than 20-25% more than regular office desk.

Tim Carrigan, CEO and co-founder of Opendesk, said: “Our ‘smart desk’ will never be outdated, as the embedded technology is upgradeable and customisable.

“Co-working spaces are becoming ever more popular, but hot-desking hasn’t garnered quite so many fans. A desk can be a very personal thing. It’s human nature to want a personalised space, and we can be quite territorial about it. the desks we’re creating can be set up to allow workers to login to their personalised settings via a ‘desk cloud’. This will make hot-desking much less impersonal.”