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Stir Kinetic Desk: Linux-Powered Furniture That's Good For You

Stir Kinetic Desk: Linux-Powered Furniture That's Good For You
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The Stir Kinetic Desk promises to be a piece of office equipment for the modern age of sensors, the quantified self, and lots of trans fat. On the other hand, its sticker price may shock you into rigor mortis before obesity will. Check out our hands-on.

You're going to want this. I'm quite sure most of us can't afford it, but if you are increasingly sedentary, starting to bulge in the middle (and backside), or slowly devolving into Cro-Magnon posture, you're really going to want the Stir Kinetic Desk. 

The desk became available for pre-order on the company's website this week, arriving at your home, office, or the conference room of your private jet in February, just in time to melt away the Winter fat. That February shipment will only include the first run of 50 desks, with a second batch shipping in April.

The Stir desk looks like a simple, sleek, and elegant office desk, but embedded inside are sensors that can learn how often you like to stand, instructing the structure to rise accordingly, reversing the process when you sit again, an obedient piece of furniture whose makers promise health and productivity benefits. The desk even nudges you out of bad habits, gently reminding you to stand if necessary.

All it's missing is a special "boss-over-shoulder" sensor and foot massager. Instead, Stir CEO JP Labrosse says the desk will ultimately incorporate aspects of the so-called "quantified self" movement, for example collaboratively sharing data with Nike Fuel or Fitbit devices, presumably so that you can be made acutely aware of how your work is insidiously whittling muscle tone and youth.

You can't put a price tag on health, but someone has to: the Stir Kinetic Desk will set you back about $3890. No, we're not in Ikea anymore, Toto, but I, for one, think you're worth it.

I recently visited with Labrosse in Stir's office, a converted dance studio lined with mirrors, tucked along a row of nondescript buildings in Pasadena, CA. Labrosse is practically a caricature of Silicon Valley startup lineage: he was a mechanical engineering student at Stanford, where he got real experience in design, machining, and milling; he was on the original iPod team at Apple 11 years ago, serving as the engineering team lead for two of the early iPods, including the Shuffle.

Labrosse learned how to take ideas from concept to mass production at Apple, and he learned how to develop and build products with a craftsmanship that inspires passion. The Apple experience also informed the idea behind Stir, since Labrosse's first observation at Apple was of several employees working at elevated workstations and height-adjustable desks, and the correlated increase in focus and energy in an intense, startup-like atmosphere.

When Labrosse left Apple he turned his attention to solar energy. He was a founder of (and investor in) RayTracker, acquired in 2011 by First Solar. After that, he began to research the impact of being sedentary in earnest. Today, Stir employs 25 people, and is funded in part through angel investors, and Labrosse.

Display 10 Comments.
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  • 1 Hide
    clonazepam , November 22, 2013 9:51 PM
    Can it play... Angry Birds?
  • 4 Hide
    husker , November 22, 2013 10:32 PM
    First of all it is not "elegant" at all. It is a rectangle with very crude looking legs that obviously telescope up and down, and don't even hide that crude functionality from showing. There are no curves anywhere, all very heavy blocky shapes which gives the whole thing a very ugly (early) lego-block look. It is no more "elegantly" designed than a folding table at your average yard sale or church banquet. Secondly, all it does it tell you to sit and stand? Why not just have a reminder on your phone or run a computer program that reminds you every so often to sit and stand. Then have a simple desk that you need to raise and lower yourself. It is exercise they are promoting, right? What a complete waste of money.
  • 2 Hide
    killabanks , November 22, 2013 10:43 PM
    was paying attention !
  • 0 Hide
    f-14 , November 23, 2013 1:39 AM
    nothing new. i have seen a better version made by some nordic company denmark/finland/sweeden i don't remember exactly, i just remember it was expensive $3k-5k-7k depending if you wanted the hand crank version, the electric push button switch version or the digital version which had automation to make you sit stand or change positions after a certain amount of time.

    http://podanys.com/products/sit-stand-desk
  • 1 Hide
    sempifi99 , November 23, 2013 8:22 AM
    This is very cool and innovative. If the price was affordable I would get one for sure.
  • 1 Hide
    coolitic , November 23, 2013 6:27 PM
    This is worth 500 dollars.
  • 0 Hide
    coolitic , November 23, 2013 6:29 PM
    Actually more like 700-900.
  • 1 Hide
    knowom , November 23, 2013 9:38 PM
    I guess that's not all he learned while at Apple apparently learned all about sticker shock and ways to market overpriced stuff.
  • 0 Hide
    16bit , November 24, 2013 12:27 AM
    Very interesting, but too pricey to be widely implemented. Unfortunately it looks like I won't be trying out one of these desks any time soon.
  • 0 Hide
    Warsaw , November 30, 2013 9:00 AM
    Hmm on the desk....mmm on the girl in the pic ;)