Intelligent furniture: How smart tables are set to make your life easier
A new generation of office furniture is gradually making its way into workplaces around the world. Gone are the days when workers were left slumped over uncomfortable, unergonomic and poorly designed desks for hours on end: Now, intelligent furniture adjusts to our individual requirements, both at home and in the workplace. And the new technology has much more to offer than automatic height adjustment alone: The latest smart tables are packed with features designed specifically to make our working lives easier. Here are our top-five picks of the latest innovative products.
1. DK-04: A motorised smart table
If you’ve ever worked in an office, you’ll know the feeling: Sitting down all day puts strain on your back and makes your muscles feel tense.
This is why experts recommend we change our posture regularly, move around the office and alternate between working sitting down and standing up.
To help with this, Taiwanese manufacturer Lian-Li has developed the DK-04, a motorised adjustable table. The DK-04 is controlled via a keypad tucked away neatly on the front of the table. At the push of a button, the table is moved to the desired height entirely by the electric motor, with no manual action required on the part of the user. But there are even more features concealed beneath the surface of this dark stainless steel and glass table: The DK-04 is actually a computer housing and a desk in one, with space for a motherboard, hard drives, fans and processors under the table top. The front of the table is equipped with four USB ports for devices such as smartphones. The table has a price tag of around 1500 euros and can be purchased from various online retailers.
2. D-Table: The interactive all-rounder
D-Table – an Italian label conceived by Danilo Cascella – designs elegant handmade tables in fine wood and metal that are packed with unique technical features. Whether they are destined for hotels, meeting rooms or domestic use, the smart tables with integrated multi-touch display connect to your wireless network and put the entire online world at your fingertips. The integrated software allows users to play and edit various types of multimedia content on the screen. A number of Windows apps can also be installed on the table.
D-Table currently produces six designs – each with its own unique look – in two sizes: D-Zero, D-Time, D-Square, D-Cosmo, D-Monster and D-Young.
The D-Table has already started to gain a foothold in the country of its inception: The smart tables are installed in a number of Italian retail outlets. Customers can use the D-Tables to look up product information and check stock availability.
If you want to experience the benefits of the D-Table for yourself, you can test one out during Milan Design Week or in selected showrooms across Europe throughout the year. If you’re interested in purchasing a table, you can contact D-Table online.
3. Tabula Sense: Smart and sophisticated
Russian company Tabula Sense has also honed in on the potential of desks with added benefits: The manufacturer is heralding its designs as the “new generation of user-specific furniture”. The tables combine sophisticated modern design and cutting-edge technology for maximum working comfort – and with a wide range of gadgets integrated into the table, there are no messy, tangled cables to contend with.
The first Smart Desk model developed by Tabula Sense also features an integrated induction-based drink warmer to keep your coffee hot, a wireless charging dock for your smartphone, a USB hub, a Bluetooth speaker and – of course – the essential height-adjustable legs. The smart desk is available with an oil-treated, dirt and water-resistant wood veneer surface and sleek aluminium sides – a stand-out design piece for any Smart Office.
4. Smartfurniture: Transforming ordinary desks into smart tables
If you want to reap the benefits of intelligent furniture without investing in a whole new desk, Munich-based start-up Smartfurniture has just the thing you need. According to its designers, the Eliot solution produces the most innovative tables available in Europe. The company builds hardware and develops software for any table, guaranteeing plug & play connectivity. Via the company’s own app, you can adjust virtually any desk to suit your needs. The Eliot app also shows the height of the table, saves sitting and standing time data and reminds you to spend time working standing up. The app stores your individual settings and detects your smartphone as you approach the table. The table is available in three sizes (120 x 70 cm, 160 x 80 cm, 180 x 80 cm) from 540 euros.
5. Ideo & Ikea: Smart solutions for the kitchen
Swedish furniture giant IKEA and the designers at Ideo have joined forces to collaborate on an extraordinary project, with the aim of designing the kitchen of the future.
One component of this visionary kitchen is already in development – the table. A camera and a projector are suspended from the ceiling above the table. When the camera recognises food and objects placed on the table, the system suggests recipes and then provides helpful tips for the chef. The table weighs ingredients and projects the cooking time and temperature onto the pan on the integrated induction hob. If you’re not busy cooking, you can use the inductive technology to charge your smartphone.
It remains to be seen when this pioneering new technology will be available for our kitchens: The idea is currently part of a concept kitchen that is still under development. Although some of these designs are a long way away from becoming the norm in our homes and offices, the concept of smart furniture is emerging as a focus for high-tech development efforts. Companies are already succeeding in transforming the humble table into a sophisticated technical device.
Have you come across or used smart technology in your day-to-day life? Do you have any connected devices that you couldn’t live without? Let us know in the comments!