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Smart tables: a glimpse into the future of working, studying, and cooking

A new generation of office equipment has found its way into modern workplaces around the world. Gone are the days when employees slumped over uncomfortable and unergonomic desks for hours on end. Nowadays, desks can identify and react to our own individual needs. Smart tables have a lot more to offer than automatic height adjustment: here's an overview of the five latest innovations.

1. DK-04: a motorised smart table

If you’ve ever had a nine-to-five office job, you’ll know the feeling: sitting down all day puts a considerable strain on your neck and back over time. Experts recommend we change our posture regularly, move around the room whenever possible, and alternate between sitting down and standing up.

To facilitate these routines, Taiwanese manufacturer Lian-Li has developed the DK-04. The motorised adjustable table can be controlled with a keypad, tucked away neatly in the front right corner. At the push of a button, an electric motor moves the DK-04 to the desired height without any manual effort required.

Beneath the glass surface, you'll find even more smart features: the DK-04 serves both as a desk and a computer casing, with plenty of space for a motherboard, hard drives, fans, and processors. The front of the table top also has four integrated USB ports to charge mobile devices. For around 1,500 euros, the DK-04 can be purchased from various online retailers.

 
 
From an electric motor to USB ports, the DK-04 includes many practical features. Source: Linus Tech Tips / YouTube

2. D-Table: the interactive all-rounder

Founded by Danilo Cascella, the Italian label "D-Table" designs handmade tables with smart functions for a variety of purposes. Used in hotels, conference rooms, or private homes, the desks are connected to your wireless network.

Thanks to an integrated software and touch display, you can play and edit different types of content on the screen. The smart table is compatible with a number of Windows apps as well.

D-Table currently offers six designs, each with their own unique look and available in two sizes: D-Zero, D-Time, D-Square, D-Cosmo, D-Monster and D-Young.

The concept has proven successful so far: several Italian retail outlets already have the furniture installed on site. Customers can rely on D-Tables to look up product information and check stock availability. If you'd like to experience the benefits of this innovation yourself, you'll find it at international events such as Milan Design Week or in selected showrooms across Europe.

   
 
The D-Table can do much more than an ordinary desk. Source: D-Table / YouTube
 

3. Tabula Sense: smart and sophisticated

Russian company Tabula Sense has also tapped into the potential of desks with added benefits, designing a “new generation of user-specific furniture”. Their smart tables combine modern aesthetics and cutting-edge technology for maximum comfort at the workplace. With a wide range of integrated gadgets, the top remains free from messy, tangled cables.

The first model developed by Tabula Sense includes an 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 – height-adjustable legs. It comes with an oil-treated, dirt- and water-resistant wood veneer surface, and sleek aluminium sides: a must-have for any smart office.

   
 
Tabula Sense tables make it easy to stay comfortable and productive at the same time. Source: андрей рогозин / YouTube
 

4. Smartfurniture: transforming the ordinary desk

Anyone should benefit from intelligent technology – whether it be at home or at the office. With this in mind, Munich-based start-up Smartfurniture has developed the Eliot solution: a customisable desk with a variety of convenient features and design options. The company builds hard- and software for different furniture pieces, guaranteeing plug & play connectivity.

Using a special app, you can modify almost any desk to suit your needs. The Eliot app shows the smart table's height, stores your sitting and standing time, and reminds you to spend more time in a standing position. It also saves your preferred settings and automatically connects to your smartphone. The smart table is available in three sizes (120 x 70 cm, 160 x 80 cm, 180 x 80 cm), starting at 540 euros.

5. Ideo & Ikea: smart tables for the kitchen

Swedish furniture giant IKEA and the design team at Ideo London have joined forces to realise an extraordinary project. Their goal: creating a kitchen that is fit for the future. One of the first components they developed was – you guessed it – the table. From the ceiling, a suspended camera and projector identify food and other objects placed on the surface. The system will then suggest recipes and offer tips for the chef in charge. The smart table furthermore serves as a scale to weigh ingredients and projects the cooking time and temperature onto the integrated induction hob. While you’re not busy cooking, you can even use the inductive technology to charge your smartphone.

It remains to be seen when this pioneering new technology will become part of real-life homes. Thus far, a prototype of the Concept Kitchen 2025 has already been tested during the Salone Del Mobile and the Milan World Expo.

 
 
The centre piece of Kitchen Concept 2025: a smart table. Source: Sly Golovanov / YouTube

 

Are there any smart features or devices you can't live without in your day-to-day life? Let us know in the comments!

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