Prototype Workstation Throws An Ergonomic Curveball

In the thirty-plus years since the first personal computers hit the market system capabilities have increased by multiple orders of magnitude. The ways in which end-users access these capabilities, on the other hand, has scarcely changed at all. The last major innovation was the mouse, first popularized by Apple in 1984. In the 26 years hence, a variety of conceptual devices and prototypes have debuted, including everything from the AlphaiGrip to Microsoft's own Surface.

The BendDesk is yet another attempt to create a brand-new, superior method of system control. If nothing else, it deserves credit for ambition. Instead of focusing on yet another keyboard+mouse replacement, its designers chose to revamp the entire process of using a PC. The result is the BendDesk—a seamless curved display that does away with traditional notions of workspace and desktop. This last refers to both the digital and physical version—the area where the keyboard and mouse would normally sit is an active part of the system's display. Items can be dragged from the horizontal to the vertical displays without a problem.



Even under best-case conditions it'll be years before a product based on the BendDesk's design will hit market. Even the prototype, however, has allowed researchers to glean some interesting facts. Not only is the BD prone to creating muscle fatigue, but those who use it still tend to keep data isolated in the vertical or horizontal screens. It's thought that this might be a learned response based on modern day desktops.
Via:  GizMag
Comments
inspector 3 years ago

OMG! that is so EPIC! :) I would so love to have one of these in my room... But one thing he needs some work on his saving the earth skills there :P

rmstiles09 3 years ago

Due to the "learned responses based on modern day desktops" I don't see this truly coming around for a personal computer. In todays modern economy many people still want smaller and smaller computers and this is anything but small. But on the flip side there are possibly some very practical uses for the Bend Desk, such as professional photography and newspaper. But what truly comes to mind when looking at this and how they played the games is re-vamping the arcade industry.

inspector 3 years ago

Well the general people want smaller and smaller computers, but have you seen gaming rigs? they can get somewhat big at most times :). My cousin once said "WTF why such a big case, the future is small, whats wrong with you"

rmstiles09 3 years ago

I intended to be putting gamers in our own private league :-D

resin 3 years ago

I think there is more to it than a learned response from modern desktops. The curved section just seems intuitively less stable. If you were organizing physical photos with tape or magnets the flat sections would be fine and curved section problematic. I like that they're trying something new, but this does not look promising to me.

resin 3 years ago

also- I need my desk space for papers, books, pens, drinks, snacks, and unopened mail. This thing looks like its just made to spill your coffee on.

rapid1 3 years ago

"practical uses for the Bend Desk, such as professional photography and newspaper" Lol; well it needs a keyboard, a touch screen keyboard is fine on a smart phone. For typing though I want a real keyboard. I could see many specialized uses for this as it is though as well. This would especially be true in any type of design environment, art environment etc. Saying that Apple will probably buy them out!

rmstiles09 3 years ago

I agree that it would need a keyboard, but with the layout that we currently see it would almost make sense to use a touch screen based keyboard. Especially when you're done using it you can just throw it in the middle section to where its out of the way unlike real keyboards, they take up plenty of room.

SammyHayabuza 3 years ago

Air traffic control operators would go nuts for this!!

rapid1 3 years ago

Hey you can play ripoff Space Invaders on it to!

SammyHayabuza 3 years ago

That's one step closer into becoming Tony Starks !!

resin 3 years ago

iphones, and ipads make sense to me because of the added element of portability.

Something like Wacom's Cintiq, http://www.wacom.com/cintiq/, would be awesome, particularly if it was an additional monitor to a completely vertical monitor, maybe even a monitor that was curved in the other direction like the Ostendo http://www.crvd.com/overview.php (total dream set-up for me)

But what I don't get is why people would want these touch screen vertical monitors, at least for their homesystem. I'm sort of thinking about the viewsonic article here too sorry for the overlap. It seems like a really uncomfortable way to work.

I guess it would make more sense in a sort of kiosk situation but even there I'm not a big fan of touch screen monitors that seem to be every where you go now. I just get a little Howard Hughs like about them. Automatic doors and toilets were such a nice invention in this way. If they could get it to sense where exactly your hand was hovering above it now that would be special.

OSunday 3 years ago

Seems like a nice design but that curvature would be an issue if you were to leave, for example a picture there wouldn't its appearance be distorted because of the curve?

Another thing is that I know when I start to read long articles, pdf's or ebooks on my computer I tend to put one or both of my elbows on my desk, and im assuming alot of other people would too which isn't going to go over to well with a touch sensitive surface.

@SammyHayabuza: Love the Iron man Reference! haha

countcristo 3 years ago

That's a good point OSunday. I think perhaps maybe the curvature of the picture would just move it down automatically if it gets to that point.

Neat design concept, but I can't wait until they actually get monitors like that in Avatar to commercial retail use or of that in Minority Report.

rmstiles09 3 years ago

A huge down side to a computer such as this is that when a bulb goes out on one of the projectors, you lose most of your picture. And typically bulbs aren't cheap at all.

3vi1 3 years ago

>> Even the prototype, however, has allowed researchers to glean some interesting facts. Not only is the BD prone to creating muscle fatigue, but those who use it still tend to keep data isolated in the vertical or horizontal screens. It's thought that this might be a learned response based on modern day desktops.

I'm not sure these "researchers" did any research before creating this thing. It's a long-known fact that keeping your head in a neutral position reduces neck and eye strain.

Years ago, another company sold "ergonomic" desks (I forget who, but my company had dozens of them) where you could mount you monitor inside the desk in an angled tray. Then, you looked down through the desk (it had a glass top) at a 45 degree angle to read the screen. It looked really cool... but in almost no time EVERYONE that used them complained that they hurt to use, and people just moved their monitors to the top of the desk.

So, encouraging people to constantly look down at 45-degrees when using this thing was a really stupid idea that had already been proven to be impractical. It's like this thing was created without doing any due diligence research simply because no one had already patented the idea.

sKrappy 3 years ago

This would be cool for RTS games imagine grabbing all your units and sending them across the map with your hands.  that would be neat

JPerry 3 years ago

I guess the author hasn't seen the latest Acer laptop...

http://m.engadget.com/default/article.do?artUrl=http://www.engadget.com/2010/11/23/acer-iconia-first-hands-on/&category=classic&postPage=1

3vi1 3 years ago

Those photos were mislabled: That's the new Nintendo Dsi XXL. :)

I posted some other pics of it in the forum back in September:  http://hothardware.com/cs/forums/p/50694/372345.aspx#372345

Joel H 3 years ago

Having now seen it, I'm utterly unimpressed. The Bendesk is an admitted prototype / conceptual device. The demos performed with it involve moving images / data across a curved screen. That laptop looks like someone with influence thought it was a great idea and steamrolled everyone who said different.

jonation 3 years ago

It reminds me of the all the motion sensing software and hardware coming out, kinect etc... I guess I'm just more comfortable with a keyboard and mouse, or controller. It seems like an awfully, over-the-top way to do something simple.

Let's reinvent the wheel into a polygon. It looks crazy and sells- but is half as efficient.

animatortom 3 years ago

Thats cool, combined with motion/voice sensor tech it might be very practical!

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