Finally, there’s a Bluetooth sign that tells your coworkers when you’re busy.
Every office has that one guy. He walks around the floor, gazing into each cubicle, looking to spark a conversation. Not before long, he glances your way, makes eye contact and begins to head in your direction. As he approaches, he utters the infamous words, “It’ll be quick.” However, let’s face it, it’s never quick. An hour later, not only has he drained you of your creative energy, but you just lost 60 minutes of productivity.
With open workspaces on the rise, it’s important for companies to maintain in-office efficiency. Chances are, that by now, you’ve seen the movie, The Social Network. Recall the scene when Eduardo Saverin (played by Andrew Garfield) approaches an unresponsive Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg), only to learn from Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake) that he’s “wired in?”
For years, headphones like those worn by Zuckerberg in the flick were pretty clear indication that someone didn’t want to be bothered. However, thanks to one Salt Lake City-based startup, the universal sign for “I’m in the zone” will literally a sign that reads “I’m in the zone” — or whatever you would like.
The device, which is aptly-dubbed Wired In, works exactly how it seems: When you want to focus on a task at hand, turn on your sign and eliminate unwanted distractions. When powered, the acrylic lights up with a series of LED lights in your favorite color, sending a clear busy signal to those around you. Once turned off, it blends right into your workspace.
Wired In features a sleek aluminum base with rounded edges and a clear replaceable laser-etched acrylic sign. What’s nice is that the signs are completely customizable. Not only can you change the color of the light, you can replace the acrylic message as well. While it comes with standard sayings like “On Air,” “Wired In” and “In the Zone,” users are encouraged to come up with their own clever text or even upload a vector image to be etched into the sign (keep in mind, this is the portion that is illuminated). Ultimately, this lets owners explore their imagination and be as unique as their own personality!
The much-needed piece — which is the brainchild of Maker trio Josh Howland, Caleb Hicks, Andrew Madsen — was devised to sit nicely on your desk without taking up too much space. Because after all, that would be a distraction in itself. The base measures about 238mm x 48mm x 25mm, while the sign adds about another 80mm in height. Wired In will come in a few different versions: one that is powered by USB connection, another by rechargeable batteries. However, for its initial model, the gadget is juiced up by a pair of AA batteries. Unlike the others, though, this one lacks any connectivity or integrations. Simply turn it on and off like a lamp.
Wired In is equipped with a fully open-soure Arduino controller and Bluetooth 4.0 which allows it to sync with any other BLE device, such as a Mac, an iPad or an iPhone. What’s more, the gadget integrates with everything from a mobile remote app to the newly-launched Apple Watch to third-party services like IFTTT and Slack. Users can easily control their sign with its accompanying iOS app, and with REST API, developers can create their own programs. The sign also works with iBeacons, which for example, enable you to brighten your sign as you approach your desk.
At the moment, pilot signs have already been implemented in a number of offices, from Walmart to Adobe. (Maybe soon Atmel?) Want one of your own? Head over to Wired In’s official Kickstarter campaign, where the team is currently seeking $25,000. Shipment is slated for November 2015.