Rewind: 12 projects you wish you had in your office


Whether it’s eliminating distractions or enhancing convenience, every workplace could use some of these things.


An Electric Standing Desk

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StandiT is a modular, patent-pending system that can take ordinary desks or wooden tabletops and transform them into electric stand-sit desks capable of raising and lowering on your command.

An Ergonomic Keyboard

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Keyboardio is an open source ergonomic keyboard that gives your pinkies a break and puts your thumbs to work.

A Listening Table

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The brainchild of the New York Times R&D Lab, the Listening Table is like any other piece of office furniture except for the fact that it can record the most important moments from a meeting. A microphone array focuses on the speaker, no matter where he or she is seated, while custom speech-processing software generates a word-for-word recording and a semantic overview — what topics were talked about, in what order, and by whom.

A Connected Coffee Pot

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You’ve all been in the situation before: You arrive at the office coffee pot only to find that it’s empty. If only you could curb that disappointment with up-to-the-minute reporting on exactly how much coffee is left in the pot. Well lucky for you, PubNub has developed an IoT Coffee Maker with real-time coffee capacity monitoring.

A Coffee Age Timer

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In most offices, coffee tends to go pretty fast throughout the morning. However, as the day goes on, caffeine consumption dwindles down a bit. And when it’s time for that late afternoon pick-me-up, it’s sometimes difficult to guess just how long the coffee has been sitting in the pot. Fortunately, Paul Kerchen has created a solution to keep track of that: BrewDoo.

A Boss Tracker

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Ever wonder whether or not your boss is in the office? As part of a recent demonstration, the Atmel team in Norway built a SAM D20 GPS tracker that lets you receive an SMS alert whenever your supervisor enters the building.

An Arduino Alarm System

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Hate when your colleagues steal things from your cubicle without asking for permission? Thanks to Stefano Guglielmetti, you can now devise your own Arduino Yún (ATmega32U4) alarm. Discreetly place the device around whatever it is that you’d like to monitor. If and when movement is detected, the alarm will emit a siren and then proceed to take a picture and email it to you. What’s more, you can shame the thief by automatically posting their photo to friends on Facebook or Twitter via a simple IFTTT recipe.

A Productivity Sign

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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.” But 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. Wired In is a Bluetooth sign that eliminates unwanted distractions by telling your coworkers you’re busy.

A Personal AC Unit

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Especially in the summertime, finding the perfect indoor temperature to accommodate others can be quite challenging. Some buildings blast the AC to help with airflow, but this results in goosebumps even when it’s hot outside. Evapolar is a personal air conditioner that humidifies and purifies the air around you. The gadget sits on your desk, enabling you to enjoy your own climate, tailored to your temperature needs.

A Real-Time Commute Display

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Transit is a conveniently-placed sign displaying commuter information from the web every 30 seconds. Although most of us can simply glance at our smartphones to check public transportation updates and weather forecasts, it’s easy to forget to do so when ‘in the zone.’ Sometimes, the only way we pay attention is when that information is served to us conspicuously. That was the thinking of iStrategyLabs, whose project ensures that you never miss a train, always know how many bikes are available, and stay one step ahead of the weather.

An Office Chairiot

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Sitting behind the same desk in the same chair can get a bit boring after a while. What if that same chair could whiz through the building at 15 to 20 miles per hour? Meet the Office Chairiot Mark II — a motorized IKEA Poäng chair that employs some off-the-shelf scooter parts like wheels, axles and batteries to roll around.

A ‘Skip Track’ Target

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Hate a song playing on the radio? Hope you have good aim! The Neo-Pangea crew’s Boombox Blaster adds a gamification element to their workplace’s music selection by turning a suspended NERF target into a “skip track” button.

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