Chairs & desks go digital

Earlier this week I talked about the increasing amount of technology in sports – our worlds are being augmented with digital sensors across the board. The latest two objects I noticed that are taking advantage of this are chairs and tables.

Specifically, Steelcase are adding QR codes to the arms of its best selling ergonomic chairs. As you can see above, a flip out panel has a QR code printed which when scanned will help users find information on how to properly adjust the chair. Now, if could just get Steelcase to loan me a chair I could let you know how well this works. I really need a new office chair (hint hint).


On the desk front, Supermechanical has created Rev—>Table, which puts the owner in the role of manufacturer. As you can see from the image above, the table has the CAD file etched into the surface. Not that it should but if something breaks you simply whip out a smartphone and scan the code to access the complete design schematic. With that file, the owner can modify the table design and presumably hook up a 3D printer and run off a few replacement parts.

All jokes aside, I used to own a refrigerator from Siemens that had an small plastic enclosure that kept breaking. I had to go to the Siemens site, find the right PDF for my model, identify the broken part from the grainy image (the part you want is always the one that is slightly smudged or not quite clear because of misplaced arrows) and then place an order on an arcane website, and wait two weeks for the goods. Only to find I chose the wrong part. In the future, we’ll laugh at that as it’ll be a simple process to point our phones at the broken part, hit print and a few minutes later the replacement will roll off the 3D printer in our homes. I hope!

thanks to PSFK and Richard Banks for the inspiration on these two.