Remember Robotbase, the group behind an autonomous mobile personal robot? I wrote about their scarily smart bot back in January. Anyway, Robotbase now calls itself Autonomous and their focus is on taking “everyday boring products and turn them into autonomous, smart, and beautiful objects.”
Hence their latest Kickstarter project, Autonomous Desk. I recently received an email from them describing a sensient desk that’s ready to disrupt the furniture industry. If you feel that desks and chairs are your grandparents’ ideas of office gear, then this may be the project for you. They’ve added some servos to make this standup-style desk self-adjusting. Technology used to promote heath, check!
And then they’ve given their AI-in-the-cloud female avatar a job as a smart office assistant. You can communicate with her through a mike-speaker that’s attached to the desk. In a demo video, her ready-to-please face can also apparently stare back at you from a flat screen. You can tell the assistant to order food, get an Uber taxi, or find out when your meeting is. Super-servility, check.
It wouldn’t be a true gadget without an IOS/Android app to control the desk’s height. They have that too so you check the box for gadget-ness.
There’s an idea in here somewhere. Back in the day, I remember when having a SUN workstation on your desk to show real-time stock information was a sign of power. I suspect there may a similar high-end market for smart desks, say, among today’s hedge funders.
My own suggestion for turning Autonomous Desk into more of a status symbol is higher-end wood—mahogany, oak—and a hologram-virtual reality technology for allowing the AI avatar to appears next to the desk. Just a thought.
Anyway, if you’re interested in becoming part of the smart desk set, a pledge starts at around $700. There’s an early-bird special that’ll knock a few bucks off. Expected delivery is in September 2015.