JP Labrosse set out to make cubicle life a more uplifting experience.
Office workers have always faced challenges getting comfortable while working hours a day over a keyboard. Now, Labrosse wants to sell them a self-adjusting desk that lifts and drops to the exact level they want it. The desk also changes heights on its own – when it senses the worker could use a change of position.
“People are realizing that sitting at a desk all day is just not a way to live an active life,” said Labrosse, founder and chief executive of Stir, a Pasadena company that recently came out with its first product, the Stir Kinetic Desk.
Labrosse, a former iPod designer at Cupertino computer giant Apple Inc., started Stir after selling a solar energy business to First Solar Inc. in Tempe, Ariz., three years ago.
The Stir desk is a motorized platform operated by an embedded touch screen. Workers can preset their preferred sitting and standing heights and the desk does the rest, using telescoping legs to move itself up and down.
Labrosse said that the first batch of desks, which debuted in the fall and started shipping earlier this year, have sold out. He declined to disclose revenue. This month, the company received a $1.5 million seed investment from Las Vegas investor Tony Hsieh’s Vegas TechFund.
The desk, which retails for about $4,000, uses software and thermal sensors to learn a person’s behavior and programs itself accordingly. That type of personalized automatic adjustment makes the desk similar to another low-tech consumer product, the thermostat, which was reinvented by an Apple veteran into the Nest, which adjusts temperatures on its own depending on whether anyone’s at home.
“The desk senses your presence, it responds to you, it invites you to move during the day based on how you use it,” said Labrosse.
It communicates this message by moving up and down 1 inch when it determines it is time for you to change position and stretch your legs.
The product has Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built in, which Labrosse hopes one day will allow people to link the desk to exercise tracking devices that will help them monitor their physical fitness. Right now, it tracks calories burned on a screen as well as the time a worker spends sitting and standing.
– Matt Pressberg
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