First we sat at our desks, then we were told it was healthier to stand. Now one startup believes we should all be lying down while we work, and it has made a £4,000 moving robotic desk to prove its point. Called the Altwork Station, the desk, laptop stand, screen and chair combine into a single piece of furniture that can be moved electronically into a range of different positions. While sitting and standing are par for the course, the Altdesk's party trick is how it can lift up and over the user, whose seat reclines into a lying down position, with the screens pointing down at the user.
Everything is controlled from a panel of buttons sunk into the left side of the desk, next to your keyboard, and once you have found the perfect position, it can be saved and returned to with a single press of a button. Whatever position you choose, the screen always remains the same ideal distance from your eyes, and there's an extendable leg rest that comes out to let you into the dentist's chair position.
The seat can be folded right back, but thanks to magnets in the desk, aluminium keyboards and mice − like those made by Apple − stay in place, while an industry-standard Vesa mount holds the screen in place, too. A lot of work has gone into the workstation and is evidence of the meetings company CEO Che Voigt had with multiple aerospace engineering companies.
But the system is big, complex and heavy, weighing some 210lb (95kg). It also needs plenty of space to accommodate the different ways it can move around, and the starting price of $3,900 (£2,555) will rise to $5,900 (£3,865) once the initial promotion discount ends.
But for the high price you get an equally large range of customisation options. There are 10 different upholstery colours to choose from, plus three frame colours and four desk and accent colours. The California company hopes to begin shipping the desks from early 2016. The Altwork desk is, of course, out of reach for the vast majority of keyboard bashers, but surely a Silicon Valley company with a love of quirky office design (pretty much all of them) will snap these up and reveal how much more productive its staff are when they are horizontal.