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Linux-enabled sit/stand smart desk nudges you into action

Jan 23, 2015 — by Eric Brown 3,762 views

A Linux-based desk with WiFi, Bluetooth, and a 5-inch touchscreen automatically adjusts between sitting and standing, and tells you when it’s time to move.

Talk about good timing: Stir announced its second-generation “Stir Kinetic Desk M1” smart desk the same week the Annals of Internal Medicine published a report on the health dangers of sitting. The study, which distilled the results from 47 different research projects, found significantly higher chances of contracting various diseases from prolonged sitting. Exercising helps, but lifespans are still reduced considerably if you otherwise spend much of your day sitting on your butt, says the study.

Some of these results have already been publicized in recent years, inspiring a new wave of treadmill desks and other standing office gear that lets you write like Hemingway (or at least write using the same posture). It was only a matter of time before someone put a little Linux in their desks, as did Stir with its Kinetic Desk M1. The M1, which can quietly adjust itself from sitting to standing height, monitors how long you’re sitting, and notifies you when it’s time to move.

Kinetic M1 Desk top view
(click image to enlarge)

The original Stir Kinetic Desk F1 was awarded the “Human Interface Product of the Year” earlier this month at CES by the Consumer Electronics Association. The new version is sleeker, more capable, faster in movement, and more affordable than the original, says Stir. The term “affordable” is somewhat relative, however, as it costs $2,990 compared to $4,190 for the F1.

Kinetic M1 Desk edge view
(click image to enlarge)

The new M1 has a thinner, curvier, 60 x 30-inch tabletop with rounded, “waterfall” edges, offering better comfort and improved circulation. The CNC-machined, powder coating on wood desk also supports more monitor arms, attachable task lamps, and keyboard trays than the original, says Stir.

Kinetic M1 Desk details
(click images to enlarge)

The Linux computer behind the touchscreen is faster than the smarts of the K1, running on a 1GHz Cortex-A8 processor. It’s also replaceable, notes Stir, so you can presumably upgrade to a new model in a few years without replacing the desk.


(click image to enlarge)

The 5-inch, 800 x 480 capacitive touchscreen is bigger and higher resolution than the F1’s display. The M1 also offers WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, which it can use to communicate with a Fitbit exercise bracelet, exchanging data about sitting and standing time. It also connects via WiFi and a cloud service to the Fitbit dashboard software. Interaction with other devices is promised in the future.

The M1’s software lets you set goals for sitting vs. standing time, and tells you how you’re doing. A thermal sensor detects when you’re seated, standing, or missing from action.

The software learns from your habits, but also makes recommendations based on goals you set. If it’s past time to stand (or perhaps for some hyperactive people, to sit), it reminds you by adjusting the height of the desk by one inch, a feature Stir calls Whisperbreath. The software also calculates calorie burning, lets you set height presets, and lets you move between presets by double tapping.

Specifications listed for the Stir Kinetic Desk M1 include:

  • Processor — 1GHz Cortex-A8
  • Memory — N/A
  • Display — 5-inch, 800 x 480 high-contrast capacitive touchscreen
  • Wireless — 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz); Bluetooth 4.0
  • Other features — Thermal sensor; Fitbit compatibility
  • Dimensions — 59.5 x 29.5 x 1.125 in. (tabletop); 25.0 to 50.5 in. adjustable height
  • Weight — 140 lb
  • Load — 150 lb static, 300 lb load
  • Power — 4x AC outlets; 120V AC, 60Hz single phase
  • Operating temperature — 5° to 38°C (40 to 100°F)
  • Operating system — Linux

Stir says it’s willing to customize the M1 for volume orders. However, the company did not indicate whether modifications would involve the device’s programmable functionality, or would be in the area of style, color, and finish.

Further information

The Stir Kinetic Desk M1 is available now for $2,990, including shipping. More information and direct sales may be found at the company’s Kinetic Desk M1 product page.

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