Building my own ergonomic computer workstation is a personal dream of my mines. I already have my “Command Centre” as I often refer to it at home but its not worth taking a photo, it might break the camera. What I have already is a constantly adapting an harshly put together frame. A dual screen computer with a £250 futuristic chair, all attached to a frame of old scaffolding and then painted camouflage style. That entire idea came from the first image below but I made do with materials I had the opportunity to obtain.
New Lightweight Materials
There are some really strong and light materials available as of 2012 onwards. Take a look at this article on the Science Daily website which talks about material stronger than steel. There are many more materials coming into play and I think it will lead the way to true ergonomic computer workstations being mass produced. Although they might be very expensive for many years. The reduction in size and weight will lead to cheaper national shipping, local delivery and installation.
I discovered what looks to be a home made solution and it inspired me to take things further, quickly and cheaply but not perfectly. The image above shows a structure created from standard pipes, something easily obtained and cut down to size with the proper tools. I was seriously considering the possibility of producing them on order, as a hobby that might cover it’s own costs. What I want to do now is look at the other concepts I found around the Internet and consider the pros and cons of each design. This research could help to reduce the number of prototypes that would be made.
The revolutionary 3D printer is going to change the world. Already we’re talking about hardware for using in the home and it won’t take long for there to be a whole range of 3D printers on the market. What I vision is developers like myself using CAD type software to design ergonomic computer workstations and sell the designs online. Designs could have variations for more devices being attached and they would be downloaded to a computer connected to a 3D printer which proceeds to create all of the parts required, one at a time. Soft materials may be an issue right now though as these printers create solid objects but it won’t be long till any synthetic material can be created.
How fun would it be to shop for a very cool ergonomic computer workstation online, watch it being created an hour later and even picking the materials that will cushion your back!? Even if we can’t all afford a home 3D printer. There will be local services ready to take orders and it looks to be a cheap process based on how fast the technology is developing.
Concept Ergonomic Computer Workstations
However a futuristic my own office chair is, it’s just not enough for me or my back and I found myself searching Google for ergonomic computer workstations a.k.a. zero gee computer chairs because its all about spreading the body weight out, saving the butt cheeks and lower back. I found enough designs to realize that I’m far from the first person to feel the need for ultimate comfort while working on a computer and performing 12 hour shifts. However most designs I found were concepts or just far too expensive to build. Some are too bulky and don’t make good use of modern materials.
Computer Station One – At The Dentist
If I could get my hands on a dentist chair I could slap on an extend-able monitor arm and I think I’d be happy, but I bet there is a fair price in one of those. I also don’t want to end up on the list of NHS dentists (UK). First thing I would like to point out about this design is the mechanism that allows the chair to pivot, I’m guessing it is lockable and the tilt angle can be changed. Not something easily done on a basic budget that only allows tinkering around without risking safety, however creating two positions may be possible and certainly an attractive idea. The ability to get in this chair in the upright position then tilt back does make a lot of sense and a bar for the back of the chair resting on in the rear position would be simple to do. Maybe a large spring to ad a little bounce and make the action of tilting back a little softer would be worth doing. This chair is my favorite but it only has one extendable arm for a monitor, my chair would need two. This is the only design that looks truly zero -g and will spread the body weight out over the entire chair, something I will aim in my own chair as priority over all other abilities.
Computer Station Two – Office Crane
At first you might think, cool that looks futuristic, I know I did. Then I thought about it a little more and realised this is not a good design at all. Sure it has a different design to most chairs we sit in but no more than a simulator at a theme park or the seating of a large theme park attraction in general. Maybe for that very purpose it would suit the theme but I don’t think this would work well in a building. It is very bulky, heavy looking and the overhead bar reminds me of a crane. Obviously the structure design is not possible with the use of polls which I have planned. Even if I could, I wouldn’t. There is a lot to the overall object but look at the seat, pretty much still your average seating area and if the backrest tilts back your looking down your nose to see the screens. I could fix screens on the wall above my desk in my current chair and I’ve reached the same idea. Here comes another however, if this entire station could tilt back or the “crane” moved in motion with the chair then the overhead bar is perfect. It will allow the screens to stay level with the eyes and avoid clutter at each side of the station. I can’t see that being possible with the design in this image but there is no reason the overhead bar can’t be fixed to the back of the seat and balanced in a way that doesn’t make the tilt action a lot of work.
Computer Station Three – Arcade Fun
We’ve all seen the arcade racing or space combat games and I pretty much believe this is the purpose of this design. The massive back part serves little purpose however unlike Computer Station Two, it looks as if the overhead screen mount adjusts. The spine reminds me of many designs I’ve seen in games so technically it’s far from the office concepts I’m discussing. The fact that it does have three screens made me display it because I currently use two. If I were to make an overhead screen mount much like the one in Computer Station Two it would be more worth doing for use with three screens. Computer Station Three has added the need to purchase a third screen and that I believe is something this design gets right.
Computer Station Four – Roll On Roll Off
Could you picture getting on and off this thing, especially at the end of a very long day. I think the neighbours would here my knees crack and I’m only 26! I simply don’t like this design, the close to the ground approach is something for me to avoid. The overhead bar is the neat thing about this chair, it’s so simple. Look at the elements involved in Computer Station Two just to hold two screens in-front of the user, there is just no need for it for a home or office concept. If I can get a piece of curved metal like this for low cost I would be very happy, feel free to donate it to me if you just happen to have it laying around somewhere.
Computer Station Five – Music Entertainment
Do you get the feeling that the pads are electronic drums? I’m not saying that is a bad thing but if that is the feeling I get now, having one would make me feel like I was using it wrong all the time. I’m fussy about my technology and hardware so it would not work. This design made me consider one large screen, but that’s not really a developer approach. Especially a developer who likes to fire up a game during breaks but needs to keep an eye on the emails, that only looks good filling a single screen. The base of the chair looks very fixed, maybe not but in general the chair is an old approach. My current chair has a mesh design, you can see through it basically and theres nothing that allows your body to breath than my mesh chair. I’ll be finding a way to use my chairt in my own station. What I would love for the base of my design is metal floor plating and I’m considering the need for some weight or advantage in using weight to avoid making a wide frame. That is about the only thing this design gives me, I think it is suited for a very specific use.
Computer Station Six – “Na-Nu Na-Nu!
Fans of the 1987 Science Fiction Sitcom, “Mork & Mindy” may be keen on this design but it really only has one use and that is the ability to put it into compact mode. Both parts of the egg looking pod slide together and that idea is no use in my final design. There is really not much to get from this design which is really a designer chair, a computer with a back cover and both parts fixed to a base. Very simple in terms of functionality and no where near the adaptable station I will need. This is an example of a station that is far too simple.
Computer Station Seven – Can It Roll?
This design might remind you of many other concept designs for totally different things. The whole circular approach is very economical and easy on the eyes. A single piece of metal makes up most of the structure, that has to be good. The screen is on a seperate arm which looks adjustable and is an idea I’m keeping in mind for my own design. Although I planned to position my monitors facing level with the seat at all times, even when it tilts as the overhead bar will be fixed to the back of the seat, this smaller arm may provide distance adjustment which I find is good when staring at screens for many hours. Chances are the distance of my screens will be adjustable by attaching the screens onto a horizontal bar, which is attached to a vertical bar which is attached to the overhead bar. The attachement may slide along and a basic pin could fix it in place. I’ll draw up some basic designs to depict this idea.
Computer Station Eight – Compact
This design is very small and basic. If it was available to buy I bet it would be good for the price. It made me remember that I need to access my tower and I really like this approach to having it between the legs. We don’t need that space so much once we’re sitting in position. Another very basic thing in this design is the bars for feet resting on. I can’t see it being good to have the legs in one position at all times so in my design I would like something a little more advanced. Ideally a feet pad that provides resistance but moves when pushing it, this is good for stretching the muscles a little and getting the blood flowing. I also believe that support of the enter lower leg is better than the foot resting on something or something at the back of the knee. I have the idea of using halfs of a pipe, putting a layer of memory foam on them.
My Concept Design
I’ll update information about my own design as time goes by and get some images on here as soon as possible, this is a project on the side and a small glimpse of my ambition for the future of WebTechGlobal. Not just web services but services for people involved in the web.
Mouse and Keyboard Positions
I think it is a must that the position of my keyboard and mouse can be adjusted especially if to just change the way I’m using my arms. That is important to help avoid Repetitive Strain Injury.
Other Hardware Positions
I also think there is no reason I can’t consider positions and fixtures for other things that might make life easier such as a drinks holder, somewhere to fix a microphone in a way that it is not using up desk space such as in the overhead bar, fixed speakers. I may even take it a step further and create a position for my printer in the hopes that it will increase effeciancy. The printer could possibly be directly under the chair.
I want to use my current chair as the seating, it cost a bit over £200 so it is not basic. A problem is the fact that it turns. I could probably find a way to prevent this but at the same time I would like to keep the ability. However if I fixed the overhead bar to my chair, spinning around for a laugh could take someones head off or embed a monitor in their face…ouch!
My current chair, which I plan to use, spins and if I allow this to happen in my final Computer Station it would make it easier to get in and out. I could probably make the design a little more compact with this allowed however there are also issues allowing the chair to spin! Maybe the overhead bar for fixing screens too is a bit ambition or will cancel out too many advantages.