Eat your veggies. Update your phone. Floss regularly. Change your winter tires. Eat more fibre. Limit your screen time. Don’t sit for too long. Or stand for too long, either. There are many things that we should do during the course of a day, and it can be daunting to keep up. Herman Miller is aiming to address those last two items at least with Live OS, smart desks that pair with a cloud-based app and dashboard. The system discourages prolonged inactivity right at your desk.
A sensor and control switch installed at the bottom edge of a height-adjustable desk keeps track of body movements, or lack thereof. When it’s time to switch things up, it vibrates the desk gently, similar to how a phone buzzes. A light tap also raises or lowers the desk, or a pre-set program can be set up.
Over time, data collected on your sit-stand behaviour will take over and prompt you to change positions.
During a recent test drive at the Herman Miller showroom in Toronto, I found the experience to be rather pleasant, the rubbery button pad being easy to locate without turning your head.
While there is still no scientific evidence that links sitting all day at a desk to such long-term health issues as diabetes or obesity, it is well known that moving helps clear the mind and gets the blood flowing. What Live OS does best is provide a constant but gentle reminder of that. Herman Miller also sees it as a tool that can benefit office facilitators, who can collect data to find out how to improve (for instance) future office planning.
For personal use, I could see Live OS become even more useful by enabling the data to sync with other wellness apps, to provide an overall perspective. That upgrade would also mean one less batch of analytics to decipher, and we could all use a little less screentime to rest our eyes. (P.S. I am totally slouching as I write this – time for a break.)