Standing Desk White Paper

Coke can standing desk (Photo by Shien Yang Lee, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

This is a (non-adjustable) standing desk I built my sophomore year of college from empty soda cans and a shelf borrowed from my kitchen cabinet. It cost me virtually nothing to built and was extremely portable. When it came time to move out of my apartment, I simply removed the gaffer tape, recycled the cans, and returned the shelf. It, therefore, addresses two major problems I have with commercially available standing desks — cost and portability. However, its non-adjustable nature meant I was subjected to the tyranny of being forced to stand all the time. Healthy and fun when I was working; less so when I was trying to watch the latest edition of Top Gear or call my friends on Skype.

I am going to take Precision Product Design as an opportunity to build a standing desk that is not only adjustable, but programmable, so that it can (sometimes) have a mind of its own and gently enforce some healthy proportion of standing time.

Another interesting functional requirement I have specified is portability. I will be moving back to Singapore after completing my program at MIT in August, and I would like to be able to bring this machine with me. My vision is for the core drive and locating elements of the mechanism to be separable from bulky but easily replaceable structural elements like the tabletop. This requirement is also pushing me towards building a table-top appliance (e.g., Varidesk Pro Plus) rather than a standalone desk.


FRDPARRC table in notebook (Photo by Shien Yang Lee, CC-BY-SA 4.0)

Here is a FRDPARRC table outlining some additional functional requirements. The plan is to keep evolving this document for the next few weeks as I get feedback, and eventually to consolidate it in an electronic spreadsheet.

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