Researchers at MIT Media Lab have designed a desk that adapts to the mood of the user by adjusting lighting, changing images on a screen (attached to the front of the desk) and playing different sound through a set of speakers. The project, called “Mediated Atmosphere,” is based on psychological studies about the way space impacts productivity.
Researcher Nan Zhao said the desk is a combination of technology, psychology, and design. The prototype collects over 30 biological signals including heart-rate, facial-expressions, and posture. The workspace adapts to what the sensors indicate, like showing a video of running water if the user is stressed.
But the researchers will need to do a lot more testing to get it working at its full potential. Eventually, they hope to customize the desk to the workflow of a specific user.
Zhao also thinks the desk can work in open plan offices without interference, but they have yet to test it in a real-life environment.