Zero Gravity Work Pod - Phase II - Working Prototype
Zero Gravity Workstation for Zero Gravity Recliners. Stand alone cubicle or game pod. Supports two 27" monitors and has two CPU bays.
The Zero Gravity Work Pod, is the result of my passion to perfect a computer workstation that would provide the ultimate in comfort, space, ergonomic layout, and still remain somewhat stylish.
I have Fibromyalgia, symptoms of which include chronic joint & muscle pain, balance and cognitive problems, and increased sensitivity to touch or pressure, just to name a few. This can make remaining in any position for more than a few minutes uncomfortable and even painful after just a few minutes.
Finding a comfortable way to sit, stand, work, cross your legs, or arms, hold a cup of coffee or just trying to sleep at night, is an ongoing challenge. Creating the perfect way to work at the computer for hours at a time, in comfort, has been one of my goals. This Pod is where I will spend the majority of my working day. It has to be comfortable so I can focus on the tasks at hand.
How did the solution come about?
I realized after years trying to work in a regular chair and corner computer desk, that I always ended up working with my feet up on the desk with the keyboard on my lap. Why? Because it was the most comfortable way to work. It's not too great for my lower back though, the task chair provides little support when used this way, unless I tuck a pillow behind me.
My wife bought me a zero gravity lawn chair, which I love. Unfortunately, it's just not compatible with my traditional L-shaped, computer desk setup (I really tried, but the monitors were too far away for my "computer" glasses). So, I reasoned, why not build a desk around the zero gravity chair? Zero gravity chairs provide the most comfortable way I've found to sit or recline. This miracle is achieved by relieving the compression from gravity on your spinal column and letting it decompress, as well as relaxing the lower back muscles. Placing your feet up encourages good blood flow from the heart to the brain and the rest of your body.
When you recline in a zero gravity chair, your back is almost perpendicular to the position it would be in a normal task chair. Why not just turn the desk perpendicular as well?
The idea of using a double arch just came to me in a flash of inspiration, (or maybe too much Star Trek), sort of a U-shaped desk standing upside down. This would allow a monitor and CPU to be mounted on either side of the recliner. A two CPU setup makes perfect sense if you are a 3D power user like me. (Rendering at high resolution is demanding and time consuming, often completely tying up a computer). I'm sure many others in compute intensive environments would agree this is a sweet setup.
That's why I decided to make the Work Pod available to the public, I feel it could make a huge difference in the way we work and play at the computer. Response to my original design was great and I received many inquiries. It was never built however, I lacked a room in the house large enough to hold it. (I had too much other stuff in the room as well).
A new 500 square foot studio will provide the space I need to finally house the Pod, so we decided to build the first one as a prototype that we can work on, perfect and figure out how to manufacture it economically and of the highest quality. The prototype would also provide us with a model to photograph and probably end up as my desk.
Form follows function as they say, and really, the Arch component is definitely functional. Two adjustable arms for the monitors are bolted onto either side of arch, facing the recliner. They not only swing out of the way for exiting, but can also be tilted to match your preferred angle of recline. Placing the CPU & backup power supply bays low in the base, (on slide out drawers for easy access, of course), forms a very stable support unit for two large monitors. The Arch also helps to hide the CPU's, equipment and cables from front or rear view.
The Arch component also has built-in cable management. Wiring from one bay of the Arch could be run over the top of the arch to the other bay, instead of across the floor. All in all, a very neat and accessible solution. The wire management consists of short sections of rod to stretch wires over the three point Arch. There will be strategically placed cutouts in vertical and horizontal elements to allow routing wiring to nearly every place in the Pod. Barely visible, and very tidy.
Adding the U shaped, three tiered, wrap around Rear Shelf component to the back of the arch. provides ample horizontal surfaces for phones, laptops, tablets, books, e-readers, coffee cups, etc, all within arms reach. Adding the Rear Shelf component has the added benefits of increasing the stability of the arch and providing a cable management system that will neatly route wires from the Arch component to the Rear Shelf component. Optional cabinets or several different shelf components will be available for the front of the Arch, to add a degree of customization and even more storage.
Even with all the space it provides, a fully decked out Zero Gravity Work Pod, has a footprint of barely over 7' x 9'. It is an ergonomically laid out, space saving, and self contained cubicle. It's sure tol find a home in fields like publishing, web design, 3D animation, software development, finance, and many other fields where people are required to work at a computer all day. Did I mention gaming?
This is about the third iteration of this particular desk and I think I have most of the kinks worked out. The next step in the process is to build a prototype, out of plywood. around an actual zero gravity recliner.
The first thing we need is an actual zero gravity recliner. The most popular model, the "Perfect Chair" starts at about $1400, refurbished. This will be the baseline chair we will start with. Building the prototype around an actual chair will allow us to make any adjustments to monitor, keyboard and shelf heights to create the most comfortable working solution.
Putting a person in the chair to measure arm reach, eye to monitor distance, refine the ease of access and egress from the pod is part of the process as well. Additional materials & hardware plus the cost of rewards mean our total minimum goal to get this project rolling is a mere $2400, slightly less than the projected cost of a complete Zero Gravity Work Pod.
The plan is to offer the desk as components so it may be customized for each customer. The arch being the main component, with the rear shelf unit & various front cabinet and shelf units as add-on options.
The components at the entry level will be sanded plywood with an edge laminate. There will probably be a choice of laminate materials at a slightly higher price point.
We are exploring offering the option to construct the final units with other sheet materials like clear or mirrored Lexan, Starboard XL (30% lighter than Starboard(, or solid acrylic countertop sheets, allowing a wide range of colors and looks. Would you like yours in Clear Lexan, Wood laminate or solid faux Granite or faux Marble?
Please help us make the Zero Gravity Work Pod a reality for all you computer warriors out there. Help us change the office landscape of the future. All you need to do to make it happen, is provide a tiny bit of support for our Zero Gravity Work Pod Prototype Kickstarter Project with a small investment. Donations start at just $1. Be the first to order one with a donation at the $50 and $100 reward levels. Thank you!
We will be providing photos and status updates as we build the prototype and will be launching a website for the Zero Gravity Work Pod in the near future with all the relevant information and pricing when it is available. Thank you so much for your support!
Risks and challenges
It is the first time I've worked with this craftsperson on a project of this type, so developing a working relationship that allows us to communicate clearly and concisely is the first big challenge.
Making the final product easy to break down and reassemble with minimal tools.
Providing enough adjustment to accommodate different recliners and different sized users.
- (45 days)