Steelcase brings Gesture to India – inspired by global studies on new body postures and driven by the mobile technology.
Steelcase, one of the global leaders in the office furniture industry, unveiled Gesture, one of the world’s first ergonomic office chairs designed to support one’s interactions with today’s technologies. This makes India a part of Steelcase’s global launch of Gesture.
Gesture was inspired by studying the movements of the human body and created for the ways people work today. For 100 years, Steelcase Inc. has helped create great experiences for the world’s leading organisations – wherever work happens.
“We love our technology – it’s become an ubiquitous extension of ourselves. The user interface is intuitive and responds to various gestures. But what about gesture recognition for the human body? The way technology impacts our bodies as we work has been largely ignored,” stated James Ludwig, Vice President of Global Design for Steelcase.
Steelcase recently conducted a global study in 11 countries, including emerging markets like China, observing over 2,000 people in a wide range of environments and postures. The study revealed how new technologies and new workplace behaviours have led to nine new postures not supported by current office chairs which frequently cause pain and long-term injuries, disrupting concentration and creativity. Gesture is designed as a response to this research effort.
“Tablets were introduced just three years ago. But many people are using chairs that were designed well before these new devices became pervasive at work. Back then, chairs were created to help people hold one pose in front of a computer all day. Now we know that people need to move and change positions regularly, especially as they engage with new technologies. We observed people in pain, they need a sitting experience designed for the ways we work today,” added Mr. James Ludwig.
Steelcase researchers studied how the physiology of work has changed, how the human body interacts with new technologies and how it transitions as people shift from one device to another. Researchers noted a more extreme range of human sizes around the world, which impacts postures. The company also studied the changing sociology of work and how people rapidly shift between individual, focused tasks and creative collaboration. Each new activity caused people to change postures.
Steelcase identified nine new tech driven postures based entirely on the result of new technologies. Technology (small and mobile) allows people to pull back from their desks while
they use it.
In the Draw posture, they recline, signaling they’re contemplating or absorbing information and draw the device closer to their body to maintain an optimal focal length.
The Multi-Device posture is formed when a person uses one hand to hold a phone to the ear and the other to task on a laptop. The result is a forward lean that is a symbol of concentration and an orientation to the smaller screen of a laptop.
Smartphones require unique postures. In the Text posture, workers bring arms in close as keying and gesturing are performed. People recline, bring up their feet onto the seat, and draw their smartphone or tablet close, resting on their thighs. The result is the Cocoon posture – small mobile technology that allows people to remain productive in this posture.
The Swipe posture results when the device is used on a work surface in the “surfing mode”, in which people operate the device with one hand, typically with swiping gestures. Because it’s on a work surface, people must keep their head a certain distance above the tablet in order to see it, and position their head to look down at it.
The Smart Lean posture is the result of mobile devices that create the desire for people to temporarily “pull away” from others used for glancing at incoming texts or e-mails without leaving a meeting or collaborative environment.
The Trance posture was observed when people were focused on the screen and either mousing or using a touchpad to navigate on the screen for extended periods of time. In the Take It In posture, people recline to view content on the large display and/or sit back to contemplate. This posture is about “taking in” information rather than generating it.
The “Strunch” (stretched – out hunch) is a very common posture with laptops. As people become fatigued, they gradually push their laptop further from the edge of the work surface, resting their weight on the surface. Since the back and neck cannot sustain the reach and hunch posture for a long time, the person begins to prop themselves up with their non-tasking arm.
Based on this research, Steelcase designed Gesture’s three key interfaces – the core interface, upper limb interface and seat interface to support new postures driven by new technology and more casual behaviours in the workplace.
Gesture encourages motion rather than forcing the body to hold a single posture. The upper limb interface allows people to draw closer to a work surface to avoid hunching over a screen and easily move close to the body to support texting postures. Unlike conventional chairs, Gesture’s core interface hugs the lower back when people recline to scroll on a tablet screen. The seat interface adjusts rapidly to help users avoid perching on the edge of their chair.
Gesture is a system of interconnected parts – inspired by the human body and designed to support every movement. It embraces a broad range of body sizes and easily adapts to meet the needs of each individual user, which is critical in an increasingly global business environment that has to support diverse workers than ever before.
Today’s workers are driven by their vision – small technologies have a gravitational force to pull the body down. If the chair doesn’t move with the user, people slouch to make up for it, or flop on the desk to overcompensate for what is uncomfortable.
The Gesture is expected in the Indian market in early 2014.Steelcase has also established 3 Work Life Centres in India – the company’s flagship showrooms in New Delhi, Bangalore and Hyderabad. Steelcase will be soon inaugurating its 4th Worklife Centre in Mumbai. Earlier in April 2013, the company started its first manufacturing facility in India spread across 50,000 sq.ft. at Chakkan, Pune.