Though project deadlines will likely carry over into the new year, unproductive work habits don’t have to. To start off 2015, we’ve gathered gadgets, software, light fixtures, and other tools to help you work more efficiently.
Modus, Shard Designs
Recently, startups and large firms alike have used public crowdfunding platforms to generate the proof-of-concept needed to bring ideas to life. The architecture and design market has not sat this one out, using websites like Kickstarter to launch books, technology, and even projects. Among the latest additions is Modus, a wallet-sized tool that combines a protractor, imperial and metric rulers and compasses, a T-square, rounded edges, and more. The analog design gadget from Pleasanton, Calif.–based Shard Designs is meant for use on the go, facilitating old-school mobile sketching in the digital age.
Moleskine Creative Cloud Connected Smart Notebook, Moleskine
Moleskine's Smart Notebook app can now sync with Adobe's Creative Cloud to digitally edit and share text and sketches. While the notebook adheres to Moleskine's classic design, with rounded-corners and ivory-colored paper, indicators printed on each page help the app capture editable vectors, TechCrunchreports, giving the classic analog tool a digital edge.
Alba, Stack Lighting
Stack Lighting’s Alba is a smart lamp fitted with integrated sensors to provide spectrum adjusted light throughout the day while turning on and off based on occupancy levels and pre-set scenarios. Research shows that natural light boosts workplace productivity, and this lamp’s color temperature can be adjusted to emulate bright morning light or the mellow hues of late afternoon while its learning technology remembers behavior patterns. At the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas today, the Silicon Valley–based startup is announcing that the lamp can sync with Nest's learning thermostat to help gauge occupancy levels for improved thermal comfort. A BR30 lamp is the first in the series, which the company says will be joined by other types including an A19, troffer, and an MR16.
Launched in August, the Morpholio Project’s latest design app is akin to a digital bulletin board. Using the aptly named Board, designers can mix and match swatches and images from an internal manufacturer gallery or directly from the Web to create project-, client-, and topic-specific collages. An alternative to catalogs and piles of magazine cut-outs, the sharable collages let designers and clients see interior design concepts and specs in one place.
Office chairs usually fall into one of two categories: highly technical or highly visual. In Remix, Knoll aims to bring the two concepts together with a contoured seat and flexible, latticed back that provides support. Whether seated in an open-plan office or a private space, the chair’s flexible skeleton and three-point tilt let its users kick back while its integrated ergonomics ensure comfort.
In September, Kansas City, Mo.–based fabricator A. Zahner Co. added a new app to its ShopFloor platform. ImageWall lets designers create, visualize, and order custom perforated metal wall panels while tracking the pricing in real-time to ensure that clients’ requests match the project budget. ARCHITECT senior editor Wanda Lau tested out the software and found its instant visual feedback to be “a perfectionist’s dream—or nightmare.”
OfficeIQ, Humanscale and Tome
At CES this week, office-furniture maker Humanscale and Detroit-based startup Tome are launching a smart workstation that adds a level of gamification to the market for adjustable-height desks. Integrated sensors track how much time users spend at their desks and whether they're sitting or standing, while sending push notifications to encourage movement. A companion app lets occupants track their mobility. At the organizational level, the software is designed to help building managers determine how space is being utilized, particularly in open-plan offices that offer hoteling stations or other unassigned work spaces.