There's now plenty of evidence that sitting for long periods increases mortality risk, even if we exercise regularly. So if you spend your days at a sedentary desk job, the Elevate standing workstation might interest you. It combines ergonomics with a sleek, elegant design at a price that won't break the bank.
New Zealand entrepreneurs Sean Ross, Dominic McKiernan and Hayden Breese combined their IT, design and creative skills after Ross developed arthritis of the spine and was unable to spend hours sitting at his computer.
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The trio were disappointed at the size and bulkiness of existing standing solutions and wanted to develop a cost effective product that improved both their physical and visual environment. The result is Elevate, which the team are currently seeking production funds for through a crowdfunding campaign.
"We want to connect with health conscious consumers who value design in their working environment," says Breese, "Our product is perfect for those people who don't want a large bulky standing desk, or an expensive electric desk."
Elevate can be assembled in seconds without the need for any tools. Measuring 420 x 660 x 400 mm (16.5 x 26 x 15.7 in)(W x H x D) when set up, and stacking flat when disassembled, it takes up minimal space so can be used on any desktop or table. Made from 12 mm birch plywood, it is strong, but also lightweight and portable, making it ideal for use around the home or office and business travel.
"What we were looking for was a material that came from a well managed and renewable resource, had a great strength to weight ratio, was dimensionally stable and easily machined," says Ross, "I find it a functional, interactive sculpture that can boost health."
When in place, the stand slopes on an angle away from the user and slots into a base creating a sturdy, stable structure for weight-bearing items, such as laptops, keyboards, and a mouse. A supporting rod is included if further stabilization is required and can be inserted into the back of the unit.
Evenly-placed slots in the main frame allow the user to adjust the height of shelves for the keyboard and laptop, while specially designed grooves keep the shelves firmly in place. Initial testing shows the top shelf can comfortably hold 4 kg (8.8 lb), while the bottom shelf can hold 7.5 kg (16.5 lb).
The effects of sitting too long are alarming, with studies showing that people who sit for prolonged periods of time not only have a higher risk of dying from all causes, even if they get regular exercise, but they are also at increased risk for diabetes and heart disease.
Sean Ross says Elevate is not intended to be a sitting desk replacement, but rather to make it easier for people to move from sitting to standing. "It is a way to get people out of their chairs several times a day by simply placing their laptop on top."
Elevate is similar to a couple of other standing desk options we've looked at in the past, such as the ZestDesk and the Lift, in that there is a little bit of shuffling of bits and pieces required when making the transition from sitting to standing, and vice versa. This is something height-adjustable options like the MisterBrightLight and Varidesk avoid, but those options are more expensive (substantially so for the MisterBrightLight).
Elevate will be available to Kickstarter backers who pledge NZ$150 (US$110) or more, with delivery anticipated in June 2015 if all goes as planned. The campaign, which ends on April 4, has currently raised just just over half of the NZ$20,000 (US$14,800) goal. If successful with Elevate, the trio hopes to develop other products which help people benefit from design in modern and sustainable ways.
You can watch the team's Elevate pitch video below.