Hands-on with the Gravitonus iClubby ergonomic workstation

Hands-on with the Gravitonus iClubby ergonomic workstation
View 22 Images
The original ergonomic Gravitonus workstation
The original ergonomic Gravitonus workstation
View gallery - 22 images

January 23, 2009 Desks were designed before computers existed and they have largely dictated the way we configure our working environment. A lot of journalists are viewing the new Gravitonus iClubby as a workstation for gamers, but in my mind, it’s a lot more than that. Perhaps it’s time to reappraise exactly what a workstation should look like, because after trying it at CES, I want one, and I only spend a very small proportion of my time gaming. The fully ergonomic seating position, three screens, the sound system and lighting and temperature controls makes it the ideal high productivity workstation for anyone who spends long hours slaving over a hot keyboard . At $7000 it isn’t cheap, but it’s VERY comfortable, and I suspect the increased productivity afforded by the comfort and increased concentration would yield an ROI measured in months, not years, and there’s no price you can put on a bad back and aching shoulders.

I have often found it intriguing that people can spend $50,000 or more on a car, yet sleep in an uncomfortable bed, or have a less than ideal workstation set-up, when they spend far more time in the latter environments than the former.

Like many people, including most of Gizmag’s full-timers, I suffer from a bad back – it didn’t take me long sitting in the new iClubby at CES to decide that I’d have an iClubby, or something like it, in the not-too-distant future. The constant breaks and stretching from an uncomfortable work environment simply eat away at productive time and output, and if it’s how you earn a living, then it makes economic sense to create the most comfortable and hence creative setting possible.

What’s interesting about the iClubby is that it involves not just the screen and seating positions, but with air temperature and ambient lighting conditions adjustable, plus a powerful 5.1 surround sound also part of the plot, it controls most of the variables in your personal working environment .

The Matrox triple-header is the icing on the cake – as we’ve pointed out many times over the last few years, the amount of usable screen real-estate you have available on the desktop is almost directly proportional to productivity, so with three screens, it’s heaven … one of our staffers uses a Matrox triple header and swears by it.

I didn’t spend much time with it, but the short time I did play with it, everything worked logically and there’s clearly been a lot of thought gone into things based on the lessons learned with the original ergonomic workstation – from the ventilation airstreams through the subwoofer located in the seat to ensure you get the feel of your gaming, music, movies etcetera.

Gamers were once characterised by acne and a educationally-induced poverty but the first generation of gamers are out there running companies and using the digital skills they honed over long hours doing business – such people will love the iClubby.

Like I said though, you don’t need to play games to appreciate what the iClubby can offer – anyone who earns their living looking at a computer screen will benefit from the personal environment the workstation offers. Noel McKeegan

View gallery - 22 images
Before you get too carried away you should recognize that this is an ergonomic seat ONLY for the purpose of sitting still. Our bodies were not made to be static, or have motion only in the minor motor muscles. The Matrox is a good example of how to do a harmful thing in a seductively way. I'm thinking that a kinesthetic workstation would have a way for all of the muscle groups to get involved. A REAL ergonomic workstation would let all of our muscles work. It would also make sense to have the work we do generate the electricity to run the electronics.

It would have a display that is immersive - like the visual domes that fighter plane simulations use. They have full-time low resolution for all areas of the dome, plus a high-resolution inset in the area where the pilot is looking (determined by a head-mounted sensor).

Since most of our work involves moving information, display software should allow us to make our interactions with the information analagous to the way we move things in the real world. Info packets that look and act like boxes to be lifted. Connections that look and act like wires to be connected. Tools for shaping information that are like machining tools.

To repair the social damage that self-isolating workstations cause, there should be group versions of the device that physically allow several people to work on the same machine in ways that are mutually beneficial to the participants and the groups they are working for. The software should also let users team up to in beneficial ways - just like we do in real life (worthwhile life anyway).

Nick Hein
Morgantown, WV
I'm all for a more user-friendly workstation with adjustable lighting and no back pain, but I'm not entirely sold on this configuration. First, there's that bar between your feet that requires you to mount this think like a bicycle. That's fine for the guys in pants but even in a long, full skirt this may cause some issues. And I sure don't want to see a kilt-wearing coworker using this.
Also, even though I do 90% of my work on a computer, I'm often working with paper documents. Where do they go? Where's the scanner fit? Drawyers anyone?
Like I said, I'd love to see a better workstation but there's a reason the desk is still in use. Sigh. If only my boss would let me hang a monitor or two over my craftmatic bed.
Keep trying.