Many religions would tell us our purpose in life is to ease suffering wherever we can. And if that's the truth, this wonderfully small invention may be the pinnacle of geometry genius Chris Heyring's storied career.
Heyring describes himself as an artist more than a scientist, but he's intuitively tuned in to the notion of stability. That, and a wacky-looking shape called the hyperbolic paraboloid, but that's another story. Now, he's turned his hand to a new venture that aims to eradicate the wobbly cafe table from the face of the Earth.
The problem is simple enough – a three-legged table will always sit flat, but they're unstable and easy to knock over. A four-legged table gives you a good stable base, but if the ground's not perfectly flat beneath it, it's going to rock back and forth between two triangles, spilling your coffee and causing all sorts of unnecessary angst.
Yes, you can solve it by folding up a napkin as a wedge under the high leg. Yes, you can fit a table with extendable screw-out legs so you can balance it manually. But neither of those offer a real solution for stressed-out cafe staff who need to set up and tear down tables before and after shifts each day.
So Heyring has built what he calls the No-Rock table – a four-legged table that's designed to sit perfectly stable on all four legs, whether the floor is even or not.
It's mechanically simple; it's all in the shape of the table feet, which are designed to fit loosely together when there's no load on them. When you place the table down, the feet lean on each other to create a stable base in which each leg can settle at the height of the floor beneath it.
The technology works with a bunch of different aesthetic designs. There's also a terrace version which easily folds the table down and lets you store a bunch of them in a nested formation that's easy to keep out of the way.
No-Rock is already rolling the system out in Europe, Australia and North America.
I really feel you're robbing yourself if you don't spend a little time watching this video, which eventually gets around to the No-Rock table and how it works, but does a wonderful job giving you an insight into Chris Heyring's mind and character. What a unique fellow!
If you just want to see something a bit drier about the product itself, this video will do the trick:
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