Prototype Workstation Throws An Ergonomic Curveball

In the thirty-plus years since the first personal computers hit the market system capabilities have increased by multiple orders of magnitude. The ways in which end-users access these capabilities, on the other hand, has scarcely changed at all. The last major innovation was the mouse, first popularized by Apple in 1984. In the 26 years hence, a variety of conceptual devices and prototypes have debuted, including everything from the AlphaiGrip to Microsoft's own Surface.

The BendDesk is yet another attempt to create a brand-new, superior method of system control. If nothing else, it deserves credit for ambition. Instead of focusing on yet another keyboard+mouse replacement, its designers chose to revamp the entire process of using a PC. The result is the BendDesk—a seamless curved display that does away with traditional notions of workspace and desktop. This last refers to both the digital and physical version—the area where the keyboard and mouse would normally sit is an active part of the system's display. Items can be dragged from the horizontal to the vertical displays without a problem.

Even under best-case conditions it'll be years before a product based on the BendDesk's design will hit market. Even the prototype, however, has allowed researchers to glean some interesting facts. Not only is the BD prone to creating muscle fatigue, but those who use it still tend to keep data isolated in the vertical or horizontal screens. It's thought that this might be a learned response based on modern day desktops.