Sometimes, you’re looking for a co-worker, and you’d like to know if they’ve gone out to lunch, left for the day already, or haven’t arrived yet.
Normally, you’d have to actually send a text message to that person to ask. But that can be overly intrusive.
Fig. 1: Your coworker’s chair is empty. Did they already leave for the day? Who knows!
With the following chair modification, you will wonder about your coworker’s whereabouts no more!
A normal desk chair can be fitted with a digital timer connected to a pressure sensor. The timer will show when the occupant last sat in the chair, as determined by the pressure sensor (Fig. 2). (The pressure sensor would be identical to the ones used in cars to determine whether or not to deploy the passenger-side airbag).
Fig. 2: The clock on this chair tells you how long it’s been since someone (presumably your co-worker) last sat in it. If it says “18 hours,” then they probably haven’t come into work yet. If it says “5 minutes,” maybe it means they just left for lunch or something.
If your office doesn’t want to spend the money to replace every single office chair, we can also provide an version that just clips onto the back of an existing office chair (Fig. 3).
Fig. 3: This motion sensor (with attached timer) can be clipped to the top of the seat. This will allow existing non-futuristic office chairs to also participate in the “when was this chair last sat in?” system.
Bonus feature #1:
Recharging: The wheels on the chair could be hooked up to a tiny generator, so the chair sensors (presumably these are battery-powered and not plugged in) could be recharged by just rolling the chair around.
Bonus feature #2:
Workplace health: the chair could beep at you if you sit in it for more than a half hour straight, thus reducing health problems from sitting all day.
PROS: You’ll never need to wonder if someone you’re looking for has just stepped out, or if they weren’t even at work at all that day. Excellent for workspaces with flexible work hours or many remote employees.
CONS: Will probably be used as part of an intrusive “employee productivity metric” that will cause people to start putting heavy weights in their chairs to simulate being there all the time, thus preventing this system from working as designed.