Rock is the New Swivel

What is it?
One of the chief goals of technology has been to improve efficiency in order to save time. But this has only meant an increased pace of life and we continue to try harder to pack more into less time and with less effort. The swivel chair is a classic ‘efficiency technology’ that has left backs aching and stress in its wake.

With this prototype, we seek to introduce a powerful antidote into the domain dominated by the swivel. We emphasise how ‘rock’, an interaction thats all but disappeared from the modern seating context, can be a mantra to soothe frayed nerves and at the same time, serve up a widely appreciated need, thanks to networked digital technology.

The theme we worked with is ‘Guerilla free time – how can technology, which has been designed to heighten our efficiency and productivity facilitate break time and ‘helpful’ laziness.
Via this prototype, the mundane everyday task of fetching coffee during a hectic schedule is transformed into an act of relaxation, a forced ‘quiet time’ that encourages you to use every coffee drinking opportunity to take a break, listen to some music, and simply chill.

How does it work?
The rocking chair has an Arduino microcontroller and a Xbee wireless communications device attached under its seat. Also attached is a small MP3 player with some preloaded music, and a small mobile phone speaker. The coffee machine is controlled through a hacked power box, which contains a second Xbee. The two Xbees are in communication with each other. An accelerometer is attached under the chair. When the chair rocks, the Arduino sends a message via the Xbees to turn on power flow to the coffee machine, thus starting the brewing process. The MP3 player is simultaneously turned on. The result is – soothing music and a merry brew in the making, while the person rocks on!