Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Engineers turn to 'soft offices'

Filed under

The Soffice project funded by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is exploring how to use new materials and methods to make offices "softer".

It will assess whether it is feasible to incorporate advanced composite materials into furniture design.

UK workers face noise levels that are 50% over the recommended levels.

Mobile phones, desk phones, printers, voice recognition software, and photocopiers, all combine to produce a cacophony of noise which can measure an average of 75dB (A).

"A" is the average depending on the sound source and what is in the way.

That compares to the rustle of a leaf, which makes around 10dB(A), normal conversation which clocks up 60dB(A), busy street noise at 70dB(A), and a chainsaw at 110dB(A).

The World Health Organisation sets noise levels at 55dB for places like offices.

Too much noise can lead to increased stress levels, and a loss of productivity, according to Fira (Furniture Industry Research Association), which is leading the nine-month project.

But Soffice is not about padding walls and putting "silence please" signs on office walls.

"None of the materials we are using have been used in furniture manufacturing before," Sue Calver, FIRA project leader, told the BBC News website.

Making office furniture out of sound-absorbing material, soft drawer mechanisms, and cladding screens made from acoustic materials could help.

Technological advances have meant that printers, photocopiers and computer noise emission have been lowered.

Headsets instead of clattering phone handsets, phones with individual volume controls, and laser printers have all helped, leaving advances in quieter furniture behind.

They need to create and test acoustically absorbing surfaces as well as cabinet sides and all the frontals for doors and drawers.

Anything is a possibility at this stage of the feasibility study, said Mr Richardson, but how it will shape offices of the future will be down to cost and viability.

Full Story.

More in Tux Machines

6 smart settings to make your Android phone anticipate your needs

There's no denying that our smartphones have made our lives so much easier, putting our contacts and schedules, our driving directions, the whole internet, right at our fingertips. But if you're using an Android phone you might be leaving even more convenience on the table. There are a bunch of super-smart settings in Nougat and Google Now that’ll make your Android device feel like it’s 10 steps ahead of you. Your Android phone can be proactively telling you how long it’ll take to get to work in the morning, and nudging you when your favorite team is about to take the field. Your device can keep itself unlocked whenever it’s on you, and those snapshots you just took can automatically be arranged into beautiful collages. Battery running low? Android can know to dial down background activity to keep your phone alive. And if you love the idea of asking Google questions without ever touching your phone, you can train your phone to do that, too. Read more

Android and Tizen Leftovers

Update: Convictions Upheld, Sentences Extended In Romanian Microsoft Bribery Trial

According to the blog post, the trial ended on October 3rd, and investigators found that more than 100 people, including former ministers, the mayor of Bucharest, and various businessmen were involved in this latest corruption scandal involving Microsoft. More than 20 million euros were paid by Microsoft there as bribes. [...] These bribery convictions are just the tip of the iceberg. Multiple news outlets are reporting on investigations of bribery in other countries as well as separate investigations by the US Department of Justice and the US Securities And Exchange Commission. Read more

Red Hat News