Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Engineers turn to 'soft offices'

Filed under
Sci/Tech

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

Intel's "Utter Garbage" Code Bricks and Delays Linux, Torvalds Furious

today's leftovers

  • 20 Years of LWN
    Back in mid-1997, your editor (Jonathan Corbet) and Liz Coolbaugh were engaged in a long-running discussion on how to trade our nice, stable, reliably paying jobs for a life of uncertainty, poverty, and around-the-clock work. Not that we thought of it in those terms, naturally. We eventually settled on joining Red Hat's nascent "support partner" program; while we were waiting for it to get started, we decided to start a weekly newsletter as a side project — not big and professional like the real press — to establish ourselves in the community. Thus began an amazing journey that has just completed its 20th year. After some time thinking about what we wanted to do and arguing about formats, we published our first edition on January 22, 1998. It covered a number of topics, including the devfs controversy, the pesky 2GB file-size limit on the ext2 filesystem, the use of Linux on Alpha to render scenes in the film "Titanic", the fact that Red Hat had finally hired a full-time quality-assurance person and launched the Red Hat Advanced Development Labs, and more. We got almost no feedback on this issue, though, perhaps because we didn't tell anybody that we had created it.
  •  
  • EzeeLinux Show 18.4 | Ubuntu 17.10 Revisited
    Canonical revised Ubuntu 17.10 with the new 17.10.1. Time to take another look…
  • PodCTL #22 – Highway to Helm
    One of the reasons that Kubernetes has gained so much traction in the marketplace is because it is flexible enough to allow innovation to happen all around the core APIs. One area where that has happened is in application package management, specifically with the Helm project.
  • LibreELEC Linux OS Will Get Meltdown and Spectre Patches with Next Major Release
    The development team behind the Kodi-based LibreELEC (Libre Embedded Linux Entertainment Center) open-source HTPC operating system for embedded systems and PCs released LibreELEC 8.2.3. LibreELEC 8.2.3 is the third maintenance update to the LibreELEC 8.2 "Krypton" series of the Just enough Operating System (JeOS), which is based on the Kodi 17 "Krypton" open-source and cross-platform media center. It's here a month after the LibreELEC 8.2.2 point release to address a few issues.
  • openSUSE 42.2 to Reach End-of-Life This Week
    The minor release of openSUSE Leap 42.2 will reach its End-of-Life (EOL) this week on Jan. 26. The EOL phase ends the updates to the operating system, and those who continue to use EOL versions will be exposed to vulnerabilities because these discontinued versions no longer receive security and maintenance updates; this is why users need to upgrade to the newer minor; openSUSE Leap 42.3. “We are very pleased with the reliability, performance and longevity of Leap,” said openSUSE member Marcus Meissner. “Both the openSUSE community and SUSE engineers have done a fantastic job with security and maintenance of the Leap 42 distribution; users can be confident that their openSUSE operating system is, and will continue to be, receiving bug fixes and maintenance updates until its End-of-Life.”
  • French Gender-Neutral Translation for Roundcube
    Here's a quick blog post to tell the world I'm now doing a French gender-neutral translation for Roundcube.
  •  
  • This Oil Major Has a Supercomputer the Size of a Soccer Field
    Big Oil is now Big Tech. So big, in fact, that Eni SpA’s new supercomputer is the size of a soccer field. In the multimillion-dollar pursuit of the world’s most powerful computers, the Italian explorer says it’s taken the lead. Its new machine, located outside Milan, will scan for oil and gas reservoirs deep below the Earth over thousands of miles. “This is where the company’s heart is, where we hold our most delicate data and proprietary technology,” Eni Chief Executive Officer Claudio Descalzi said in an interview on Thursday.

Compilers and CLI: LLVM, GCC and Bash

KDE/GNOME: Usability and Productivity, Krita Interview, GNOME Builder

  • This week in Usability and Productivity, part 2
    This is your weekly status update for the KDE community’s progress in the Usability and Productivity initiative. KDE contributors have been busy, and here’s a sampling of features, improvements, and bugfixes relevant to the initiative that KDE developers landed over the past week-and-a-half...
  • Interview with Baukje Jagersma
    How and when did you get to try digital painting for the first time? Probably when I first discovered Deviantart. I was already familiar with GIMP, which I used to create photo-manipulations with. But seeing all the amazingly talented artists on there made me want to try out digital painting for myself.
  • Builder happenings for January
    I’ve been very busy with Builder since returning from the holidays. As mentioned previously, we’ve moved to gitlab. I’m very happy about it. I can see how this is going to improve the engagement and communication between our existing community and help us keep new contributors. I made two releases of Builder so far this month. That included both a new stable build (which flatpak users are already using) and a new snapshot for those on developer operating systems like Fedora Rawhide.