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

Debian GNU/Linux 10 "Buster" Installer Updated with Linux Kernel 4.16 Support

Developed under the Debian Testing umbrella, the forthcoming Debian GNU/Linux 10 "Buster" operating system series just received today the third alpha milestone of its installer, which lets people install the Linux-based operating system on their personal computers, servers, and IoT devices, such as the Raspberry Pi. One of the most interesting changes that caught out eyes is the bump of the kernel support from Linux kernel 4.13, which was used in the second alpha build, to Linux kernel 4.16. Of course, this means that there's better hardware support, so chances are you'll be able to install the development version of Debian GNU/Linux 10 "Buster" on newer machines or if you have some exotic components on your PC. Read more

The New Microsoft

  • Microsoft ICE Contract Draws Fire

    “ICE’s decision to accelerate IT modernization using Azure Government will help them innovate faster while reducing the burden of legacy IT. The agency is currently implementing transformative technologies for homeland security and public safety, and we’re proud to support this work with our mission-critical cloud,” he wrote.

  • Microsoft faces outrage for blog post touting ICE contract

    As outrage grew online, a Microsoft employee quietly removed mention of ICE from the January press release this morning. Social media users noticed that, too. The company has since restored the press release's original language, and called its removal a "mistake."

  • Microsoft Removes Mention of ICE Cloud Work After Protests

    Microsoft Corp. scrubbed an online reference to its work for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement as the agency faces criticism for its role in separating families at the U.S.-Mexican border.

  • Microsoft briefly removes blog post mentioning ICE contract after backlash
  • Microsoft's Ethical Reckoning Is Here

    Tech Workers Coalition, a labor group for tech industry employees, urged Microsoft employees to coordinate their opposition. “If you are a worker building these tools or others at Microsoft, decide now that you will not be complicit,” the group tweeted.

Android Leftovers

First Ubuntu Touch OTA-4 Release Candidate Based on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Is Here

The latest Ubuntu Touch update from UBports, OTA-3, was released last year near the Christmas holidays, but it was still based on Ubuntu 15.04 (Vivid Vervet), so if you though Ubuntu Phones are dead, think again, because the UBports team has been hard at work to bring you the OTA-4, which will be the first to rebase the operating system on Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus). "The main reason why the arrival of OTA-4 seemed to take so long is because Ubuntu Touch switched its base to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus. This is a mammoth milestone for the project, because it allowed us to transition from the unsupported Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet to a Long Term Support (LTS) base," reads today's announcement. Read more Also: UBports' Ubuntu Touch OTA-4 RC Released, Upgrades To Ubuntu 16.04 LTS