This WFH setup is our dream workstation, including everything from virtual reality to detachable screens!

Now that we’ve had a taste of what working from home feels like, we’re all noticing the ways our work setups can be improved. It might be that your desk is too short or that your wires desperately need some organizing. No matter what you do, your workspace should feel comfortable and accessible so that you can move through the workday as smoothly as possible. After one year of intermittently working from home, Lucas Couto dreamed up his ideal WFH setup and it’s safe to say, we all want in.

What appears as a simple computer desk setup turns out to be so much more. For starters, Couto’s workstation setup, “Future of Work,” features a retractable display screen that detaches into a foldable tablet/laptop. The simple OS desktop functions as the workstation base, where files can be created and stored. Then, when Couto needs a tablet or laptop for easy portability, the same files will be made available on the go.

In addition to the desktop’s detachable screen, Couto’s design features another tablet that can attach itself to the desktop for an extended display, offering quick file sharing and supplemental portability. Finally, Couto’s “Future of Work” setup comes equipped with VR compatibility, providing a headset that turns into a dashboard where all of the work station’s appliances are connected. The integration of VR allows for seamless file transferring between devices, like sharing CAD models between devices and other file formats.

Nowadays, it’s important for the technology we use to cater to our needs, from getting stuff done for work to using it at our leisure. When technology doesn’t flow the way we need it to, it can feel like our whole workday has been derailed. Couto’s “Future of Work” conceptual design realizes the ultimate cohesive work setup through multiple device connectivity for a smooth workflow, convenient portability for busier days, and integrative VR assistance for intuitive file transferring.

Designer: Lucas Couto

Following multiple ideations, Couto conceptualized the WFH setup of his dreams.

Following a year’s worth of intermittently working from home, Couto designed a WFH station that includes multiple device sharing platforms and seamless file transferring.

Hinging on portability and accessibility, Couto’s WFH system includes a tablet that transforms into a laptop.

Featuring retractable screens that turn into standalone tablets, Couto’s WFH setup is designed for convenience.

After working on the tablet, it can then be transferred to the desktop’s screen just by dragging your fingers.

By incorporating a supplemental tablet, the desktop’s display screen can nearly double in size.

By including a VR headset, Couto makes it easy to search through his dashboard and organize his work across multiple device platforms.

This boxing platform uses rhythm tech, like Dance Dance Revolution, to make workouts more challenging!

I’ve never enjoyed lifting weights – more dynamic sports like boxing and rowing have been my go-to fitness regimens through the years. But since quarantine ordered us into self-isolation, my workouts have consisted of a lot of running, running, and more running. I know I’m not the only one getting a little bored – I miss pounding sandbags and the trainers who’d scream boxing combos in my face. While I can’t wait for the day that in-person training sessions rev up again, new fitness designs like Liteboxer, a guided boxing platform, offer solutions that make sparring in the ring possible for home workouts.

Liteboxer is the only connected fitness platform currently on the market today that offers full-body boxing workouts equipped with Rhythm Technology and expert training. It’s like Dance Dance Revolution but for your fists. Built and shaped like a traditional treadmill, Liteboxer works once users stand atop the base platform, adjust the punch pad’s height as needed, and connect their personal smartphone or tablet devices to the built-in tablet shelf for engaging expert training. Opting for a more physically digital experience, Liteboxer’s instruction primarily takes place on the punch pad so you won’t spend your workouts looking at yet another screen.

Once users have connected their tablets to Liteboxer, music, also called ‘Punch Tracks,’ can be played so that boxers can punch in time with predetermined songs – this is where the patented Rhythm Technology steps in. Through the use of Rhythm Technology, Liteboxer syncs its software and larger systems with the given beat of a song. As the music plays for users, the punch pad’s force sensors light up with LED runway lights to indicate a given boxing combo. As users punch Liteboxer’s force sensors and work up a sweat, professional trainers offer tips and coaching through the user’s attached smartphone or tablet, which can either be connected to external speakers or Bluetooth.

Liteboxer was first thought of by Todd Dagres after returning home from the boxing ring only to feel slightly less enthused over his stationary sandbag compared to his time spent sparring with his friends. Liteboxer has been regularly compared to the ever-popular Peloton, that smart home-gym system that replaces physical training with a more digital experience, as well as Dance Dance Revolution, that old dancing video game that Lindsay Lohan crushed in 2004. While both seem to be reasonable comparisons, Liteboxer boasts the best from both, making for a first-of-its-kind boxing experience for your home gym.

Designer: Liteboxer

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Foldable and rollable screens of smart gadgets that are dictating the 2021 technology trends!

Foldable screens are quite honestly taking over the tech world! Whether they’re in the form of smartphones, tablets, laptops, smartwatches, or even televisions, they’re gaining immense popularity. They are a cutting edge and innovative development in the tech world and are a prediction that these could be the future of screens. On a personal note, I do appreciate them quite a bit, as they do tend to be modular and flexible to various forms! They can function as several gadgets in one go, reducing the need to use and carry around various devices. These foldable screen concepts do exactly that, with a single concept doubling or tripling up as multiple gadgets, for example, a smartphone doubling up as a smartwatch, or as a tablet and laptop. After all, a trend will predict the future of the technology world, and if a single fold is the dominating factor, future will hold more complex permutations of the humble single folding screen. Scroll down to see how a folding screen can impact the tech world.

If you look at the iPhone X Fold’s OS, you see that it’s essentially an iPad Mini folded in half… a desirable #bendgate if you will. It features a secondary screen on the front that resembles the iPhone X, but its most unlikely yet apt inspiration comes from one of Apple’s most reliable products ever, the MacBook. The XFold features an inward screen as the MacBook does, and even comes with the same anodized aluminum finish. Look at the rim and you’ll even see a slight cutout on the frame to slide your thumb in and open the phone, just like the MacBook has. The iPhone XFold concept truly embodies the best of all worlds. When closed, it’s an iPhone X, when opened partially, it’s a miniature MacBook, and when fully opened, the XFold transforms into an iPad.

Designed by Beencent Oh, Unclose is a rollable display concept that is quite intriguing. It’s a rollable curtain that can be positioned above our windows, however, as it rolls down, it exposes a screen that is not only similar to a window but also provides you privacy from the outside world, while you relax in your home. You can select the background of the display through its companion app on your smartphone. You can pick beautiful sceneries or even pretty images of the sky! You can set reminders as well as alarms, and check the weather too on the screen. Imagine waking up to a display of the radiant sun, without actually being bothered by its sunny rays!

Meet the Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 3 concept… It actually folds in the shape of the letter Z, and comes with one singular screen that cascades from the inside to the out, unlike previous folding models that had a dedicated external display and a folding internal one. The Galaxy Z Fold 3 works out the hinges in a way that allows you to use only the outer part of the display when in closed-mode, and the entire screen when completely opened. When opened, the dual-hinge format gives the smartphone multiple ways to orient it. You could potentially open it out completely, turning it into a tablet, or use it in one of many shapes, allowing the phone’s flexible body to work as a stand. The most standout feature of this concept is its ability to be used as a real laptop.

Codenamed ‘Papyrus’, this foldable phone is able to expand beyond the original display size of the Mi Mix Alpha, owing to two scroll-like mechanisms on its sides. This axle allows Papyrus to occupy various sizes, varying from the size of a small TV remote to a medium-sized tablet. Though it is narrower compared to the original Mi Mix Alpha, Papyrus has three versatile modes; compact, standard, and (wide) tablet. In the compact mode, it completely collapses to occupy a folded position, looking much like a chain of lego blocks or a chocolate bar! In the standard format, it expands further (like a scroll) to reveal the three-lens camera with high resolution on the back. And on giving a final tug to the sides, the scroll mechanisms on the axle allow the OLED screen to expand to a tablet of 7-8 inches or even more.

The Rollean TV has been truly designed on the ideology of a built-in-shelf. This rollable TV concept blends with your interiors, it is minimal and sleek, unlike the usual TV stands. You simply roll out the screen when you watch to binge Netflix and slide it back to turn it into a table – ninja skills! You can lean it against a wall and roll the screen down or if you have existing furniture but don’t like the bulkiness of your TV, simply rest it on the shelf and pull the screen up, no bending required. When not being used, only a part of the TV remains exposed and shows the time which means it’s not just a table, it is a smart table that will fit within any interior setting.

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Braga is an interactive sleeping aid that specifically aims to help insomnia sufferers. With user-defined technological and personalized features, this design solution makes restful sleep possible. Surrounding the bed is an OLED, a film of an organic compound, emitting light, which bridges digital solutions with the human experience. The OLED screen is the sleeping aid’s primary charm and uses rollable, flexible technology in order to envelop the top half of your body and project images from the depths of your most peaceful, relaxing imagination. By promoting the beneficial and curated use of Artificial Intelligence, stressors such as anxiety and depression can be managed.

The Flexbook is like a laptop met a sandwich. Unlike most laptops, which have a two-part design connected via a hinge, the Flexbook has three parts. A main body, comprising your motherboard, electronics, ports, and keyboard… and around it, a two-part flexible screen that sandwiches the keyboard in the middle. The Flexbook can be traditionally used as a laptop with a 3:2 12.6-inch display, simply by opening it and using one half of the screen, or as a massive Wacom Cintiq-style tablet PC with a neat 4:3 17.8-inch touchscreen. This interchangeability is what makes the Flexbook such a unique laptop because it can alternate between being a laptop and a tablet, much like the Microsoft Surface, but with the advantage of a massive 17.8-inch screen in the form factor of a 13 inch laptop.

Designed by Jeabyun Yeon, Limbo is a foldable smartphone concept that transforms into a smartwatch! Created from materials like T.P.U and high polymer which contribute to its flexibility, Limbo can be used as a smartphone and converted into the form of a watch when needed. Featuring a 4.3″ and 16:9 WSVGA AMOLED flexible display, and measuring 6mm in thickness, Limbo is a unique concept with a modular and ergonomic form that can cater to our various needs in various situations. Maybe the next Apple Watch could adopt Limbo’s design philosophy!

The Apple version of a folding phone could take design cues from the Galaxy Z Fold 2 if they decide to make it an all-out flagship-grade version, or go for a subtle Razr-like form factor if they desire to cater to a niche set of buyers. If we go by the patent filed by Apple, the display will have a crease-less foldable panel (like Galaxy Z Fold 2) and a folding mechanism similar to Motorola Razr – folding like a handy mirror. The early renders of the iPhone 13 are not exactly promising (for either of the versions) but we can count on Apple’s tendency to be thorough in its design testing and the result will be ready to shock and awe. Any way they choose to proceed, a folding iPhone is inevitable and who knows it could be the iPhone 13 Fold or a new model that is positioned separately from the conventional iPhone series.

The Nubia is to smart-watches what the plus-sized displays are to smartphones. The watch comes with an impressive 4-inch display that wraps around the upper half of your wrist, giving the Nubia the largest display on a smart wearable BY FAR. Designed to help lay information out in a way that’s easy to see no matter the angle, Nubia’s vertical display is instantly eye-catching and is conveniently long enough so that you don’t need to scroll away on a tiny screen. It comes with a real-time heart-rate tracker, 4 dedicated sports/fitness tracking modes, the ability to accept and reject calls, find your phone if it gets lost, and summon your phone’s native voice assistant.

Kensington’s iPad dock turns your tablet into an iMac (and wirelessly charges your iPhone too!)

The iPad was practically designed to be the spiritual successor to the computer and Kensington’s StudioDock, unveiled at the virtual CES 2021, fulfills that prophecy.

Designed to easily snap your iPad Pro onto it (thanks to the magnets built into the tablet), the StudioDock gives you a miniature desktop experience, complete with a whole variety of ports as well as charging stations for your iPhone and AirPods. The slick-looking StudioDock comes with a machined aluminum body, allowing your tablet to righteously look like an iMac. Aside from the StudioDock’s USB-C power input, extra ports on the back let you connect an ethernet cable, accessories like mice and keyboards, as well as an external monitor to your iPad, while a neat 3.5mm port on the side lets you hook up headphones (that’s unless you choose to use AirPods), and an SD Card Reader to pull photo and video dumps from your DSLR or drone. In addition to rapid charging your iPad (USB-C at 37.5W – that’s 108% faster than Apple’s own charger), the StudioDock even sports Qi wireless charging surfaces on its base for your iPhone and AirPods and a dedicated dock on the side for your Apple Watch. It also keeps the iPad’s upper edge exposed, so you can snap your Pencil on too.

The StudioDock is designed to let you independently use your iPad as a desktop, or even as a secondary monitor for your current desktop. The even dock comes with a swiveling base so you can shift your iPad from landscape to portrait whenever you like, something Apple’s own levitating stand cannot do. Moreover, it really gives you the freedom to use your iPad however you see fit – as a monitor, a charging station, a makeshift desktop with ports, or even as a tablet PC that you can use independently. The dock is compatible with all iPad Pro models and even the 2020 iPad Air and comes with a 3-year warranty.

Designer: Kensington

Move aside Apple magic mouse, this touch-screen wireless mouse is the next logical evolution we need!

Imagine this: In a post-pandemic world, you are traveling and attempting to work on a cramped work surface. It may be an airplane’s foldable seat tray, a small coffee shop table, etc. When you’re working on a limited table surface, it is difficult to fit your computer – let alone an accessory like a wireless mouse. Enter the T001. This touch-screen mouse negates the need for a flat surface to direct the cursor. You could literally hold the mouse in your lap and move the cursor by tracing your finger across the glass. Additionally, the mouse’s flat, sleek shape fits into your pocket like a phone, just like a phone.

The idea of a purely touch-screen mouse is intriguing, as it deviates from the standard design. Functionally and aesthetically, the T001 resembles a tablet or phone more than a computer mouse. The result is a clean interface – with a bright, eye-catching gradient for the background. This visual, reminiscent of a phone’s background screen, reinforces the connection between the T001 mouse and the touch-screen devices that inspired its creation. However, the lack of physical buttons may leave something to be desired. For reference, the Apple Magic Mouse has a similar, streamlined look, but still kept the tactile clicking function. Will its absence throw off its usability for users? Or is this the inevitable next step in the evolution of wireless mouse design? It would be interesting to see how users adjust to a “button-less” product when most people have grown accustomed to having that tactile feedback.

Designer: Alex Terol

The 90s Nintendo’s Virtual Boy gets revamped into interactive gaming headsets for the ultimate AR gaming experience!

Who remembers Virtual Boy from the ‘90s? The first three-dimensional, immersive gaming experience that was “so advanced” it couldn’t be viewed on conventional TV or LCD screens. After a successful nine-year-long streak of brilliant product design, Nintendo released Virtual Boy, code-named VR32. Unfortunately, due to weak hardware and rushed development, the first virtual reality gaming system of its kind flopped, becoming one of the worst-selling consoles of all time. Today, Virtual Boy is generally accepted as a failure on an otherwise long list of innovative successes from Nintendo, but its design still grips both gamers and designers. James Tsai, a Los Angeles-based designer, brought his creative chops to the drawing board and gave Virtual Boy a modern fine-tuning of his own.

Following the trends of today in regard to retro aesthetics and gameplay mobility, Tsai reimagined Nintendo’s virtual reality experience with Nintendo Switch Joy-Glasses. Tsai recognized Nintendo Switch’s hybridity that allows it to transform from a handheld gaming tablet to a plugged-in video game console for the television. This gives Nintendo Switch players the option of bringing a gaming console with them anywhere, making Nintendo Switch a mobile gaming device. This mobile hybridity gives the Switch a leg-up, and with today’s gamers being so nostalgic, it’s no wonder VR games like Pokémon Go are such global successes. Further, on the game’s market triumph, Tsai writes, “Successfully tapping into 1990s nostalgia, [Pokémon Go] is attracting millions of Millennials…Taking advantage of this retro hype, it’s about time to refashion existing technology and create something unique to connect with more recent generations.” And so his Joy-Glasses were born.

Snowballing off Nintendo Switch’s hybridity, through an integrated pairing feature, Tsai’s Joy-Glasses project games either to the integrated headset display or to external monitors like television or computer screens. Transition lenses also adapt to changing light when players switch between their headset display and external monitor gaming. The Joy-Glasses incorporate augmented reality and dual gameplay so that multiple users can enjoy an enhanced video game experience together. The Joy-Glasses come equipped with a built-in speaker and open-ear audio, allowing you to connect and communicate with other Joy-Glasses users. This incorporation of voice chats and social connectivity bridges the product’s augmented reality features with the gamer’s reality, delivering multi-layered interactivity. Similar to the infamous red-and-black onscreen color scheme of VR32, Tsai’s Joy-Glasses come with an infrared camera that, when switched on, turns the game and the player’s world into zones of varying degrees. MicroLED display technology fills the lenses of Joy-Glasses for better contrast, quicker response times, and energy efficiency for video games, another improvement made on the coattails of VR32’s failures. Soak in all the 90s feels and check out the rendering below.

Designer: James Tsai

This multifunctional keyboard is designed to switch from working to game with one click!

Modern video games can be played on plenty of different platforms – PC, VR, handheld, streaming, to name just a few. However, gaming hardware that also accommodates computer keyboards is rare. Inspired by the Logitech K380, Elvin Aliyev designed his own gaming keyboard with a built-in controller called Switcheroo that he hopes will bring an entirely new experience for those of us who game as much as we surf the web.

The Switcheroo is the size of a regular QWERTY keyboard and comes with a built-in input control and direction pads in opposite corners, resembling a wider interface of the prototypical game controller. Along the keyboard’s topmost edge, users can find the RB button just above the input control pad and the LB button above the direction pad. Aliyev designed Switcheroo for the occasional gamer who also uses their keyboard for designing and artwork, ideal for those WFH lunch hours that could be spent playing video games instead. To make the keyboard completely portable, Aliyev designed Switcheroo to be battery-operated and Bluetooth-compatible. Enhancing the keyboard’s portable and ergonomic features, Aliyev integrated finger notches on Switcheroo’s backside for easy carrying. While Switcheroo is not a replacement for a full-sized keyboard, it can still be used as one when it is connected to your gaming platform. When using Switcheroo as either a keyboard or game controller, users simply slide a tiny knob, located to the left of and below the input control pad, to indicate their preference and the keyboard adapts accordingly.

Aliyev also incorporated an empty key that designers and 3D software engineers can program themselves to create shortcuts or access hidden features. Situated in the bottom-left part of Switcheroo, Aliyev repositioned the ESC key so that it’s conveniently located next to other frequently used keys for designers and engineers, like the ALT key and his new empty key. Bridging work and play, Aliyev designed a keyboard for the gamer in all of us.

Designer: Elvin Aliyev