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

Flatpak 1.0 Linux Application Sandboxing & Distribution Framework Is Almost Here

While it's becoming very popular among Linux users as it is more and more adopted by Linux OS vendors, Flatpak is still considered an "under development" technology, and so it's not yet promoted on a mass scale as its rival Snap is by Ubuntu's mother company Canonical. However, Flatpak as it is right now, it's very usable, but it is yet to achieve the 1.0 version milestone, which usually marks a project as mature and ready for mass deployment. And it's now more closer than ever as the development team announced today the availability of the first Flatpak 1.0 pre-release version. Read more Also: Flatpak 1.0 Nears With Today's 0.99.1 Release

Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Is Now Certified on Intel's NUC Mini PCs and IoT Boards

Released on April 21, 2016, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS (Xenial Xerus) is a long-term supported release that will receive security and software updates for five years, until April 2021, as well as a total of five point releases ending with Ubuntu 16.04.5 LTS, which is expected to arrive in early August 2018. Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is Canonical's 6th LTS release and the last to use the Unity desktop environment by default. The operating system is compatible with a wide-range of hardware components, including Intel's NUC mini PCs, but now, after a partnership between Intel and Canonical, Ubuntu 16.04 LTS is officially certified for NUC devices. Read more

6 Open Source AI Tools to Know

In open source, no matter how original your own idea seems, it is always wise to see if someone else has already executed the concept. For organizations and individuals interested in leveraging the growing power of artificial intelligence (AI), many of the best tools are not only free and open source, but, in many cases, have already been hardened and tested. At leading companies and non-profit organizations, AI is a huge priority, and many of these companies and organizations are open sourcing valuable tools. Here is a sampling of free, open source AI tools available to anyone. Read more

Skylake module aces OSADL’s real-time Linux tests

Congatec has joined the Open Source Automation Development Lab, which has certified that the real-time Linux stack for the Skylake Xeon-E3 based Conga-TS170 COM Express module offers “excellent response times.” The Open Source Automation Development Lab (OSADL) has certified Congatec’s implementation of real-time Linux (RTL), and has accepted Congatec as a member. Congatec will continued to collaborate with OSADL to optimize board support for RTL and showcase it in the OSADL test racks, says the company. Read more