In conjunction with each issue of Frame, we challenge emerging designers to answer a topical question with a future-forward design concept.
Sparked by media reports that robots are likely to replace half of all jobs over the next 20 years, for Frame 117 we commissioned five makers to desgin an item, tool, space or service that relates to the anticipated automation of tomorrow's workspace.
You’ve done some research…
Maya Pindeus: Yes. By 2020, 40% of workers will be relying on temporary assignments, and 60% of all jobs could be at least partially automated. These point to a global trend that is already starting to disrupt human interactions with our work environment beyond the traditional physical office. This inspired me to develop a new language for a global workforce in the digital as well as physical worlds.
What’s the result?
A portable workplace that integrates a virtual work environment and a physical device. Together they enable workers to physically collaborate from remote locations within the Human cloud.
Is that realistic?
Absolutely. There are multiple technologies that make this system possible and allow for mixed reality experiences, like Motion Tracking, Holoportation, RFID tags and Projection Mapping.
What does your concept consist of?
Two parts. The first is a database that enables companies to virtually store and distribute assignments to their remote workforce. This replaces the need for offices and company headquarters.
And the second?
A connected device that acts as a portable workspace and uses Augmented Reality to build a bridge between remote co-workers to collaborate on globally distributed tasks. This is synchronized with the company's database and allows the user to reach into a co-worker ́s augmented workspace to enable collaboration on assignments. These can later be review and visualized back in a physical space.
How does the co-working, well, work?
If you want to chat with a team member, you simply tap on the image of your teammate’s workspace, much like tapping their shoulder. The co-worker is then notified by a sensorial feedback, which allows you to reach into their space. Via this connection, tasks can be discussed and reviewed remotely by using gesture control to navigate, (pan, zoom, rotate) the work done on a co-worker's remote desk.
Who do you think your concept will be used by?
Everyone that is part of the gig economy and the Human Cloud. The design embraces the physicality of remote working, which is necessary in every profession, as it enables more natural communication. As my proposal allows for physical collaboration, it could be particularly handy for architects, manufacturers, product developers and fashion designers, to name a few.
What role could 3D printing have in your concept?
As work is being done remotely, it also means that things should be sourced and produced locally. If you can work from anywhere, why wouldn’t you shift production and prototyping to your location?