It would be a great trade-off to spend the day outdoors, working whilst sitting on a green patch, rather than stay confined behind the desk indoors. However our power-hungry gadgets won’t allow us more than a couple of hours, which is why the Flexidesk makes a lot of sense.
Details on the Kickstarter Campaign explain that Flexidesk is portable, solar powered workstation that folds up. It fits snug in your backpack and charges your electronic devices at the same time. The essential highlights include a Solar Panel, Telescopic Legs, Cup Holder, Elastic Interlocking system, External Battery Pack and USB Charger.
The inspiration for the desk came from one of the four founders, Greg Miller, who was thinking of ways to increase productivity when working outside or on the go. Working with Josh Ulery, Ian Hansborough, and Kevin Mihalcea to help him design the desk, a key innovation was developed in the process of construction. This was with the interlocking and folding feature, which is very unique. To refine the feature, the designers made solid works drawings of the pieces required. These drawings were then 3-D printed for rapid prototyping.
In fact, 3-D printing was used extensively in the prototyping process of the Flexidesk and will continue to be used until a perfect design is made. The young team considers lack of resources and business knowledge as their biggest challenge so far. All four founding members are still in college, so they have much to learn.
As far as the process goes, the team also did not have access to machining tools to make the prototyping process as efficient as possible. Similar to most prototyping stages, the majority of the designing process was testing out different ideas for folding, legs, etc. After they sketched out a good design, a physical prototype would be made and put to the test. Although the idea behind the project is great, it still needs refinements, which is why one of the main tasks ahead for the team is to hire a design firm to perfect the design and get it ready for production.
As mentioned before, 3-D printing was used extensively in the designing and 3-D modeling software such as Solidworks and Inventor were used. Other than this, sketches were made on paper and the machining was done with power tools that can be found around the household.
The retractable solar panel that can charge any USB device while you work and this is why you can no longer use the ‘battery dead’ excuse with your boss! The integrated external battery facilitates charging indoors or on the go. As for the external battery, it can be charged via the solar panel or a micro USB connection. You can also hook up a mobile electronic device for charging via the USB port.
From the ideation point of view, we think this is a clever solution for those who would like to work out doors, however since there are refinements needed to the final design, the final outcome could up being more sophisticated. Perhaps this is why the campaign is still struggling to get its pledges in. Know more about the project here.