Unveiled a few weeks back, the Walkstation by Steelcase went on sale yesterday to businesses looking to improve the health of their employees without sacrificing productivity. Developed by Dr. James Levine of the world renowned Mayo Clinic to help alleviate the consequences of our increasing sedentary lives, the Walkstation is a converged desk and treadmill.
Obviously not intended to provide a gym-style workout, the Walkstation in fact doesn't go above three mph. Rather, the goal is to increase whole body movement while working to increase what Dr. Levine calls "non-exercise activity thermogenesis" or N.E.A.T., energy expended during everyday activity. I went by the showroom expecting a good laugh but was pleasantly surprised by the design and functionality.
The desk sits on hydraulic legs allowing adjustments to the height of the worksurface at the push of a button. Keeping it minimal, the display console is simple and easy to read, only showing speed, calories burned, time and distance. Concealed shock absorbers minimize vibration and bounce and the treadmill belt runs smoothly. There is also an emergency pull cord you can attach to yourself in case anything goes wrong.
I could see some problems with using this if you suffer from motion sickness but it could just take some getting used to. I wouldn't recommend talking on any corded phones either, however, it's still an interesting take on our work lives—or rather our lack of non-work lives. Pretty sad actually, is this what it has come to?
Walkstations range from $3,500 to $4,500 and are available through Steelcase and Details dealers. A consumer model along with customizing accessories should be out in the Spring of 2008.