The days of crowded, echoing offices are ending as office furniture manufacturers develop innovative acoustic architecture with integrated technology to create Acoustic Screens private and social meeting spaces within the open plan office. How is this achieved?
Practical space-defining solutions
One of the most practical space-defining solutions to hit the market in 2011 is the Meeting Pod. Meeting pods offer unlimited uses and provide an ideal way to create space and enhance privacy in an open plan area, while giving offices the flexibility to move screens and separate areas. Inexpensive because they are mobile and can be placed anywhere in the office to create a quiet area, meeting pods can absorb noise to ensure complete acoustic privacy and discretion. The cost of a meeting pod is a one-time cost and there’s no ongoing monthly rent, so renting more floor space is a more expensive option if you don’t have the budget. Screen Pods are modular and can be added if you ever want to increase the size in the future.
In 1987, urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg observed that if the first place is home and the second place is work, the third places are areas that should be social and community-oriented. With this in mind, the Hive Acoustic Sofa was designed by Roger Webb Associates. A modular sofa with integrated technology, the Hive sofa is one of several high-back sofas to hit the market that aim to create a third space within the office environment. Anyone who uses a highback sofa finds themselves in a secluded place that cannot be heard or seen from the outside. The acoustic qualities of these office sofas create a peaceful haven for workers, and a room-in-room effect can be achieved by pushing two high-back sofas together.
The development of acoustic architecture
But the development of acoustic architecture in the modern office does not stop at clever furniture. Open-plan offices can also benefit from acoustic wall panels today. Specially designed to reduce echo and reverberation, but also used as decorative wall elements in boardrooms, receptions, restaurants or homes, acoustic wall panels have been described as 3D wallpaper and come in a range of colors and designs. Après Furniture has completed some large installations of acoustic paneling for corporate receptions and also offers a unique molded sound absorbing decorative screen fiber felt . That’s what we call working in the 21st century.
Touchscreen technology – what to use
In most kiosk deployments, the most important connection is between the user and the kiosk. With a touch of a finger, users can access an endless wealth of options depending on the kiosk functionality.
Therefore, understanding how touchscreen technology works is fundamental to the success of an interactive touchscreen kiosk.
The 4 technologies used in the touch screen
These consist of:
- surface acoustics
It sounds simple, you touch the screen and something happens, but you need to understand each technology scientifically in order to get the most out of each technology and find the right solution for your project.
A weak electric current is applied to the screen through the tin oxide film, this will pick up any human skin that touches the screen as the current is drained at the point of touch, leading to the next process.
Resistive touch screen technology
This technology works on a sandwich principle, in which glass is covered with a type of plastic on both sides. Tin oxide covers the glass with electric current. When users press on the plastic coating, which only slightly detaches from the glass (you would need a microscope to see the gap!)
Squeezing the plastic onto the glass grounds the electricity, which leads to the next process.
Surface Acoustic touchscreens
These are created using waveform shaping, transducers send a wave across the screen in both horizontal and vertical planes, and sensors on the opposite side of the screen detect anyone who touches the display.
In the screen bezel are emitters that emit horizontal and vertical beams that cover the Acoustic Screens, a touch interrupts these beams and leads to the next process.
However, there are disadvantages to using some of the above technologies, e.g. eg someone wearing a glove could not use a capacitive screen as it works on human skin contact and the surface is prone to vandalism, surface acoustics has similar problems.
Resistance technology is the most stable and reliable, but it is not vandal-proof and can be damaged.