Central Saint Martins student Keyi Chen wants to disrupt our non-stop work culture with a whimsical collection of desktop toys that look like common office accessories. The tools in Chen’s Inte-rest-ing Series are designed to encourage more play and moments of relaxation during the workday while minimizing the fear of being caught by a manager.
The Make My Day mouse monitors it’s users’ activities and can make judgments on whether or not they’re distracted or exhausted based on how the mouse is being used. If it thinks the user is getting too far into the weeds, it will send a “fortune cookie” to the employee’s screen in the form of a pop-up window. If you choose to click on it, the fortune cookie will open up to show you a random topic (users would note what they’re interested in when they first start using the mouse) that will provoke a productive line of inquiry until the employee is refreshed and ready to get back to work.
The Speed Break calculator has a couple of simple games built-in to offer workers a way of relaxing without having to worry about being caught. “Perhaps the manager will think you’re calculating projects,” Chen writes in the project description.
There’s also a small desk fan that you can start by breathing into it, as a way of promoting the subtle relaxation effects of deep breathing exercises; a pair of USB sticks that function a bit like those squishy, stress-relieving balls; and a “sound therapy pen” called The Rattle which lets you download whatever sounds work to soothe you like a rattle would a baby—the sounds are emitted as you write with the pen, softly enough to not disturb any co-workers.
The tools are speculative for now, though Chen has built working, 3D-printed prototypes.