Steelcase has been granted a patent for a system and method that allows users to control the settings of various affordances at a workstation. The system includes a portable computing device that runs a workstation control application, a location detector, a transceiver, and a display interface. The device detects the user’s preferences for different affordances and automatically adjusts the settings to match those preferences. GlobalData’s report on Steelcase gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.
According to GlobalData’s company profile on Steelcase, gesture-based recognition systems was a key innovation area identified from patents. Steelcase's grant share as of June 2023 was 1%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.
Workstation system with controllable affordances via portable computing device
A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11690111B1) describes a workstation system that includes multiple controllable features, which can be controlled using a portable computing device running a workstation control application. The system comprises a location detector that can detect the portable computing device within a specific zone at the workstation. When the portable computing device is located within this zone, a communication link is established between the device and the workstation system using a transceiver. The system also includes at least one display interface that is independent of the portable computing device. This display interface displays a user interface for controlling the workstation control application on the portable computing device once the communication link is established.
The patent claims also describe various additional features of the workstation system. For example, the workstation control application can control the display interface through the transceiver. The user interface displayed on the interface includes virtual control tools for controlling a subset of the controllable features. The location detector can be integrated into the workstation itself, and the first zone can include the space above the workstation worktop. The communication link between the portable computing device and the workstation system is wireless. The display interface can be integrated into a panel at the workstation, which includes the workstation worktop. The location detector can be a near field communication sensor.
The patent also describes the ability to change the subset of controllable features at the workstation by adding or removing features. In such cases, the user interface is modified to provide virtual interface tools for controlling the current subset of features. The system includes a sensor that can automatically detect the current subset of features at the workstation and configure the interface accordingly when the portable computing device is detected within the zone. The portable computing device can be a smartphone or an electronic badge. The system can have multiple displays, and the user interface can present information on each of these displays. User preferences for the feature settings can be stored in the portable computing device and automatically adjusted when the device is detected or when the communication link is established.
In summary, the granted patent describes a workstation system that allows users to control various features using a portable computing device. The system includes a location detector, a transceiver, and a display interface independent of the portable computing device. The user interface displayed on the interface can be controlled through the portable computing device, and the system offers flexibility in changing the subset of controllable features.