Ben Waber.How to Make Almost Anything.Augmented Cubicle

I had been making an augmented cubicle wall for sponsor week with my UROP Alex Speltz. The basic idea is to allow an office to be sensitive to the social context of its inhabitants. You can see the wall in the picture below. The wall is over 2 meters tall, and has a wooden base that holds up a double-ply plexiglass window with brass brackets on the side to hold the two different sheets of plexiglass together. Inside the wall are blinds that can be raised an lowered by an rotational actuator. Using the ShopBot I fabricated a nice looking wooden frame for the wall which allows me to hide the components at the bottom using a fabric skirt as well as add a pulley system at the top of the wall for the blinds.

The idea is that with the blinds up it will be harder for people to interact with the person in the cubicle, so if that person is in a stage of their work where they really need to sit at their desk and focus, the blinds will be lowered at night and the next day they will be less interruptable. Of course if someone really needs to speak with them they still can, it just limits more serendipitious interactions. With the blinds lowered, however, serendipitous interaction becomes much easier. So we can change the blinds depending on work stage as well as personal interaction preferences. While people can still move the blinds by themselves, people are extremely likely to stick with the default, and if an entire office was outfitted with these the office would be much more responsive to the social needs of its inhabitants. Here's a video of what this could look like in a real office setting (no sound):

Augmented Cubicle Movie