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Rotating Desk for Collaboration by Two Computer Programmers

Two programmers can work together or alternately with minimal stress.

A special-purpose desk has been designed to facilitate collaboration by two computer programmers sharing one desktop computer or computer terminal. The impetus for the design is a trend toward what is known in the software industry as extreme programming — an approach intended to ensure high quality without sacrificing the quantity of computer code produced. Programmers working in pairs is a major feature of extreme programming.

The present desk design minimizes the stress of the collaborative work environment. It supports both quality and work flow by making it unnecessary for programmers to get in each other’s way. The desk (see figure) includes a rotating platform that supports a computer video monitor, keyboard, and mouse. The desk enables one programmer to work on the keyboard for any amount of time and then the other programmer to take over without breaking the train of thought.

The rotating platform is supported by a turntable bearing that, in turn, is supported by a weighted base. The platform contains weights to improve its balance. The base includes a stand for a computer, and is shaped and dimensioned to provide adequate foot clearance for both users. The platform includes an adjustable stand for the monitor, a surface for the keyboard and mouse, and spaces for work papers, drinks, and snacks. The heights of the monitor, keyboard, and mouse are set to minimize stress.

The platform can be rotated through an angle of 40° to give either user a straight-on view of the monitor and full access to the keyboard and mouse. Magnetic latches keep the platform preferentially at either of the two extremes of rotation. To switch between users, one simply grabs the edge of the platform and pulls it around. The magnetic latch is easily released, allowing the platform to rotate freely to the position of the other user.

This work was done by John Thomas Riley for Goddard Space Flight Center. For further information, access the Technical Support Package (TSP) free online at www.techbriefs.com/tsp under the Mechanics category.
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