"UM" desk provides 2 main modes of operation: traditional "keyboard-mouse" and simulation "gaming devices - keyboard-mouse". These modes differ considerably in their ergonomics. The desk is designed to provide comfortable work in both cases. The main problem here is about working zones – they intersect. Mouse shares place with joystick, so do keyboard and steering wheel, and desk top is needed in one case, but it impedes user movements in another.
There are differences in the controls' ergonomics themselves: arms should have rest when using keyboard and mouse, but they should have no constraints with joysticks (elbows free). In both cases user's arms are positioned at basically the same height relative to body.
In airplanes with side controls they use collapsible armrests to give rest to the hands on routine flights and give them no excessive constraints during active maneuvering. In home conditions armrests can be deattached from the seat, and comfort can be achieved with the table-top which has a notch in its central part, so its sides act as armrests. This technique is applied to some desks, especially "corner" ones.
As for the legs and feet, they should stand on floor in one case, and stand on pedals, having adequate mobility in another. These conditions are based on physiology, body and device kinematics. The basic concept of computer desk ergonomics can be found at the Microsoft site for example. "Home sim workplace" ergonomics subject is not quite formalized in the Internet, so one can gain some insight on the subject by studying existing solutions - both gaming and aviation.
Organizing their own workplace, users usually choose – which mode would be the main one, and which one would be sacrificed. There are 2 variants widely used: joysticks on a regular desk, and “home cockpit” having some space for keyboard and mouse.
UM utilizes the third option – transforming workspace into one of the two modes. From a philosophically-practical position, a universal solution is inferior to a “clean” home cockpit or home-office desk in some aspects, but at the same time it has the advantages of both. In both cases the human body takes correct and comfortable position.
The desk allows adjustment considering individual body parameters and user preferences, separate elements can be settled in forward-backward, sideways and up-down direction. “Tailoring” of elements is performed during assembly procedures, however it's possible to realign them in case of configuration changes (new monitor, joystick or chair, for example).
There is space provided for fitting of the steering wheel and central stick. Side stands can accommodate additional indication and input devices besides the usual stick and throttle. There's enough space for wide pedals, which are used with central sticks.
PC case can be positioned in 4 places: at each side of the fixed desktop and at each side on the floor beneath the side stands. There are no constraints for the airflow, and there's a place for a bigger external cooling system, liquid or phase-change type for example.
Monitor can be positioned at 3 places: in the middle of the fixed desktop (traditional), at the sides of the desktop or on the attaching stand (second monitor), and on a special central stand below the fixed desktop. It's the way to place a really big screen, compensating its excessive height and providing the needed distance to the screen. The same stand can accommodate a subwoofer .
Much attention is given to portability. The desk is disassembled into several parts and can be put in a car which has free space of 125 cm (49,2 in) long. Desk dimensions in fully assembled state were also selected for reasons of compactness.
Another important desk's feature is its affordability – in terms of materials and simplified production process, while both of them directly affect the total cost. Materials can be bought at regular stores. There can be some difficulties with welding and chipboard cutting since these processes are generally an industrial technology, but all the other work can be done at home. The only critical parameter here is sustaining the tolerances.
"UM" design is the result of 2 years of surveying and projecting work, 5 independent desk variants were elaborated during this period. Generally, the working space transformation (maintaining ergonomic constraints) can be achieved by a great number of various solutions, and specific realization of the concept depends on target parameters, available resources and creative thinking.