Autonomous Pod - A Pod For All of Your Needs. Anytime. Anywhere.

Updates


If you’ve been following us for the past year, you may remember an old project of ours - the Zen Work Pod. Unfortunately, it never saw the light of day. We faced hurdles that proved too great to overcome and so the project was halted.

But we’re not giving up! This year, we’re rebooting the project as the Autonomous Pod. As part of the Autonomous Hardware Team, I’m super excited to be in charge of this project. I’m obsessed with building, particularly with wood and timber. In my spare time you’ll find me in the woodwork room with my children.

But that’s enough about me. Discover more about the Autonomous Pod below. I’d love to hear your thoughts! :raised_hands:

Ye Olde Zen Work Pod

Here was how we envisioned it to be (notice: it’s different now)

The problems

:truck: Transportation & Setup

While we advertised the whole pod to have fast delivery and setup within 2-4 days from purchase, it took a lot of work to get it on the truck, deliver to your place and set it up. It actually took a crew of 10 people and a week to actually assemble it. This was due to the material choices and its design.

:house: The Design & Materials

It looked good, we agreed, but it was not practical at all. It took too much work and human resources just to get one done.

Based on the design, we made a whole sheet of tempered glass for the front, which needed extra care to handle because it was fragile, large, and heavy. The structure of the pods was made from steel, and they came in whole, too. There were also 4 layers to make up the walls. Needless to say, it was hectic.

:chess_pawn: The Scheme

Initially, we wanted to sell it to individual customers, they can have it in their backyard or some sort. But as you read above, the transportation needed a whole lot of effort, and it did not sound feasible to have a pod like this in your backyard for (assumingly) forever, and it could not be distributed widely if made this way. So we made changes.

:star: The Autonomous Pod :star:

Here are the new details of The ZenPod

Why is it useful?

Pandemic happens, everyone switches to working from home. However, not every person is familiar with the new working condition, you may face:

  • Distractions (noise, children, entertainment, etc.)
  • Unmatched productivity level
  • Inability to achieve work-life balance

The Autonomous Pod is created to solve these problems on a whole new level.

:alarm_clock: Easy 4-hour setup (New!)

Eliminating the heavy and complex structures, the ZenPod is designed into modules that can be set up or disassemble easily in a short amount of time.

:camping: Anywhere (New!)

Backyard, front yard, lakeside… you name it, we’ll come and set it up for you.

:sunrise_over_mountains: Anytime (New!)

If you’re traveling somewhere and you need a place to work (that’s not an AirBnB), rent a Pod we will come set it up for you at your place. Once your stay ends, we’ll handle the hard part.

:triangular_ruler: Minimal Design

Keep things simple and stay focused. Monastically inspired design promotes a minimalist yet productive work lifestyle. All unnecessary details have been removed to keep every feature of the pod indispensable.

:lock: Open, yet private

The completely enclosed space gives you the privacy you need to focus at work. Minimal design aesthetic, tempered glass front that allows for open views, & high vaulted ceilings give a feeling of openness, providing mental clarity & the space to breathe.

:jigsaw: Well-equipped

The pod comes completely furnished with everything you need to immediately start working more effectively.

Versions

We believe the points above already provide a clear view of how it works. However, the Pod comes in many versions with different features:

Name Description Possible features
Pod Core The core line of the Autonomous Pod, users can customize it to their preference Neccessities (power bars, lightings, etc.)
Pod Pro Pod Core with more features Pod Core + speakers, air conditioner, SmartLock
Pod Future Pod Pro with automation and remote control ability Pod Pro + application (control lighting, speakers, favorite playlists, auto-temperature, etc.)
Pod Grow Decorated and equipped with kid-centered features, for kids Autonomous Junior line
Pod Play For gamers Widescreen TV, speakers, sofa, etc.

Owners

I may have written a whole wall of text above, but this is a really big project that needs the hands of many people.

What will happen next?

The first Pod Core is currently being produced by our factory. Once it’s done, we’ll have it gone through quality assurance, making further adjustments, producing necessary materials, etc. Please stay tuned for more updates on the timeline.

:warning: We actually haven’t finalized a name for this project. Help us to think of some!


If you have any questions or suggestions, please click Reply and let us know. This still needs a lot of work, we’ll try to keep you updated with the progress!

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Here are some images of the new Pod that we assembled in a warehouse. Note: We actually remove the background because it looks bad :sweat_smile: Also, this is just a sample version of the Pod as we want to test out the modular design we’re gonna implemented.

Front view

Side view

Back

Foundation details
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Do you have any specs on the size the Zen Pod would be, or would it come in different sizes?

First, let me say thanks for transparency on the shortcomings of the original project. It’s better to be honest with your customers than to go forward knowing the project would possibly make for a bad experience for both you and the customer. Here’s to the second attempt!

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Hey @GCM! The first version of the Pod is estimated to be L11.8ft x W8.3ft x H10.5ft.

Do you think each type of Pod should come in different size? Such as Pod Play, would it need a bigger size for more comfort?

Thank you so much for trusting us! Do you have any comments on the sample Pod above? It’s just a prototype but we want to hear more.

Also what features do you think we should add to the Pod?

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I think if they are modular in design for ease of building, using standard lumber lengths to create different sizes, so there is less cutting of raw materials, would be good, ie: 10ft, 12ft, 14 ft as different length or widths. This would help keep costs down and provide greater flexibility with adapting the size for slightly different uses. I have entertained getting a shed/office, but am looking at L14ft x W10ft by whatever height is standard to have a bit more space as I may need to have 2 employees in the structure.

Hmm the design is nice, I think you have that covered. Making sure it’s well insulated is key. I do think automation should be standard to live up to the autonomous.ai name. USB plugs included with all outlets would be a nice bonus.

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Thanks for the update!

How about the color of the final products? I hope it won’t be the black like above sample. It looks like a cage instead of a home office.

The original oak/walnut combination looks much better.
Or at least make sure the wood veneer can be part of the upgrade options.

Also looking forward to a fully furnished sample soon.

This is just a sample of the Pod! We were testing the modular design with this. Next updates I’ll try to get the photos as real as we can haha :sweat_smile:

Actually in the next 2 weeks, another Pod sample will come to our office so we can do some more testing and get some marketing materials done. We’ll film the setup process and more behind the scenes! Agreed on the cage thingy. You have any idea how we can open up?

@Michael_Lemus Yes! We definitely include all the necessities. Which version you think you’d like best? Oh and the gaming version will include some gaming consoles (that’s the plan)!

@GCM Sorry for the late reply tho. We’ll keep this in mind and after this sample Pod coming in 2 weeks, we’ll update with you guys to see if any adjustment is needed. You seem to be very interested in woodworking/building, may I ask?

Personally your pod core coupled with some form of automation would be my go too.

Looking forward to the next pod sample! It’s coming along nicely!

what’s do you have in mind for automation?

trying to build the pod that once day could become your go-to :sunglasses:

Automating lights, A/C etc. Hard part here would be picking which platform to automate with.

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This looks fantastic structurally. I liked the comment about insulation being key. That will help us users in the end.

Although I love black, it’s too much like mentioned above. Make the porch area lighter? Love how you fixed the tempered glass issue too.

I would definitely use this at my possible future event venue. I would love to stick it back in the woods in an open area. I recommend pushing tech inside as much as possible, tons of outlets, variety of lighting placement, etc.

Great job and looking forward to more updates!

This is pretty cool. What about using half-cuts from shipping containers as the pod frame? Then spray foam or 3d print insulation pads that match the curvature of the steel wall of the container. Plywood walls and insulated vinyl floors allow for freedom of expression and a fast way to upgrade with either sound dampening materials etc.

I saw the comment previously about needing a larger space because of employees - making the Pods modular would fix that problem entirely - like airlocked capsules where you could either close them off for privacy, or open the joining door to be an open joined space.

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I have an interest in architecture and industrial design, as a hobby.

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I was so excited to see this product come out, I can see it being a big success if done well. It was honestly the functionality that would have prevented me from ordering one.

It would have to be insulated pretty heavily for not only temperature but also noise. I walk outside for 5 minutes on a conference call and I am driven back inside by the neighbor’s lawnmower or a dog barking. If the final rendition has a lot of glass in it, that is tough to keep the noise out.

Also, I would have probably needed to add blinds to come down over the glass wall, a bright sun coming in is gonna blind me and I couldn’t see my screen if there was a ton of ambient light. A simple blind running across the top that is controlled through a remote would be sufficient.

This right here. Making sure that you plan it out to where someone could - for instance - place two of these side by side and have them connected without a wall in the middle would be great.

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Since @hung.t is currently busy with testing our sample Pod, I’m taking over this thread :smile:

@Michael_Lemus Definitely doing that, we’re striving for comfort, convenience and usability. For the platform, we’ll work on that and update with you once we’re happy with the assembly of the Pod.

@planitearth Thank you! We think we’re going for different lighting settings so you can adjust it as you like.

As for the tech side, we definitely do minimalistic style so we got you on that! Or can you explain more about pushing tech inside as much as possible?

@RChang @mark.l.ammons Really detailed feedback, thank you so much haha! We understand your point on utilizing shipping containers, however, we think it’s not the best choice when it comes to shipping and stuff like that. We’re making this all wood, with modular design and making sure that it adheres to our expectation of insulation, noise canceling and soundproofing. With such design, we believe we could develop them further to attach 2 and more Pods together to create a larger space.

@GCM We’re so glad to have you here. Tomorrow @anbui may upload some footage of the sample we’re currently having for more updates.

@clarkllc Thank you! I understand your point about glass. We’re still in the process of testing and refining, and sound/noise is one of our concern so worry not!

For the blind, I believe you can attach one yourself, the traditional style. We’ll think about the automation, that’s a great point to include, however it would increase the price a little bit for such small feature. But we’ll keep that in mind.

Thank you guys! I’m looking forward to assembling our Pod tomorrow and keep you updated!

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Looks good! Would want to make sure the windows can open to allow fresh air in. Also, I’d probably prefer the longer side to have large windows for a maximum nice view (and possibly the door on this side as well).