The concept of a chair has not undergone too many radical changes throughout its lifetime. While chairs come in many types, the main concept consists of legs, a seat, and usually a backrest. Computer chairs replace legs with wheels to spin around on, whereas lounge chairs are elongated and have armrests. Noonee, a Swiss startup, is currently working on the world’s first chairless chair exoskeleton. It is a radical change to chairs as we know them.
What on Earth Is a Chairless Chair?
Noonee is bridging the gap between using a chair and standing up with its new product. Its exoskeleton provides the “feeling” of sitting on a chair, while still requiring one to stand up, bend his or her knees, and stay in shape by doing so. It is a vast improvement compared to standing desks, assuming that this prototype can be turned into a viable product over time.
The main reason the chairless chair even exists is to improve working conditions when performing repetitive standing work. The chairless chair’s exoskeleton is claimed to help address fatigue and improve concentration. It also provides a supporting system that keeps one’s overall body weight as low to the ground as possible. The product’s battery lasts for several days, not hours. On paper, it sounds like it could work, but the result has yet to be determined.
What makes the chairless chair so intriguing is how it allows its wearers to “sit” as they would using a regular chair. This is made possible with a micro DC motor which locks the exoskeleton in a seated position. Once the user starts to walk again, the lock is removed, allowing him or her to move around freely. Users can incline their seats as much or as little as they like in order to create an optimally comfortable work position. Such an exoskeleton would do wonders for most factory workers.
The chairless chair has many health benefits as well. Standing for long periods of time causes joint pain, cramps, and other bodily issues which can lead to long-term injury. The exoskeleton relieves most of the stress one exerts on his or her body, while still allowing the wearer to remain in shape. Moreover, this product may allow employees to work at a heightened performance level for an extended period of time. Not having to deal with aches and fatigue will certainly boost one’s productivity.
All of this sounds promising, but can it translate into real life? Practical tests carried out at a Swiss Audi plant provided some upbeat results. After making improvements to the initial design, the second test was received with a lot of optimism. Since the design supports the legs and lower back, a lot of workers were quite eager to give it a try. So far, the overall response has been mostly positive, and the Swiss company will continue to make improvements as time progresses.
While the chairless chair sounds quite impressive, it is not necessarily a product for everyone. People who spend most of their time sitting behind a desk may not necessarily see any benefits from using this product. Then again, sitting or standing all day is not healthy for any human being. Intermediary solutions such as the chairless chair could prove invaluable in any environment. It will all depend on how viable it is to commercialize this product.