Those with desk jobs may be constantly looking for innovative ways to sit less, but Zurich-based startup noonee has configured a wearable technology that would allow workers who are constantly on their feet to sit more.
The "Chairless Chair" attaches to users' legs like an exoskeleton. When it's not being used as a seat, the device allows wearers to run and walk like normal.
Here's how it works: When the user is ready to take a seat, he or she just activates the chair and squats into a desired sitting position; the chair then locks in place. The battery-operated device, which straps around the wearer's hips and thighs, redirects the user's body weight to the heels.
"The idea came from wanting to sit anywhere and everywhere, and from working in a UK packaging factory when I was 17," Keith Gunura, the 29-year old CEO and co-founder of noonee, told CNN. "Standing for hours on end causes a lot of distress to lower limbs, but most workers get very few breaks and chairs are rarely provided, because they take up too much space."
On its website, noonee says the technology can boost worker productivity, especially in factory settings, by alleviating fatigue and muscle strains related to standing for long periods of time. (According to robotics research site Robohub, “a staggering 85 million [out of 215 million industry workers in the EU] are reported to suffer from muscle-related disorders.”)
"By making the process of work more comfortable and by reducing the risk of exposure to muscle related disorders, employees will also work more efficiently and effectively. As a result, production levels will increase," noonee's website notes.
The chair isn't available to the public just yet. A trial phase is set to begin with BMW production line workers in Germany in September, and another trial is set to hit Audi later this year, according to CNN.