While some of us are lucky enough have desk jobs, and get to spend all day sitting down, many others are not so fortunate. Vast numbers of people in manufacturing and production line jobs spend all day standing, something which puts large amounts of strain on their back, and also causes a loss of productivity for a company. While in the past the solution was seen to be regular breaks, now the famously-efficient Swiss, have come up with their own, technologic solution.
Zurich-based startup ‘noonee’ has been working for at least a year on a prototype device which they are calling the Chairless Chair. Effectively the device is the first practical chair that a user can wear. This being said, the Chairless Chair has more in common with a mechanical exoskeleton than it has with a traditional chair design.
The device is made up of a complicated network of metal struts and hydraulics which attach to a user's legs. It utilizes what noonee calls a “lightweight portable variable damper” to engage and support the users’ body weight. The ‘chair’ itself is secured to the wearer at the belt, as well as at several points on the leg, however it never actually touches the ground. This weight is instead directed into the heels of the wearer's shoe rather than on to the skeleton of the wearer, freeing them of their own body weight.
While this chair could definitely make life a whole lot easier for workers in jobs where they need to stand throughout their shift, it is also a good example of the developing field that is mechanical exoskeletons. From helping paralysed people to walk again, to giving shipbuilding workers the ability to lift impossibly heavy loads, these devices are slowly getting noticed by the commercial world. Devices like the Chairless Chair are just the first generation in a range of products which could eventually come to change many industries and indeed the very way we move about.
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