If you work somewhere such as a factory, warehouse, or restaurant kitchen, then you'll know how tiring it can be to stand for several hours at a time. Unfortunately, however, it isn't always practical or safe to carry a stool around with you wherever you go. That's why Swiss start-up noonee has created the Chairless Chair. Worn as an exoskeleton on the back of the legs, it lets you walk or even run as needed, but can be locked into a supporting structure when you go into a sitting position.
Company CEO Keith Gunura started developing the Chairless Chair in 2009, when he was a student in the Bioinspired Robotics Lab at the ETH Zurich research institute. He was inspired to do so by memories of his first job, in which he worked while standing at a packaging line.
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Now in prototype form and being actively marketed, the device utilizes a powered variable damper to support the wearer's body weight. The user simply bends their knees to get themselves down to the level at which they'd like to sit, and then engages the damper. The Chairless Chair then locks into that configuration, directing their weight down to the heels of their shoes, to which it is attached – it also attaches to the thighs via straps, and to the waist using a belt.
Plans call for the commercial model to weigh 2 kg (4.4 lb), and to be able to operate for at least eight hours on one charge of its 9-volt battery. There's no word on an estimated price.
"At the moment we are getting a lot of interest and e-mails from all kinds of people who want to use the Chairless Chair in very different areas: factories, film industry (photographers and camera men), medical, agricultural (harvesting and gardening), hiking, and a lot others," noonee CFO Olga Motovilova told us. "Our focus at the moment is factory environments."
More information is available in the following video.