TAO Chair lets you work out while relaxing in your living room

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TAO Wellness shows a prototype of its TAO Chair at CES 2015 (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

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Want the exercise, but can't conjure up the energy to go to the gym? Have a seat ... and "turn downtime into exercise time." The TAO Chair, which we took a look at at CES last week, is designed to provide a dynamic workout for your primary target zones from the comfort of your living room.

TAO-Wellness is developing the TAO Chair as a follow-up to its debut prototype, the TAO WellShell, which it showed at last year's CES. That slick, smartphone-sized portable looks like a design-forward mouse or set-top box but is actually a go-anywhere isometric exercise gizmo. Instead of just tracking the exercise that you do, like the countless fitness monitors out there, TAO tasks its device with actually exercising you – at home, work and on the go.

This year's TAO Chair – one of the funkiest chairs we've seen in a while – continues TAO's mission of combating sitting, the "enemy of good health," and making exercise more accessible for today's busy men and women. The prototype TAO had at CES was just a hacked IKEA chair – the production model will look much different – but it showed the heart of the design, which is the arms. Crafted from aluminum, another aspect that might change in production, the arms look like metal ribbons bent and pinched for extreme ergonomics ... or maybe torture.

What the arms actually do is provide various holds and supports for working what TAO identifies as the main male and female target areas – arms, core, thighs and butt. You can hold and brace against different parts of the chair arms, pull or push them until your muscles tense up, then hold to get a simple, no-hassle workout while you watch TV, read or otherwise unwind after a day of work. We did a couple of the exercises, and you can definitely "feel the burn" instantly after grabbing and holding.

The chair's designer, TAO's creative chief officer Viktor Kalvachev, points out that the TAO Chair isn't meant to replace a gym or to jack your muscles up. Instead, it promotes health and gives you a means of exercise that doesn't require as much dedicated time and energy as going to the gym, running, etc.

The TAO Chair coaches you through exercises with the accompanying mobile app, while a built-in, battery-powered digital display shows the calories burned during your current workout and the total calories you've burned since setting the chair up. The display on the prototype was either out of battery power or a dummy, so we didn't get to play with it.

TAO plans to finalize the TAO Chair this year, and Kalvachev tells us that his team is hoping to keep the price below US$1,000.

The TAO Chair isn't the only piece of exercise furniture out there, and in fact, it has a rather long line of predecessors that includes the GymyGym exercise chair, the GEWOS armchair and the Active Desk. Unlike many designs out there, however, the TAO Chair takes the seated workout out of the office and puts it in a more relaxing space. It also promises to be less conspicuous than other exercise chair designs with their mounted rowers and elastics. The prototype looks like it could just be an artistic piece of furniture.

TAO also launched the production version of the WellShell at CES 2015, a design it's now calling the WellShell 2.0. The "tiny gym in your pocket" works in conjunction with the free app, which prompts you to vary pressure on the device in different positions to tone your muscles using some of the same principles that underpin pilates and yoga. TAO has even incorporated mobile games into the WellShell system, allowing you to play the likes of JetPack JoyRide, Whales Trail, Canabalt, Go Ninja and Borderlands while exercising.

Source: Tao Wellness

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