Exoskeleton Provides Comfortable Seat Anytime, Anywhere

Massimo Brega/The Age of Robots

Having a job that involves standing all day can be rough—as nurses, factory workers, hairdressers, and those working in food service (among many other professions) can attest. As muscle fatigue sets in, concentration can begin to wane and sometimes people will begin to take on unnatural postures in order to make themselves more comfortable. This opens the door for making mistakes and/or injuring oneself, which can lead to lifelong disability and lost productivity.

In order to address this problem, Noonee—a startup based in Switzerland—has created the Chairless Chair. The device is worn behind the legs, though it still allows for normal walking. When the user needs to take a break, he/she leans back and rests on the device, creating a chair anytime, anywhere. Noonee’s CEO and co-founder, 29-year-old Keith Gunura came up with the idea after working on a production line as a teenager, he told CNN.

The aluminum and carbon fiber frame is relatively lightweight at 1 kg (2.2 lbs) each. It is strapped around each leg and then attached to the shoe under the heel. The device features dampers that can be adjusted in order to set the height of the chair. Once a comfortable seated position is taken, the user powers on the 6 volt battery, which provides the device with 24 hours of use. 

The Chairless Chair is expected to get its first real-world test next month as some employees who work the production line for BMW will begin using the device to see if it really does help with muscle fatigue and improving concentration. Production workers at Audi, also based in Germany, will get the chance to try out the device before the end of the year. 

The current model of the exoskeleton is fairly bulky, which presents certain safety concerns in and of itself. However, future models could be much sleeker and worn inconspicuously underneath regular clothing. This would also make the Chairless Chair ideal for situations outside of work, such as being unable to find a seat on a crowded subway or unable to avoid sitting on the disgusting floor at an airport when you need to use an outlet to charge your phone or laptop.

Image credit: noonee

Image credit: noonee

 

 

Want more great stories about exoskeletons? Check out “Robotic Exoskeleton Lifts 50 Kilos Per Hand” or “Paraplegic In "Ironman Suit" Will Take The First Kick In The 2014 World Cup

[Hat tip: Extreme Tech]

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