The Chairless Chair is exactly what it sounds like – a portable contraption that looks nothing like a chair and allows you to sit on it whenever you want and wherever you want.
This flexible, ergonomic device looks more like an exoskeleton and extends from the hip to the backs of the feet – making you look a little bit like a humanoid cyborg, at least from the back and waist-down.
Created by German start-up company noonee AG, the Chairless Chair is made using hi-tech composite polymers, weighs just 3.5 kilograms and adapts to different body sizes and safety shoes.
However, contrary to what you might think, this exochair wasn’t built for the lazy.
In fact, inventor Keith Gunura says its intended use is for employees at manufacturing firms who have to stand for long periods of time at work and sometimes bend into unnatural positions to assemble a product.
As noonee AG explains: “The main application is for the manufacturing companies, where workers are required to stand for a long period of time.
“With the Chairless Chair the users walk together with the sitting support while wearing it, without obstructing the workspace, at the same time avoiding strenuous postures such as bending, squatting or crouching.”
The device has garnered a lot of enthusiasm, particularly in the car manufacturing industry, since its launch in April this year.
Companies like Audi have been trying out the Chairless Chair and Gunura says his product has also been tested by Seat, Skoda, Daimler, BMW and Renault.
noonee AG is also working with a few car manufacturers in the UK and Gunura adds that surgeons, physiotherapists and even logistics as well as packaging firms have shown interest.
Gunura first came up with the idea five years ago at an office party.
“I saw that many people were tired after standing for over an hour,” he recalls. “Didn’t know there was a gap in the market at the time and when we realised that it (the Chairless Chair) was not ‘sexy’ enough for parties, we approached industry with the idea of a simple exoskeleton that only functions as a chair.
“The gap was made evident by their huge interest.”
The Chairless Chair attaches to the legs through several straps which lock into position with the press of a button and the joints can be adjusted to the user’s height.
The company says its aim is to “not only improve the ergonomic environment for their employees by improving body posture, but also solve and prevent certain occupational health and safety challenges”.
noonee AG partnered with design firm Sapetti and manufacturers Zuhlke Engineering AG to bring the product to life.
Gunura says his wearable chair is meant to reduce worker fatigue and work-related accidents while improving productivity.
“The feedback has been quite positive from buyers and users, as we make sure we share our experience and know how for successful implementation with them,” he says.
“For the user, quality of work life is improved while for the factory, there has been a reduction of the work-related pain of the workers.”
So what does the future hold for the Chairless Chair?
“Well, my vision is that it will become an everyday item – like a bicycle – usable by everyone and anyone,” Gunura says.