The Chairless Chair from Swiss company noonee is a hard-working exoskeleton-type accessory that relieves the physical pressure of a workday spent mostly standing up. Standing for eight or nine hours a day can do major damage to your muscles, bones, and nerves, but having a stool to sit on isn’t practical in a lot of work situations. The Chairless Chair lets workers take a load off anywhere and at any time.
The “chair” is actually a lightweight aluminum and carbon fiber frame. It attaches to the back of the user’s legs via a series of straps around the thighs, knees, and waist. It also attaches to the heels of the user’s shoes. The exoskeleton allows for complete freedom of movement – even running – when not engaged.
When the wearer needs to take a break from standing, they simply crouch down into a sitting position and push a button to lock the device in place. It is only in the sitting position that any part of the device touches the ground, resting on the floor behind the wearer’s heels. This directs the body weight off of the wearer’s musculoskeletal system.
Noonee is currently marketing the device toward industrial applications such as factories. In a setting like that, workers often stand all day and move in unnatural postures which can result in serious and long-lasting injuries. The Chairless Chair will either allow for micro-breaks or let workers assume a sitting position during the most tedious parts of their job.
The Chairless Chair isn’t recommended for long-term sitting – it will never replace the office chair. But when a user is sitting, the exoskeleton ensures that he or she is using proper posture, further preventing workplace injury. Noonee is focusing on industrial settings at the moment, but they acknowledge that the technology has extremely widespread potential, even for activities as simple as riding the train home from work.