This Cheap Exoskeleton Lets You Sit Wherever You Want Without a Chair

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Aug. 28 2014 10:17 AM

This Cheap Exoskeleton Lets You Sit Wherever You Want Without a Chair

chair
The Chairless Chair design.

Graphic from Noonee

Exoskeletons help people do amazing things, but a Swiss startup wants to use them for something really simple. The company, Noonee, is developing a “Chairless Chair” so factory workers who have to stand all day can take a quick load off using the exoskeleton they're casually wearing.

Noonee’s design is a low-cost exoskeleton just for your legs that goes into a seated position when you push a button. When it’s not activated, you can walk or run pretty normally, but when you put it in the seated position, the aluminum and carbon fiber frame becomes rigid to support you. And the device itself only weighs about 4.5 pounds. The Chairless Chair is still a prototype, but CNN reports that Audi is planning to offer a pilot to some of its employees in September, and BMW has plans for a similar trial period.

Advertisement

Keith Gunura, the CEO and co-founder of Noonee, told CNN, “The idea came from wanting to sit anywhere and everywhere, and from working in a U.K. packaging factory when I was 17.” The company’s CTO and co-founder Bryan Anastisiades adds that the Chairless Chair has added benefits over regular chairs because it seats people with their backs straight. It’s hard to slouch in an exoskeleton.

Though we’re all trying to move around more, because of evidence that frequent prolonged sitting can cause health problems, there are so many scenarios where having a chair built into your body would be extremely convenient. The next time you’re wearing your Noonee exoskeleton and someone tells you to pop a squat, you’ll be able to pretty literally oblige.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer

Foreigners

Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.

Technology

Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 23 2014 5:42 PM Seriously, Evolution: WTF? Why I love the most awkward, absurd, hacked-together species.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.