Rethinking the Ergonomic Chair for the Chair Addict in All of Us

Posted by Alison Heller-Ono on February 3, 2017

Rethinking the Ergonomic Chair for the Chair Addict in All of Us

I know we have come a long way in ergonomic chair furniture design. The mechanisms are smoother, more intuitive to our bodies, improved fabric and cushion comfort, more sustainable, but when is someone going to make a "smart chair" for all us chair addicts?

Rethinking the Ergonomic Chair for the Chair Addict in All of UsIt seems we have the technology now. Consider the electric wheelchair with sit to stand technology, the smart phone (with biometrics), wearable technology to monitor our physiology, and cars with fully adjustable seats. We have sit to stand tables that measure how long we have been standing.... so why don't we have a “smart chair” yet to measure our sitting performance?

I see the “smart chair” of the future as having auto-positional sensors, thoraco-lumbar sensors, armrest sensors and seat pan sensors. Through wireless technology, the sensors would transmit sitting duration, body temperature, heart rate, contact pressure and other vital information to our computers to advise us when it's time to change our posture and GET UP! As chair addicts sitting hours on end in front of our computers, laptops, iPads and TVs, we need reminders to change from recline to upright to declined sitting and ultimately to rise to our feet after an extended period.

One of the drivers in the “Stand Up” revolution is certainly chair quality and competency. Most employers and seated workers are oblivious to the features and functions of the chairs they sit on every day. Chair discomfort associated with failing seat foam cushion, poor back support and contour, failing seat cylinders, and broken chair mechanics is a likely reason helping to encourage more standing. When employers inventory and evaluate chair quality and competency, it goes a long way to understand why workers aren't tolerating sitting or want to stand up more often. Utilizing technology to help us know when our chairs are failing and need to be replaced with a "smart chair" would go a long way to enhance our health and productivity

Surely, one of the big US or European chair manufacturers is busy building a "smart chair"now!!! As an addict, I can only hope it comes soon! Before the obesity, diabetes and heart disease sets in!

But do we really need a “smart chair”? We already have task interruption software, cues to remind us to stand periodically, wearables to track our moves and monitor our biometrics. What do you think? Would you use a "smart chair" at work?


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