The idea came from Noonee, a Zurich-based startup company which describes the Chairless Chair as something that is designed to offer relief to workers who have to stand for a longer period of time because of their work. It attaches to a person's hips and thighs like an exoskeleton. At a touch of a button, it immediately transforms itself into a chair. When the person has to walk around, the Chairless Chair goes with him which is not at all annoying as it weighs only 2kg and doesn't affect one's mobility.
The Chairless Chair is a battery-operated device and provides at least 8 hours of battery life on a single charge. The chair locks itself in place and redirects the person's body weight to its heels. It can support up to 100kg of weight on each person's leg.
"The idea came from wanting to sit anywhere and everywhere, and from working in a UK packaging factory when I was 17," said 29 year old Keith Gunura, CEO and co-founder of Noonee. Gunura further adds that standing for several hours brings distress to a person's lower limbs. Most workers are given very minimal breaks and chairs are hardly provided. Perhaps this is because they occupy too much space.
The frame of the device is made up of aluminum and carbon fiber which accounts for its weight of 2kg. Apart from allowing the user to walk around while wearing the device, it also allows one to perform some running. It actually comes in two versions. One version features using the device while it's connected to a pair of boots. This prevents the device's frame to touch the ground. The other version eliminates using the device with a special footwear. In this case, the frame touches the ground when its special clamping mechanism is engaged.
Research has shown that standing for long periods is bad for the muscles and joints. It also affects the person's productivity level and attentiveness. Poor posture, repetitive movements, and physical strain can result to Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) which are currently one of the leading causes of worker injuries and illnesses. In 2011, the United States Department of Labor has recorded more than 378,000 cases of MSDs which account for 33 percent of all U.S. worker injuries and illnesses. This record is even higher in Europe which has more than 40 million workers affected by MSDs because of their job. The information is based on a study called "Fit for Work Europe" which was conducted in 23 countries around Europe.