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The Chairless Chair, an invisible chair that you can wear (cnn.com)
220 points by 51Cards on Aug 20, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 68 comments

A few hundred years late, and a bit on the expensive side compared to its competition:


I built one of these for backpacking trips for a little less than $5 for a wooden disk, a couple plumbing bits and a clip belt. Silly looking when you're walking around with it, but infinitely better than sitting on a wet log next to the campfire.

There's some NSFW content in that first page of search results...

Only if you have safe search turned off.

I didn't turn it off, but that's the default if you block cookies.


The "strap-on milking stool" is not the same thing at all. The chairless chair supports in a range of positions, from standing to sitting.

Also, having to balance on two axes with the milking stool is much harder than with the chairless chair, which only requires you to balance on axis.

It may be more difficult, but it's probably better for you. Before I went full-time standing desk, I sat on an exercise ball all day for years, and my core strength and sense of balance reflect that.

I hear this a lot. Unfortunately the science does not support the idea that sitting on a ball all day will significantly strengthen your core, but it may habitually force you into a better posture (or it may not - be careful). Functionally you'd have the same effect from sitting on a padded stool without a back.

I'm not familiar with the studies you refer to (and you don't explicitly refer to them so I can't check them) but just thought I'd note that core 'strength' could mean either muscular development or neural development of the control of those muscles.

To be clear there isn't a study done on bouncy balls that I know of (there probably is, I didn't look it up), just based on more fundamental science: in terms of physical adaptation there is pretty much no way to increase either neural or muscular development without an increasing intensity of stimulus, which balancing on a ball will not allow you to do. You will probably gain a small amount of both for the first week or two, but then, absent of increasing stress, your body will stop needing to adapt and stabilize.

Come on now, it's very, very similar.

I think with your feet wide you enter a pretty stable tripod stance. And you could easily adjust the length of the chair or give it feet. But since, I presume, neither of us has tried either device, it's all academic, isn't it?

This appears to be something that's solved with the Asian Squat. It's not fashionable in the West to do this so we don't build up the right flexibility and tendon strength to do it comfortably. But if you can train yourself to do it, you can do it for hours. It's basically human's default "sitting" position.


That doesn't look as good for production line work where you'll need to be working on something a few feet off the ground and doesn't have nearly the amount of positions or support. It's definitely a lot cheaper though.

Whoah. I'm not asian, far from it (though I did spend 12 months in Busan, South Korea when I was 16) and I "sit" like that. I find it extremely comfortable; whenever my legs are feeling sore from standing or walking around, that's the position I will rest in. Didn't realise it was a thing, or tied to a culture! Neat.

Yeah, it's a thing. I'm not Asian either, and I also taught myself to do it when living in Korea as a teenager long ago. Koreans took for granted that the ground was filthy--with good reason in those days. They would never touch it with anything but their shoes, then remove their shoes on entering any place where they DID sit on the floor (home, some restaurants). So, when outside for extended periods, they would use their own legs as a chair, which I found very difficult to do at first. But I trained myself, and my kids (who can't do it) think it's a very amusing skill.

It's tied to a culture because if you don't ever use that position, then for many adults it's extremely uncomfortable or even impossible to achieve, as the lower calf tendons don't allow you to squat with your feet flat on the ground, but only while balancing on the balls of your feet - which is not that comfortable for long 'sitting'.

For cultures that habitually use squat toilets, everyone can hold that position; but for other cultures many people can't.

But why not? I tried weightlifting, and that's the position you do squats in, but I found that I can only do it with > 50 kg on my back. That's very weird.

Everything's a thing. You'd be surprised. And there's books, blogs and lifehacks about it.

Completely different from the use case shown in the video. Looks like the chairless chair works at many angles.

Crossfit emphasizes keeping your feet flat, butt down, and back straight while squatting. After a few months of it, you can squat like this for hours.

Back squat in general yeah.

Looks very similar to the position a catcher in baseball would take.

I gained this skill thanks to a high school production in which I played a gargoyle-esque character, who spent a lot of time squatting on rocks.

I have never been able to achieve that position, not even when I was a toddler.

I've heard it called the third world squat:


My buddy has been pitching the idea of "chair pants" to me for a decade at least. Glad to see someone finally executed on this. :)

Now we just need those keyboard pants. you know, with half a keyboard on each thigh.

It's too bad they didn't split up the keyboard. Putting your fingers on the home keys looks like it would basically put your right hand over your crotch.

I had one of those old split Apple ergo keyboards back in the day and when trying to use it on my lap one day this occurred to me but I thought it too ridiculous. Also there were no wireless keyboards that weren't terrible.

But hey, you know with the right cargo style pants you could just conceal the halves and...

hahahaha, awesome!

Sure playing fast and loose with "invisible", aren't we CNN?

Clearly, invisible only means able to be hidden by cloth.

It's gotta suck or be vaporware, given that no single video exists on the entirety of the internet of the device in action... only cheesy renderings and stills.

Interesting concept. I used to carry a 'nada chair'[1] in my backpack when hiking, I suspect this is much heavier though. I could totally see it as a huge win for folks who had to stand while customers were around (think the guy selling food from a cart on the street). If you motorized it so that it helped older people stand up then it could be a double win for them.

[1] http://www.gingerbreadshows.com/nadachair/

Also found at: http://www.nadachair.com/ Reasonably comfortable, too.

I expected the worst from the headline but this is actually pretty neat. Seems like it could improve safety as well in production environments where workbenches or sit stools could present a trip hazard (eg if you're manhandling large objects that obstruct your view of the ground).

found a 2008 article on similar honda 'legs' http://www.wired.com/2008/11/honda-announces/

This sounds really useful. If it's less than 100$, I could see it selling very well outside of a convention.

If a future iteration is cheap, light and can be worn below clothes, I could really see this catching on.

Awesome invention. If they can make it even less intrusive people might start wearing it in daily life. Not sure how to feel about the "Chairolution" slogan, though.

It looks really uncomfortable to me.

Straps holding it in place, only two pads beneath your butt and no back support.

Maybe in a two minute demonstration it's ok, but wear it all day and I bet it will feel like a jail.

As for the assembly worker video example, it doesn't seem like a well-thought use case.

Why not use a stool? Cheaper and might have some back support.

Also, off the top of my head:

What happens if you forget and lean backwards, even a bit ?

How much time does it take to put it on and take it off?

How easy is it to put it on in a slightly incorrect manner and twist and break your leg?

> Why not use a stool? Cheaper and might have some back support.

Look at what the guy is doing. A stool will probably only cover 30% (if that) of his work.

> What happens if you forget and lean backwards, even a bit ?

What happens if you are on a stool without a back and lean backwards?

> How much time does it take to put it on and take it off?

It sounds like you only put it on once per day and just leave it on disabled without significantly impacting your movement.

If you lean back on a stool you will kick your legs out to cancel the momentum. It's an unconscious reflex. Can't do that if your legs are strapped down though.

We've come full circle--from a standing job to a desk job to a standing desk job to a standing job where you can sit on your pants.

This seems to be a stepping stone to widespread fully powered exoskeletons. I could imagine the next version of this supporting lifting capability.

I remember when I was singing in the Juilliard pre college chorus as a kid, we had to stabd for hours on end in a concert. I wanted to make pants that go above the knees and lock into place, so they support me standing. So I wanted to build a low tech version of this when I was a kid :)

I bet pregnant women would like a version of this which supported their body weight sporadically throughout the day, especially in the late third trimester.

Hell, I want one to help me do the dishes. There's somewhere a stool wouldn't make much sense.

The name reminds me of this SNL sketch: https://screen.yahoo.com/art-dealers-susan-greg-meet-0000008...

Guessing that a lot of people are going to read the name as no-one.

Question, if standing desks are so great then why is standing at work considered bad? Only reason I can come up with is that with the desk you can set its height

Invisible chairs have been around for a long long time: http://i.imgur.com/tIIBKCY.jpg

You are correct sir. And as an added benefit, it keeps you nice and limber.

These guys are definitely streets behind:


This would perfect with my standing desk!

I think it can be even more invisible.. www.youtube.com/watch?v=DkmkGFHTjRg

A tiny step closer to mass-market robotic exoskeletons.

seems like it would hurt.

Last slide suggests that RyanAir would love it.

Sitting is the new smoking. This thing is like the e-cig of chairs...

I don't understand this analogy. Care to explain?

Sitting too much can cause health problems (not because of the sitting itself but the lack of exercise that often accompanies sit-down jobs). It's been fashionable to say 'sitting is killing people' and suchlike in the popular media.

Spending too much time sitting down is believed to increase mortality even if you exercise regularly.

E.g. http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/too-much-sitting-linked-t...:

“Even if you are doing the recommended amount of moderate to vigorous exercise, you will still have a higher risk of mortality if you’re spending too many hours sitting,” says Dr. JoAnn Manson, one of the study’s authors, and chief of preventive medicine at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.

What is "too much"? So what should we do? In school, we studied in class by sitting on the school chair. That habit continue in campus. Also, some worker are forced to do their job by sitting (e.g. taxi driver, pilot).

Btw, The article said that 8+ hours and it applies to woman.

Ah, makes sense, but here I was thinking the standing desk hype from a couple years ago had long since faded.

Sitting for long hours is 'claimed' to be bad for your health. Not that I am disputing the claim, I actually agree and have gone back and forth between standing desk and sitting desk. I say 'claimed' because I think more research is still required. Standing all day can be quite fatiguing as well.

Isn't the point of using a standing desk that it is fatiguing?

I've been 100% standing desk for about a year now, and I don't find it fatiguing at all.

After a year you probably get used to it but at first I imagine it would be fatiguing. Unless you are already very active.

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