In Brief

Are You Sitting Down? Meet Archelis, the Wearable Chair of the Future

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Archelis, a new “wearable chair” that could help surgeons and other professional standers stave off fatigue (all images courtesy Archelis)

By now, we’ve heard the bad news: sitting is slowly killing us all. But before you rush out to buy a standing desk, remember that standing all day, too, comes with plenty of health risks and is pretty exhausting. You can’t win!

Archelis, a futuristic new “wearable chair” by Japan’s Hiroaki Nishimura Design, provides workers with a healthy middle ground between deadly all-day sitting and tiring all-day standing. The exoskeleton-like contraption looks more like a leg brace than a chair — it straps onto the wearer’s legs and butt, letting them stand and walk around normally, but providing support so they can also sit wherever they want.

Developed by Yokohama-based mold factory Nitto in collaboration with Chiba University’s Center for Frontier Medical Engineering, Hiroaki Nishimura Design, and Japan Polymer Technology, Archelis — which means “walkable chair” in Japanese — was designed specifically for surgeons, who tend to have it the toughest: they must stand for hours during long operations, with the resulting fatigue increasing their chances of making a dire mistake. But it has plenty of possible applications in other fields: it could offer relief to the tired feet of baristas, factory workers, fishermen, and artists painting at easels. And the merely lazy, too, might like it: you could wear an Archelis on crowded subways, or while standing in line at the DMV.

It’s not the world’s first wearable chair. Last year, Swiss startup Noonee, calling themselves “Bringers of the Chairolution,” announced designs for the Chairless Chair, which uses a similar exoskeleton model. They tested it with factory workers at German auto manufacturer Audi. And there are patents for similar designs, since expired, dating from nearly four decades ago. Given the current wearable technology craze, it’s likely that more products like Archelis — whose designers aim to begin selling their creation this summer — will be coming soon.

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The exoskeleton-like chair straps on to the wearer’s legs and hips.
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Surgeons using Archelis, which means “walkable chair” in Japanese
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