A wearable chair? At first glance, it may seem like a rather pointless invention. But anyone who’s ever had a job that required them to stand all day will be breathing a sigh of relief.
If you’ve worked in surgery, retail, food service, or factories, you know how sore your feet can feel after a full day’s work. You may only get to sit down on your lunch break, and by the end of the day, your legs and feet are exhausted. You wish you could take a quick seat.
With the Archelis wearable chair, you can do just that. The Archelis (which means “walkable chair” in Japanese) comes straight out of Nitto, a Japanese factory based in Yokohama. Collaborators include Chiba University’s Center for Frontier Medical Engineering, Hiroaki Nishimura Design, and Japan Polymer Technology, all of which helped design the Archelis.
As far as we know, the chair hasn’t hit the markets yet – though it’s certainly created a lot of buzz. So if you’re wondering when and where you can buy the Archelis wearable chair, sadly we’ve got nothing for you. News of the Archelis surfaced in early 2016, and the wearable chair was supposed to go on sale that summer. But Nitto’s website announces that the Archelis is still in development, with its price and release date up in the air.
In appearance, the Archelis looks like anything but a chair. In fact, it’s more akin to leg braces than to anything else. The chair straps on around the wearer’s legs, feet, and rear end, supporting the lower body so you can essentially take a seat.
Nitto designed the product for surgeons, who work on their feet for long hours every day in the surgery room. But professionals in a number of other jobs could benefit from the chair as well. We’ll just have to wait and see if they can actually afford it: the fact that the Archelis’ marketing efforts have targeted surgeons specifically makes us think that the price (when finally announced) is going to be up there.
Strange as it may seem, the Archelis is not the first of its kind. A Swiss company called Noone recently created a wearable chair in an effort to help factory workers and increase workplace efficiency. Noone predicted that the wearable chair would mean less employee absences and greater commitment, as it would contribute to greater employee health and productivity. Noone’s chair looks slightly different than the Archelis: while it also features pseudo leg braces, this chair straps around the waist and shoulders as well, providing full body support. In fact, it looks a little funky, so I’m guessing only people with a great amount of self-confidence will buy into it.
It may also surprise you to learn that the concept of the wearable chair has in fact been around for over a century. The Archelis may seem like a thoroughly modern invention, but Darcy Robert Bonner actually patented the “wearable chair” – in exactly those terms – in 1978. If we go back a little further, we find the invaluable “Stool and Cane,” patented in 1901, which involves a combined stool and cane that straps on over the back and around one ankle.
According to its patent, the Stool and Cane aims “to provide simple and effective means for supporting a person while at labor or during the pursuance of those classes of vocations requiring an upright or standing posture.” If it sounds like the exact same concept behind Noone’s and Nitto’s wearable chair products, that’s because it is.
A similar patent from 1904 exists for a wearable stool which, very helpfully, can be concealed beneath a dress. It seems one person, at least, cared about the conspicuous appearance of the wearable chair.
So if wearable chairs have been around for so long, why are we only just now hearing about them? Maybe it’s because the number of people working in stand-up professions has increased over the last few decades. Or maybe it means people are more conscious of the consequences of standing all day, every day.
Some people have suggested that the Archelis wearable chair might go a long way in helping people with back-related issues like spinal and nerve injuries, sciatica, and other physical impairments. While Nitto hasn’t said anything about that aspect of the product, it certainly seems like a natural follow-up.
And just think of all the other problems the Archelis would solve. No more standing for hours in lines and at concerts. The possibilities are just about endless.
So if you frequently feel like you’re about to keel over after hours on the job, you can now jump for joy. Or maybe just shout for joy, as it’s going to be pretty hard to jump with that chair strapped around your legs.