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Future Innovations in Chair Design

Chairs are probably the most common piece of technology that we use on a daily basis. One of the earliest recorded uses of a chair dates back 4,500 years to the Sumerians and a statute that depicts their goddess Innana sitting on a throne like chair. They have therefore been part of our lives for a very long time, but the function of the chair, to provide a comfortable place to sit, has remained the same. Meanwhile there is virtually no part of the home that has not been invaded by technology, however despite the style and shape of chairs varying a lot, the chair to a large extent has remained exempt from this technological revolution.

How could technological advances help to improve a chair in terms of comfort and functionality? To try to answer this question the requests of 5000 respondents to a Facebook survey were used to find the features that would be expected of a more technically advanced chair. The results of the survey were then used to design a future chair concept that resulted in The Perfect Armchair.

Increased Levels of Comfort

The design of the chair has evolved rapidly over the last 50 years, with new materials, particularly the use of plastics, and manufacturing techniques resulting in ever more elaborate shapes and designs. Built-in footrests have become common place and even high-tech features such as heating and massage functions have been added.

However, one part of the chair that does not seem to have been affected is the issue of comfort, despite the invention of new materials the best way to make a chair comfortable is with padding. This often means that chairs are not always comfortable for everyone, as people need support in different places. Also, the comfort level provided by the cushions reduces with use, as the padding becomes squashed.

One of the more interesting concepts to come out of the survey was the idea of a chair where the cushions are able to mould and adapt to the shape of the person sitting in it. This would be a nice innovation as it would result in a chair that would not only provide ultimate comfort for everyone, but also cushions that wouldn’t loose their shape over time.

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A More Mobile Chair

Features have been designed into chairs to make them better suited for elderly or disabled users, such as with mechanisms that allow them to get out of the chair more easily, however little has been done to aid mobility while seated. One feature that the participants of the survey asked for was the ability for the chair to move and the solution was to add a mobility ball to the chair. While the motivation for the feature was probably so they didn’t have to get up when they wanted to get a drink from the kitchen, it has the added benefit of making it easier for those affected by movement limitations to get around their homes.

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A New Dimension of Home entertainment

Many chairs currently on the market include a speaker system that provides the user with an improved home entertainment experience. The perfect armchair concept has attempted to take this experience one step further with the introduction of a 4D haptic feedback system, as well as integrated speakers. These combined features would mean that you would feel and hear every single explosion in an action movie and be provided with a more immersive viewing experience.

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The perfect armchair concept features lots of innovative features and although many are impractical given current technology, it will be interesting to see how many of these features make it into mainstream products. Do you think that there is a killer feature that the survey participants have left out? Then why not share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

Article by Daniel Nutter

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