I think we can all agree: Standing up for long periods of time is just ... it's really hard.
No one knows this struggle better than a surgeon.
It takes a lot of skill to keep your razor-sharp focus and stay on your feet for hours at a time while someone's life is on the line beneath your scalpel.
That's why one company invented the world's first wearable ... chair?
Yes, you read that right: wearable chair. Sure it sounds ridiculous, but it's actually pretty simple — and pretty cool.
The wearable chair, called the Archelis (a rough phonetic translation of "walkable chair" from Japanese), supports key pressure points on the legs to ease the wearer's fatigue, re-creating the sensation of sitting while maintaining an upright position. It was designed through a collaboration between the Japanese company Nitto and Chiba University’s Frontier Medical Engineering Center.
Basically, it's a pair of high-tech leg braces that hold your butt (and thighs and ankles) while you're standing.
Just a few years back, a Swiss company called Noonee introduced a similar creation called the Chairless Chair.
Wired described this hydraulic-powered titanium frame as, "a really bad-ass wearable or an especially lame exoskeleton."
The company's CEO, Keith Gunura, said that the device can give the body "microbreaks" of three to 10 seconds to relieve the stress of standing and compared the sensation to sitting on a barstool. It could also come in handy in workspaces where there's just not enough room to store chairs.
While the concept of a wearable chair was originally designed to aid surgeons during seemingly-endless shifts, the design has plenty of potential outside the hospital.
And, of course, surgeons aren't the only ones who face this kind of risk. A wearable chair could go a long way to ease the strain on all the people who work in restaurants, retail, and factory production lines and stay on their feet for hours at a time.
You know who else could benefit from a wearable chair? Anyone who spends their day sitting at a desk.
It's easy to understand the pain of someone who's forced to stand all day. But it turns out that excessive sitting isn't good for us either.
Aside from the general mind-numbing-ness of staring at Excel spreadsheets all day, the passive lifestyle of a desk job could lead to a whole host of ailments, one of the biggest being hunched posture — which can lead to migraines, back pain, breathing problems, and much more.
This is all assuming, of course, that the boredom doesn't kill you first.
Though not necessarily meant for all-day sitters, the Archelis does help the user maintain ideal posture and allows for easy switching between sitting and standing. Something like that could definitely come in handy for those dreary desk-bound days.
At the end of the day, no one should have to spend six to eight straight hours sitting or standing.
Moderation is a good thing. In a perfect world, we'd find a way to restructure the entire labor system so that productivity and physical strain weren't so intertwined, regardless of whether you're on your feet or in a chair.
But until that happens, at least we have cool tech like the Archelis to help us hit that Goldilocks sweet spot between sitting and standing. It's not perfect, but it's a start.