New smart chair technology to improve health of workers

Researchers have designed a smart chair that will make the office and workers safer and healthier. In Australia, a 2007 study by Access Economics estimated back pain was costing the economy $34.3 billion in lost workplace productivity and treatments.

The emphasis on OH&S is to take preventative measures, such as keeping chairs, desks and computers at the right height. However, Dr Stephen Jia Wang at Monash, has developed office furniture that will be able to tell the worker whether they are sitting correctly, when it’s time to get up and move around and, even, “inform” your home furniture of how your spine has been coping during the day and to alter your sofa’s comfort settings before your sit down in front of the TV.

Monash University researcher Dr Wang’s current “smart chair” project is expected to be a fully functional prototype as early as 2017.

Director of the Monash University’s International Tangible Interaction Design Lab, Dr Wang says his own back pain – and his expensive search for a good office chair – was the inspiration for what he calls a “pervasive environment simulator” or “the virtual spine”. … (read more)