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Audi's Chairless Chair Lower Body Exoskeleton

Audi is trying to extend the capabilities of their workers by providing them with a "chairless chair" - a kind of lower-body exoskeleton that actually takes a load off their feet.


(Audi hairless-chair exoskeleton)

The chairless chair, which Audi has further developed together with a Swiss start‑up company, is an exoskeleton that is worn on the back of the legs. It is fastened with belts to the hips, knees and ankles. Two leather‑covered surfaces support the buttocks and thighs while two struts made of carbon‑fiber‑reinforced plastic (CFRP) adapt to the contours of the leg. They are jointed behind the knee and can be hydraulically adjusted to the wearer’s body size and the desired sitting position. Body weight is transferred into the floor through these adjustable elements. The chairless chair itself weighs just 2.4 kilograms. Dr. Stephan Weiler, the doctor responsible for ergonomic workplace design in Audi’s health department: “The chairless chair is a clear demonstration that Audi places priority on attractive and well‑designed workplaces. This construction reduces the stress and strain on our employees’ knees and ankles in an ideal manner.”

In his wonderful 1932 classic A Conquest of Two Worlds, Edmond Hamilton wrote about how scientists solved the problem of how to work in the heaviest gravity environment in the solar system. He doesn't quite get to the idea of an exoskeleton (see the medical exoskeleton described in Fritz Leiber's 1968 novel A Specter is Haunting Texas for that) but he makes a real effort to address the problem.

The greatest difficulty, Crane saw, was Jupiter's gravitation...

Earth's scientists solved the problem to some extent by devising rigid metallic clothing not unlike armor which would support the interior human structure against Jupiter's pull. Crane's men were also administered compounds devised by the biochemists for the rapid building of bone to strengthen the skeleton structure...
(Read more about Hamilton's Rigid Metallic Clothing)

Now mind you, I'm not suggesting that Audi start making bone-strengthening treatments available, but it might be worth looking into.

Via NextBigFuture and Audi.

Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 3/3/2015)

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