UPFRONT Laid-back space

Forget about sitting up straight to save your posture from being hunched over keyboard; think laid-back. reclining “zero-gravity” chair is the workstation of the not-so-distant future, according to Petone-based project management company Vision.
Its chair-based computer workstation looks like something you’d find on Starship Enterprise. On the drawing board for decade, it’s now undergoing few more design tweaks with production of the first models expected toward the end of this year.
The chair, which provides neck-to-ankle support, is padded with visco-elastic material that conforms to each individual’s body shape and weight and was originally designed by NASA to mitigate G-force effects on its astronauts. The workstation includes flat-screen computer, adjustable cordless keyboard, remote control mouse, speakers, task lighting, headphones and wiring for telephone headsets.
Its designer, Rory Hocking of Ergozign Design, says the time has come to reconsider traditional conventions as to office seating and while laid-back position challenges perceptions of how hard someone is working, it actually has the potential to be more efficient.
“Lying back conserves energy. You’re spending less time on staying alert and keeping your body in an easy position so you have more energy for the work in front of you.”
The combination of technology advances and availability of NASA research into seating – plus some kickstart funding from Technology NZ – has enabled completion of the workstation prototype, according to Vision’s managing director Malcolm Rabson. And there’s already interest from distributor in Europe.
“Nothing quite like this is available anywhere else.”
He says the price tag will be competitive with existing conventional workstations and believes initial demand will come from data input and call centres where staff are mainly working on phone or computer enquiries. However, the “multi-media chair” (as it’s been christened) is likely to find favour with any long-haul desk jockeys.

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