September 21, 2019
This wearable chair could change how we work and travel pic.twitter.com/KO8QoUcrut
— Tech Insider (@techinsider) September 18, 2019
Are people turning into insects?
On Wednesday night, the Tech Insider Twitter account made a simple statement: “This wearable chair could change how we work and travel.” The text was accompanied by a short video advertising the LEX bionic chair, a pair of £200 foldable aluminium legs that you strap to your bum and lean against whenever your legs get a bit tired. In the video, a man uses the LEX while sitting at a desk, waiting for a bus, and taking photos. It really does it all.
The LEX began as a Kickstarter project last September, which claimed the chair was designed to enhance “posture, comfort and life”. It has already been fully funded – according to the Kickstarter, more than $143,000 (£115,000) has been pledged, smashing the $50,000 goal – which proves that there is a market for it, but the Tech Insider tweet provoked less positive reactions. “I’m not sure ass prongs was the invention the world was waiting for,” replied one user. Another simply stated: “LAME”.
It looks like a parody.
But then again, most things today look like a parody.
It certainly doesn’t look like something able to hold the weight of the average American.
Why are they discriminating against Blob People?
The LEX website offers the tempting prospect of being able to sit down anywhere, whenever you want. Wear it on a hike and you can stop for a breather with minimal fuss. Wear it on your commute and you’re guaranteed a seat at the platform. It will stop you crouching down uncomfortably during DIY.
More than that, though, the LEX is a nifty posture-correction tool. Used standing up or sitting down, it’s in essence an exoskeleton that helps to keep your back in good alignment whether you’re sitting or standing. It even comes with something called a “load distribution module”, a little platform that you can rest your backpack on as you wear it, significantly lowering the burden on your spine. When you think about the money that the NHS spends on treating back pain each year – not to mention the effect on the economy of days lost to back pain – then the LEX could become more than just a nifty little seat; it might even help fix a broken nation.
People should spend more time standing than sitting, but if we’re going the muscle atrophy route, couldn’t they at least make it look cool?
The answer to postural problems isn’t to sit “properly” but to kick the chair out and stand up.
Most people in the West have trouble standing up for more than 20 minutes because their muscles are so weak that they can’t keep their skeleton straight.
Adding an exoskeleton won’t improve anything — but it will make everyone more like insects.
Quite a fitting destiny for people already living in concrete hives and working in cubicles.