The 2.4kilo “chairless” chair has been created by Audi in partnership with an unnamed Swiss start-up company. The device is an exoskeleton that’s strapped to the legs with belts at the hips, knees and ankles. Two leather-covered surfaces supports the posterior and thigh area while two struts made of carbon fibre reinforced plastic adjust to the contours of the leg. These struts are jointed behind the knee area and can be hydraulically adjusted to the wearer’s body size and desired sitting position.
According to 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.
Employees wear the chairless chair when working like a second pair of legs to provide support whenever needed. For a large number of assembly operations, it allows employees to sit in an ergonomically favourable position instead of standing. At the same time, this high‑tech supporting structure improves posture and reduces strain on the legs. Chairs and stools, which are currently used in some assembly operations as temporary aids, become unnecessary.
Starting in February, Audi employees will pilot 3 different prototypes of the chairless chair on both the A4 and A6 production lines at Audi’s Neckarsulm plant. Audi will also start a test phase also at the Ingolstadt plant in May, after that, the company will deploy the chairless chair into series production.