Purdue Engineers Develop a Chair With 'Sense'

Purdue University engineers have developed a "sensing chair" that\r\ncan determine a person's sitting posture.

Purdue University engineers have developed a "sensing chair" that can determine a person''s sitting posture.

Researchers believe the "sensing chair" could improve the ergonomics of furniture.

The modified office chair uses software algorithms that interpret information collected by an array of pressure sensors in the backrest and seat.

When tested on 30 people, the chair demonstrated an overall accuracy of 96 percent in determining whether people were slouching, leaning in various positions crossing their legs or sitting upright.

"For anybody who wants to do anything related to ergonomics, slouching is the one posture you probably really want to discourage," said Hong Tan, an assistant professor at Purdue''s School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. "Perhaps such a sensing chair might sound a warning beep every time its user assumed a slouching posture."

However, the "sensing chair" may not be in stores too soon. Ergonomics experts question the researchers claim that the chair could "determine an ergonomically correct posture."

The Business and Institutional Manufacturers Association (BIFMA) addresses working postures in its provisional release on ergonomics guidelines for furniture.

"There is no uniquely correct working posture that would fit any user for an extended period of time and/or accommodate every personal working habit."

by Virginia Sutcliffe

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