This posture-perfect chair is crowdsourced from several hundred butts

Kram Weissharr R18 Ultra Chair

You know those awkwardly warm seats on the train or bus that creep you out seconds after you sit down but you don’t really have the will to change seats? As it turns out, that kind of heat from your behind can be crowdsourced to create a chair that comfortably fits the average person while helping them maintain a balanced posture.

As part of a design project at the 2012 Milan Furniture Fair, German designers Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram connected a chair with stress analysis monitors and asked various patrons to have a seat for some detailed information. Coordinating with carmaker Audi, the prototype of the carbon fiber and aluminum R18 Ultra Chair recorded in heat map the and weight applied to the back, seat, and legs of the chair to determine the areas of stress most received. The data was later used to construct a chair that will be materially and structurally efficient and comfortable enough to provide the most accommodating chair to date.

Kram Weissharr R18 Ultra Chair during crowdsourcingThe idea is similar to custom sports car seats where drivers sit on the foam mold of the chair several times so the topographic data of body is observed. The mold is curved to perfectly support the shape of the driver’s back and behind for an individualized seating before manufacturers complete the chair with leather outfittings. With this chair crowdsourcing, Audi and Kram/Weisshaar took this method to a more consumer level by introducing the concept on a furniture standpoint.

From what we can see in the heat map of stress on the chair, some people certainly need posture improvement while others barely touched the back of the chair. Heavier sitters also are likely to cause more stress on the legs of the chair, which will prompt the designers to build a stand that makes good use of material while sturdy enough to support various weights.

Staying true to the Audi Ultra name, the designers promise the chair will be lightweight and streamlined across the board. The prototype arrived in a flatpack and assembled on-site, so perhaps the same model will be applied after the modified version is revealed. The unveiling of crowdsourced R18 Ultra Chair will be available at Design Miami in December of this year, we where also hope pricing information will be available for the most over-engineered chair to date.

Watch the video below and see how the movements of one subject affects the chair’s stress points. More videos can be found at the official project page.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

2019 Volkswagen Jetta offers German refinement and tech at an affordable price

With enough tech to make villains jealous, the Volkswagen Jetta punches above its class as a forward-thinking sedan. Spacious, comfortable, and efficient, the Jetta is a refined offering. German refinement comes with a serious attitude.
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?
Cars

Audi’s traffic light information system shows the challenges facing V2X tech

Audi’s traffic light information system is among the first commercial applications of potentially game-changing V2X tech. So how does it work in the real world? We spent a few days getting stuck at red lights to find out.
Business

British Airways’ new Club Suite for business class comes with a door

British Airways is going after a bigger slice of the business class market with the imminent launch of the Club Suite. The plush seating option offers a more private space as well as an easier route to the bathroom.
Smart Home

Sony’s Aibo robot dog can now patrol your home for persons of interest

Sony released the all-new Aibo in the U.S. around nine months ago, and since then the robot dog has (hopefully) been melting owners' hearts with its cute looks and clever tricks. Now it has a new one up its sleeve.
Emerging Tech

The U.S. Army is building a giant VR battlefield to train soldiers virtually

Imagine if the U.S. Army was able to rehearse battlezone scenarios dozens, or even hundreds, or times before settling foot on actual terrain. Thanks to virtual reality, that's now a possibility.
Emerging Tech

Inflating smart pills could be a painless alternative to injections

Could an inflating pill containing hidden microneedles replace painful injections? The creators of the RaniPill robotic capsule think so — and they have the human trials to prove it.
Emerging Tech

A silver bullet is being aimed at the drug-resistant superbugs on the ISS

A bacteria which is benign here on Earth can mutate into a drug-resistant superbug once it enters space. Now this problem is being tackled by a team of microbiologists who have found a way to inhibit the spread of bacteria in the ISS.
Emerging Tech

Tombot is the hyper-realistic dog robot that puts Spot to shame

Forget Boston Dynamics’ Spot! When it comes to robot dogs, the folks behind a new Kickstarter campaign have plans to stake their claim as makers of man’s (and woman’s) newest best friend.
Emerging Tech

Researchers gave alligators headphones and ketamine, and all for a good cause

Researchers in Germany and the United States recently gave ketamine and earphones to alligators to monitor how they process sounds. Here's what it reveals about alligator evolution.
Emerging Tech

Cheese tastes different when it listens to Led Zeppelin, Swiss study finds

A funky new study says that exposing cheese to music changes its aroma and flavor. What’s more, the genre of music matters. Researchers from the Bern University of Arts played music to nine, 22-pound wheels of Emmental cheese.
Emerging Tech

Astronomers plan to beam Earth’s greatest hits into deep space, and you can help

A new project from the SETI Institute (search for extraterrestrial intelligence) will give the public the chance to submit compositions to be beamed into space, with the aim of connecting people around the world through music.
Emerging Tech

Twitter is officially a teenager now. Are we raising a monster?

On March 21, 2006, Jack Dorsey sent the first ever tweet. Thirteen years later, Twitter has fundamentally changed the way we communicate. Here are some of the myriad ways it's done that.