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MIT Students Hack Ordinary Office Chair


Have you ever had the feeling that your desk chair is trying to kill you? If so, you’ve probably just ingested a little bit too much coffee and need more comfortable office furniture. Or, you’ve broken into the studio of Paris-based designers J.C. Karich and Pauline Jamilloux and encountered the Wild Chair.

What’s the Wild Chair?

Karich and Jamilloux worked with MIT Media Lab to develop a chair that reacts to stimulus. Using a basic IKEA chair, sensors, and dozens of wooden spikes, they created piece of furniture that actually bristles if you’re not nice to it. Users who hope to peacefully coexist with their desk chair would have to learn to speak kindly to it. (Or at least, say terrible things at a low volume.)

Their idea was to free chairs from the slavery of serving humans, said Karich in an interview with Fast Company.

How Do You “Be Nice” to It?

To calm the chair, approach it quietly. Caress the seat back, and whisper to it. A microphone senses the volume of sound, while sensors pick up the pressure of your hand. As long as the spikes are down, it’s a fairly comfy spot to sit — well, as comfy as IKEA chairs get, anyway.

The designer cautions users not to get too comfy, however.

“Remember,” Karich warns, “a wild chair will always be a WILD CHAIR.”

On the whole, we think we’ll stick to our old, beat-up ergonomic chair. Even if we can never remember how to adjust the height, at least it’s never tried to stick us in the back. And if regular desk chairs sensed volume and agitation, none of us would ever be able to sit in them while using a computer again.

Image: BostInno

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