Audi has made a chairless chair for its workers. It’s a sort of exoskeleton/outer-body shell that isn’t quite a suit that Tony Stark would don. Instead, it’s more of a balancing aid, a way to alleviate force exerted on the back, knees and ankles while workers assemble the next generation of Audi vehicles.
The “chair” is made of carbon fiber, leather and plastic. It weighs about 5.3 pounds and is attached to the backs of the legs. From there it performs a magic trick of physics. It’s a chair without being a chair. It lets a worker sit down: on nothing.
The benefit of this is that workers can assume positions that physically shouldn’t be possible. They can hold postures that would normally exert way too much pressure on a person’s stress points. They can be more than ordinary workers. Essentially Audi has taken a step toward roboticizing its workforce.Audi has taken a step toward roboticizing its workforce with a new chairless chair. Click To Tweet
Right now, three workers are piloting the chairs on the assembly lines in Neckarsulm. In May, the Audi chairless chair will undergo a second pilot in the Ingolstadt plant. Workers will work on the next-gen A4. After that, the plan is for the chairs to be made available in production facilities worldwide.
Because Audi is an offshoot of Volkswagen Group, this technology could be shared among the group’s 118 production plants. Those plants employ nearly 600,000 people who are located in 31 countries. The ripple effect of the Audi chairless chair being shared to this many areas is hard to predict, but we imagine that it will inspire further innovation in manual labor aids.
Because the Audi chairless chair will increase productivity without increasing energy demands, this is a very positive development. Audi says it developed the chair along with a Swiss start-up, but did not mention the company’s name. Whomever they are, we hope to see more aids that help the workers of the world.