Oki has turned technology used in its leg-shaped robot “Robot Leg”, which was introduced in 2005, in a prototype office chair that is based on a human muscual mechanism. The so-called Leopard was jointly developed by Oki and Okamura, a Japanese furniture maker.
The chair is supposed to help persons get out of the chair easily as well as sit and recline comfortably. The companies involved in the development say “the seat of the chair operates as musculature above the human knee and the back operates as the human body”.
Every time a person sitting in the chair scoots his or her body forward, the (unpowered) Leopard will rise the seat up to help the person stand up. When someone sits down, the seat will sink approximately 25° and make the person feel as if the seat is wrapped around from the back.
The Leopard, which currently is suitable only for people weighing between 55 and 60kg, is scheduled for commercialization in 2009. As Okamura is also a highly internationalized company, chances are the chair will find its way outside Japan someday soon.