object _ product & technology

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Gregg Lynn presented his microclimate chair designed for basketball players as they rest on the sidelines between game play. He claims that consumers were increasingly expecting better performance from their furniture, but design-led companies were failing to act.

“I think probably the furniture industry is slow to engage technology,” “It’ll either happen or they’ll disappear.”

The chair has integrated heat and weight sensors so it can cool and heat athletes between periods of inactivity, as well as monitor the amount of fluid lost.

“We can bring the core temperature of an athlete down by cooling their spine and stop them from cramping up by heating their calves and thighs,” he added. “That is why Nike is interesting, not because it is a bad idea to make a chair, but I think it is more interesting to make a piece of technology.”

”For me, the collaboration was not so much taking Nike materials, but taking Nike intelligence about athletes. I started with the idea of making an object that was like the shoes – very, very light with minimal materials, and I brought this carbon, which is kind of rigid and then it becomes flexible. It is honestly the first time anyone has made a carbon object that has flexibility and rigidity in the same sheet.

We met with Nike biologists, Nike trainers, even talked to athletes and found out what the key issues were. One is how much fluid they lose, so there is a weight sensor in three corners so if someone is in a game, they get weighed at the start and then every time they come in and out of the game we can record their weight, so we know how much fluid they lost. The other thing is there are temperature sensors at the back of their legs and arms where there is no uniform, so we can take their skin temperature.

Then all these heat things are related to Peltier clusters which we can put electricity through and selectively heat and cool, so we can bring the core temperature of an athlete down by cooling their spine and stop them from cramping up by heating their calves and thighs.

So the whole chair becomes a heating and cooling surface, that takes away moisture and cools them down, then the whole perimeter is an air diffuser that has pumped air in so it is like this environment, or incubator.”

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