Weekly Innovation: A Seat That Fits In Your Pocket
If you're traveling this holiday season, you'll inevitably be doing a lot of standing around.
Whether it's standing in an airport security line or waiting at a crowded gate, it would be nice to take a load off in the midst of the travel rush. Better yet, pulling a "seat" out of your back pocket sounds pretty convenient.
The Danish company Mono+Mono recently introduced the Sitpack, a compact seat shaped like a monopod that literally fits in your pocket when folded up. The product has raised over 812,000 kroner (nearly $137,000) on Kickstarter with three days to go in its campaign.
Folded up, the Sitpack is 6.6 inches tall and 2.6 inches in diameter. To extend it, the user must pull out both sides of the horizontal seat and pull down on the monopod. Sitpack is height adjustable and can extend to about 34 inches. The seat itself, when extended, is 13 inches in diameter and supports up to 286 pounds.
Creator Jonas Lind-Bendixen says the idea for the Sitpack came four years ago, when he was waiting impatiently for a band to take the stage at concert. He realized that people are often left standing for long periods of time, leading to an aching back and legs.
"I've been doing sports most of my life, and through the sports I've accumulated various small injuries in my knees, back and so forth," Lind-Bendixen says. "All this waiting that you expect when you go to watch sports, go shopping with your girlfriends or travel. You wait for several hours at a time, which can be quite uncomfortable."
The final product will be made entirely out of the same type of plastic used in bulletproof glass and some Legos. When sitting on the device, the user must keep her feet on the ground. Some balancing is involved, but Lind-Bendixen explains it doesn't take much effort and supports correct posture.
"If you take a normal chair, ... 25 percent of your body weight from the legs (down) is on the ground," he says. "So 25 percent of your body weight is not on the seat. And with the Sitpack because you're so high it's more like 60 percent of your body weight on top of the Sitpack, so you don't sit with all of your weight on it. You move all the small muscles, and you can keep your energy levels higher especially when you wait three hours in the same spot. You can use it and stay more energized throughout the day."
But we've all heard that too much sitting is bad for our health. So why would we want to enable our urge to take a rest?
"It is better to stand up than sit down," Lind-Bendixen acknowledges. "But the thing is for how long is it better to stand up? When you stand up for a long time it's inevitable that your lower back will start aching. Your body is tired and gravity does take its toll on everybody, so you need to sit down at one point. This kind of bridges the gap between sitting and standing all the time."
He says, based on responses on Kickstarter, people see a variety of uses for the Sitpack.
"We have people from Japan, from China, from Australia, people who hunt, people who are watching their kids play soccer every Sunday," Lind-Bendixen says. "People with chronic illnesses who see the product as a huge value for them."
Lind-Bendixen says the developers plan to have the product ready for sale by April. Sitpack will sell at an estimated $50 to $55.
Samantha Raphelson is a digital news intern at NPR.org. You can reach out to her on Twitter.