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Reducing sedentary behavior with the Balance Chair
2022 - 2023

Client: Personal project

Role: Product Designer, UX Researcher

Timeline: 8 months

Collaborators: Daniel Jonas, Woodworking Specialist; Kevin Patton, Program Advisor

Find yourself sitting for hours dismissing reminders to take a break - even just to stand and stretch? You need the Balance Chair, a chair that kicks you out for a quick stretch during the work day. I created the Balance Chair to help people move more during the day without having to think about it.

An afternoon using the Balance Chair 


Working without breaks and without standing takes a toll on mental and physical health

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, I had been working and attending grad school remotely. I pushed my physical limits by ignoring signals like eye pain, thirst, and calendar reminders to take breaks. In hindsight, I wish I had balanced my professional life with better attention to my physical and mental health by creating stronger boundaries between work and personal and taking a minimum baseline of breaks. I needed to counter my compulsion to keep seated, working without breaks, which was causing me physical and mental stress. 


I designed a chair that removes the ability to sit automatically creating a standing break

After reaching out to members of the Arlington community (the highest density of remote workers in the nation), I realized everyone that consistently took breaks had a special trigger, a dog that needed to be taken out. In lieu of a pet, I devised some ideas but settled on a chair that could not be ignored.

I prototyped the chair in several stages and learned a great deal about basic electronics and woodworking in the process. The final product is a repurposed chair outfitted with a linear actuator on a timer, which pushes against a "second seat", hinged to the main frame of the chair. As the linear actuator pushes on the seat the user is gently tipped out of the chair and into a standing position. 

The Balance Chair.png


Stay in flow and out of your seat

Introducing the Balance Chair -  designed for those who find it challenging to reduce their time seated during work. Say goodbye to the struggle of interrupting your workflow to stand up. With the Balance chair, you don't have to rely on calendar reminders anymore. It automatically lifts you out of your seat at regular intervals, allowing you to keep working while still taking the much-needed stretches your body deserves.

A flexible chair with even more flexible schedules

The chair offers the flexibility to adjust the intervals at which it lifts you, allowing you to personalize the experience to suit your preferences and work rhythm.

Active breaks without disruption 

The chair allows you to take active breaks without interrupting your work. It lifts you gently, providing a short pause to stretch, move, and refresh your mind, all while remaining in the vicinity of your workspace.

Quiet operation for teleworkers 

The Balance Chair is designed with a quiet motor mechanism, ensuring that the seat's movement is smooth and discreet.

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