The chair is designed to let you grab on the ergonomic arms with your hands or push with your legs against parts of the chair. You have to apply enough pressure for a certain amount of time. Not only does it require pressure from your arm or leg muscles, it also strengthens your core. The company showed off the chair at the 2015 International CES, the big tech trade show in Las Vegas this past week.
“You could be watching a movie and burn calories instead of just passively sitting, which is really unhealthy,” said Viktor Kalvachev, chief creative officer and designer of the Tao Chair, in an interview with VentureBeat. “You can exercise as vigorously as you want. We want everyone to go out and run, or swim or bike. We know after you get home from work that you’re tired. You should at least burn calories while you sit.”
There are 50 exercises you can do. You can even play mobile games using the app. A display on the chair’s arm shows you exactly how many calories you’ve burned in a session. It’s like a tiny gym in your living room, Kalvachev said.
Last year, Tao-Wellness showed off its WellShell prototype, a cellphone-sized mobile exercise device that you squeeze with both hands. The Tao Chair builds on that idea of using your downtime to get healthier. You can press with your legs, hands, or arms.
I tried it out and burned a few calories in just a few moments. The exercise is tough, but it isn’t so distracting that you can’t do something like watch TV at the same time.