This certainly is the case with CoreChair.
A topic of conversation between games at a 3 on 3 basketball tournament, this team of myself, Ari and James, discussed how so many people seem to be taking an exercise ball to their office to replace their ergonomic office chair. As the conversation unfolded the consensus was that people know that they need to move. Clearly the ball is an excellent accessory in the gym and a valuable tool in the therapy department but not so good as an office chair. Wouldn't it be great if there was a chair that conformed to office activity in function and aesthetics that allowed for better postural positioning than a ball and movement to address this essential contribution to our general health?
The idea was born and the 7.5-year journey of product development began.
With a Kinesiology background and extensive experience designing seating solutions for persons dependent on wheelchairs for their mobility, I took the lead with no shortage of inspirational ideas from Ari and James and in time, David and Ken.
While the concept seemed logical and straight forward we quickly respected the fact that not only was adjustment for fit to individuals an important consideration but also the need to achieve a personalized range of movement.
The exercise ball generates movement by the simple fact that a ball rolls. From an engineering perspective, the movement that this creates is a point of pivot, at, or actually beneath the floor that it rests on. Our functional objective was to place the point of pivot immediately beneath the users’ center of sitting balance allowing for movement in all planes and effectively mobilizing the key joints of the hips, pelvis and spine.
While the idea seemed simple we were later to learn that sometimes things become very complex to accomplish a simple solution.
Prototype development began with very simple ball and socket/ trailer hitch function and then evolved to more sophisticated spring solutions and on to hydraulic driven complex designs before finally developing the patented solution that CoreChair employs to allow the user to move in a fluid motion up to 14 degrees in all directions.
Every step of the process was a learning experience that took on a whole new perspective as we involved Toronto based professional engineering expertise from Inertia Engineering and material and mechanical testing through Exova Labs.
Final concept designs required an incredible amount of detail that was aided by using CAD design software with computer generated modelling and finite element analysis to determine function, tolerance, economies of design and space.
Now with real world working prototypes we were ready to see if it achieved what we wanted it to.
Stay tuned for Part 2 of the journey.