Visualizing the Science of Sitting

Visualizing the Science of Sitting

Gregory Han
Apr 21, 2010

The science of sitting. As it turns out it's a lot to do with blood flow to your bottom! Which I guess makes sense. Gretchen Gscheidle, who wrote the post and is a scientist and artist, has worked with Herman Miller on perfecting their designs for decades. She was reacting to a study published in the Chicago Tribune that found the "sitting too much could be deadly". Don't you love a newspaper headline?

In the 1990s Gretchen began using pressure map technology, "which visualizes what the seat and sitter interface looks like—and how it changes depending on seat construction and the posture of the sitter. These changes translate to comfort or discomfort for the user." It all sounds rather technical but the results have given us super comfortable chairs like Herman Miller Embody.

For Embody Gretchen commissioned researchers at the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago and Milwaukee's Marquette University, to measure "the amount of oxygen in the blood flowing to and from subjects' lower extremities and heart rate–key health measures. It turns out, both improved when users sat in the Embody chair, versus other chairs, doing the same seated tasks in both."

So, it is OK to sit. Thank goodness. Although, it's also probably a good idea to get up off that chair – at least once or twice a day. After all, you've got to eat lunch after all.

Originally published at Lifework by Cerentha Harris

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