Feb 2, 2016 | By Alec
Many experts have predicted that we could be seeing the first commercially viable 3D printed wearables in 2016, but we believed that the first result would be a bit more modest than the Archelis. Developed by a team of Japanese researchers with the goal of supporting surgeons through large and complex procedures, the 3D printed Archelis is a wearable chair that provides support to your muscles when standing – also perfect for people who stand around on sales floors all day.
It’s function is reflected in its name, as Archelis literally means walkable chair in Japanese. It has been developed by a team of specialists from Yokohama-based mold factory Nitto, Chiba University's Center for Frontier Medical Engineering, Hiroaki Nishimura Design and the Japan Polymer Technology. Remarkably, it looks nothing like a chair, and more like a leg brace. Featuring a number of flexible carbon sheets that that have been 3D printed through Stratasys support, the Archelis crawls around your legs and buttocks and is held in place with Velcro strips and hook and loop closures. It’s designers say it provides all the support to your legs that you need, without being uncomfortable or hindering you in your daily activities.
Obviously, a wide range of people could benefit from the Archelis, and everyone who has ever worked a double shift behind a cash register knows exactly why. However, the Japanese researchers say that it is primarily focused on surgeons, who often have to stand very still for hours at a time while making life-threatening incisions. Fatigue is very dangerous during such procedures, and even a few 3D printed braces could do wonders, they say.
On their website, the team quote surgical professor Kabira Hiroshi from the Chiba Frontier Biomedical Engineering Center, who said it could make a huge difference in his procedures. A specialist in laparoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive surgery that relies on accuracy, the Archelis could make all the difference. “Being capable of ‘walk-sitting’ on Archelis relieves the burden on the muscles for a long time, and can be considered an improvement for a stable operation environment. As a sector relying on a half-sitting posture, we can definitely feel the potential of the Archelis,” he says.
Of course, this isn’t the first wearable chair concept. As regular readers of tech blogs might have nticed, the Swiss startup Noonee is also working on the Chairless Chair, which essentially does the same with the help of hydraulic power. Seemingly relying just on clever design and the power of 3D printed parts, the Archelis seems to be a bit simpler and therefore more effective.
Nonetheless, both could definitely help those people unable to sit down during work hours. While people stuck in office cubicles are told to walk more, a few micro-breaks could greatly reduce fatigue for those people stuck standing all day. The Japanese designers also recognize that other groups can definitely benefit from their concept, and if it works for doctors it will certainly work for the rest of us too. It’s expected to be released some time during the coming summer, but it is currently unknown if this means an international release too.
Posted in 3D Printing Application
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