U.C. Berkeley’s innovative hyperchair solves office problem
BERKELEY, Calif. — If you’re at work right now, you’re probably too cold. Or too hot. If you have a working thermostat nearby, there’s a good chance that it’s the thing you disagree about most with the person sitting next to you.
It seems like an intractable problem, because people inherently prefer different temperatures. A 2015 study found that women get cold much more quickly than men. (It also pointed out that most offices still use a decades-old formula for setting temperature that’s based on the average man, which is why men are a little more likely to be comfortable.)
A new solution takes a different approach: By heating and cooling an office chair, it’s possible for everyone to adjust their own temperature without affecting anyone else. “It’s all about heating your body, not the room,” says Peter Rumsey, CEO of Hyperchair.
The Hyperchair, developed by researchers at the Center for the Built Environment at UC Berkeley, uses heating tape woven into the fabric of the chair to warm someone up the way a heated car seat does. If someone’s too hot, strategically placed fans wick body heat away. You can adjust the temperature by pushing a button on the side or through a smartphone app.
Photo courtesy of UC Berkeley