To follow up on its famed Aeron office chair, Herman Miller gave its engineers a challenge: Create a seat that offers a custom fit for anyone, no matter how big or small, round-shouldered or straight-backed. The engineers’ solution was to construct the frame from dozens of small, flexible pieces that bend precisely to your contours.
The Embody’s colorful fabric seat hides a system of 94 plastic coils. Each compresses independently, allowing pointy bones or bulky wallets to sink in without causing nearby areas to sag. The designers also tuned the springiness of each coil based on its location. The coils under your thighs and the soft backs of your knees give easily so they don’t chafe; those under the bones in your rear, which bear most of your weight, are the stiffest. Plastic caps on top of the coils tilt in any direction to hug instead of poke your curves.
The backrest gets its support from plastic bars that are attached only at their endpoints. They twist to your shape, even when you move, and balance the load. The segmented structure lets the top of the backrest tilt rearward without shifting the lower area, so it can fit as many different upper-back arches as there are desk jockeys in need of some comfort.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.