This Smart Chair Keeps You Warm (or Cool) at Your Office Desk

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Working in an office is kind of like living in a Katy Perry song—“You're hot then you're cold.” Chances are your co-worker has set the thermostat too high, or too low. Instead of picking a fight with them (or wearing a sweatshirt in June), try the Hyperchair on for size.

FastCo Exist recently highlighted the smart chair, which was developed by scientists at the Center for Built Environment at the University of California-Berkeley. The Hyperchair’s fabric contains heating tape that warms your body and tiny fans that provide air flow. You can adjust the settings via buttons on its side, or through a smartphone app. This way, you’ll stay toasty (or cool as a cucumber) without affecting the room’s overall temperature. The Hyperchair is also equipped with Wi-Fi and temperature sensors, allowing it to respond to external workplace conditions.

Studies show that women are more likely to feel cold than men—and that most offices are over-air conditioned, thanks to a decades-old formula for setting temperature that's based on the average man’s metabolic rate. If you’re a woman, the Hyperchair might help you stay warm in a frigid work environment.

However, the chair's benefits extend far beyond personal preferences. By customizing your own temperature, the building can spend less money—and waste less energy—on heating and cooling expenses. According to Digital Trends, Berkeley researchers tested prototypes of the Hyperchair in 2013 at the college’s library. They found that they slashed energy costs by 50 percent by turning the chairs on, and the thermostats off. 

The Hyperchair is currently manufactured by Personal Comfort Systems, an Oakland, California-based startup that focuses on low energy design and technology. They retail from around $1000-$1500 each, and will eventually be available for individual orders.

[h/t FastCo Exist]