Forget adjustable office chairs: the latest in ergonomic furniture could be a new take on the comfortable old couch — one that can order pizza, dim the lights, switch the music from country-western to rock and roll, and possibly change the way the quintessential couch-potato addresses comfort.
While still in its early stages of development, the “Smart Sofa” as it’s being called, a project of researcher Mads Haahr, along with students and scientists at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland, is fitted with programmable microchip sensors that can determine who is sitting on the couch based merely on a person’s weight. While the couch can currently only offer a welcoming and appropriate greeting to the sitter, Haahr and fellow researchers are hoping that in the future it could do much more.
According to a report on CNN.com, Haahr hopes that one day his Smart Sofa will also be able to switch on household appliances, set the temperature of a room to reflect the individual’s comfort level, alter the lighting and turn on the television.
“The greater context is that you can build functionality into computers that allow them to be part of everyday objects and help us in ways that we won’t even notice,” Haahr told CNN.
Aside from appealing to a comfort-driven society, Haahr is looking for the Smart Sofa’s technology to have a more assistive use as well. He’d also like to adapt the technology he’s using for the couch for use in other furniture to help disabled people, the elderly, and the staff at assisted-living facilities.