With the advent of self-driving car technology popping up in the news again and again, it was only a matter of time before we applied this concept to chairs. So now, because everything that pops into a manufacturer’s head needs to be made into a reality, Japanese automotive company Nissan has come up with a battery-powered, self-moving chair called the ProPilot. Check it out below!
As you can see, the ProPilot chair allows people waiting in line at grocery store checkouts and busy restaurants to move toward the front without moving a muscle. When the customer gets to the end of the queue, the chair moves itself to the back of the line so that others can hop aboard.
The pros of a system like this? Well, those with bad backs would ostensibly be capable of taking a load off while waiting in line (though it’s hard to see where people already in wheelchairs or motorized devices fit into the scheme of things here).
The negatives are easier to parse. Most Twitter users took immediate notice of the product’s similarity to the lounge chairs that usher the obese denizens of the post-Earth space-station from Disney and Pixar’s “Wall-E.” It’s a pretty valid comparison.
If we’re not actually impaired in any way, should we really be treating a museum like a tram-ride, as is shown in the demo-video? And what of the good that comes from the discomfort of standing in line? How many times have you decided not to make a stupid purchase while in line? This technology seems almost tailor made to trap people on a one-way consumer path. “Do I really need this candy bar?” would turn into “Getting this candy bar will probably be less awkward than throwing these automated chairs off balance.”
Watching the video of these chairs in action, we have so many questions — mainly, what if you’re the type of person who likes to stand? Will getting up before the end of the queue cause the whole system to go out of whack? Any fan of the 1980s robots run amok horror movie “Chopping Mall” can tell you, these things don’t always spell success. Like, things can go really bad when you integrate robots into the shopping experience (that said, we’ll be there opening night for Fear Chair if it ever becomes a reality).
And, with this being just the prototype, will we see other types of chairs? While the red director’s chair style in the video looks comfy, we’d certainly like to see this technology applied to a revolving row of La-Z-Boys, or even a couch for parties of three or more. If we’re going to be like those amorphous human blobs in “Wall-E,” we should at least do it right.