Office chairs don’t get much respect these days. People are on the road, chairs get forsaken for standing desks and some get left in weird spots, looking out of place. But now, Nissan has decided to do something about it. Working with furniture manufacturer Okamura, the Japanese car company took the mechanisms used in its self-parking cars and adapted them to make self-parking chairs.


Nissan describes the work in a news release:

The “Intelligent Parking Chair” is a unique chair that automatically moves to a set position. The chair includes a roller to automatically move 360 degrees paired with a system that indicates the target position. Four cameras placed on the room’s ceiling generate a bird’s-eye view to wirelessly transmit the chair’s position and its route to destination.

how it worksHow the self parking chair works. (Photo: Nissan)

With this innovation in office technology, Japanese businessmen are now freed from the troublesome task of arranging chairs, using this new technology already adopted in the X-Trail Hybrid and other Nissan vehicles.

parkingOh, it's about the car. Darn. (Photo: Nissan)

Alas, it's all a promotion to show how good the self-parking mechanism is rather than a real product — and that's a real shame.

The Intelligent Parking Chair is a promotional project that materializes Nissan’s corporate vision of “enriching people’s lives through technology.” This concept aims at increasing knowledge around the latest technology adopted by Nissan vehicles, while showing how this is slowly changing our daily lives.

Here's how the chair was made, with subtitles:

It's disappointing. This should be a real product.

Think of the implications. There are so many offices managed by crazy obsessives who demand that every surface be spotless and everything in its proper place. Imagine if at the end of the day, they could just clap their hands and suddenly the office would be perfectly neat. It would be one less thing for the poor salaryman to worry about.

Wall-EIt's not a big step from there to here. (Photo: 'Wall-E' screen shot)

But these could also be dangerous and subversive. It’s not a big step from this to the chairs prophesied in "Wall-E" where nobody ever has to get up because the chair takes them everywhere. We’re seeing this already; there was a scandal not long ago when it was discovered that 80 percent of scooters paid for by Medicare went to people who didn’t need them, and that people “who use scooters unnecessarily can become sedentary, which can exacerbate obesity and other disorders.” Just imagine if you didn’t have to get up from your chair to hit the vending machines or to go out for a smoke.

Then again, perhaps the chair could be part of a healthier routine, controlled by your boss to roll you back to your desk when the coffee break was over and dump you out of it when it's time to stand instead of sit. It will not only monitor you like the OccupEye chair we showed earlier, it will also take you to where you should be working, get you to meetings on time, and when you finally get that pink slip, it will dump you onto the street. The possibilities are endless!

Lloyd Alter ( @lloydalter ) writes about smart (and dumb) tech with a side of design and a dash of boomer angst.