Global Innovation


Innovative Arm Chair Offers New Ways to Exercise

By: Caroline Mullin, intern, AARP Office of International Affairs

Publish Date: February  19,  2013


Product name: GEWOS (Gesund Wohnen Mit Stil) or (Healthy Living With Style)

Use: Exercise and Monitoring Device through Arm Chair

Company: Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS)

Country/Region: Germany

Availability: Coming Soon (2014-2015)



A German contract research and development company, The Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits (IIS), has created a high tech “TV chair” that doesn’t just provide a comfortable place to sit, but also provides a chance to get a workout right from the seat of your chair! This innovative new product offers a variety of features including: high tech sensors built into the chair, which are designed to track vitals (heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, blood pressure, or body weight) plus the user’s weight distribution and a built in rowing mechanism that facilitates the workout. The monitoring sensors of this exercise chair send the collected vitals to either a smart phone, tablet PC or TV so that users will have instant access to their body’s performance during the workout, allowing them to monitor their health in an efficient and accessible manner. This data, accumulated over time with use of the chair, will allow a “virtual health assistant” to provide personalized training and fitness programs (through the smart phone, tablet, PC, or TV) that can be altered with time to adjust to progress made by the client. Now, users can be safe, doing the appropriate amount of exercise for their level of fitness and health.

The Fraunhofer Institute cites five goals behind the development of this product: “Preserve and support the autonomy of elderly in their own home, prevention through health monitoring and exercise encouragement, development of health promoting measurements sustaining a high degree of motivation, implementation of a holistic solution with intuitive user interface, high level of acceptance and attractive design, and enhance the quality of life and vitality [of ageing persons].”  This product will be of great use to people of all ages, but in particular the aging community. It will allow people to stay independent, but also stay healthy and give them easy access to exercise and feedback based on vitals and results from the exercise.

The chair is still in development, and is hoped to be released in the next year or so, with 2015 being the latest possible date for it to enter the market. It was tested at the Ambient Assisted Living conference in Berlin last year and got rave reviews from senior citizens who were able to test out the device. Feedback showed that out of the 100 seniors to test the product they preferred it over 15 other devices at the conference (GizMag). The company is working closely with senior citizens to cater the device to their needs, being that they are the target audience for this product. There are still more tests to be done with the product and with a little more fine tuning to make it the best that it can be, it will eventually enter the market for sale.