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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Hover-Chair Brings Senior Citizen Air Hockey One Step Closer To Reality

A Real Way to Hover 'Round The hoverchair can float up to 330 pounds around a room on a cushion of air.

Never at a loss for creative ways to make aging look like more fun than it is, the Japanese are developing an approach to senior mobility that's far more like a hovercraft than the mis-named Hoveround. Researchers there have engineered a chair that floats on a cushion of air, gently cruising above the floor like a puck on an air hockey table.

The prototype, designed by Tsunesuke Furuta and colleagues at Japan's Kobe Gakuin University, can be fitted with a performance-style car seat as well as a zabuton -- that's a Japanese-style floor cushion -- and reportedly can corner with ease while transporting a 330-pound payload.

The research team at Kobe Gakuin is looking for a commercial partner to help develop their hover-chair. In the meantime, you can see it in action below.