SUNNYVALE, CA – Hot on the heels of the Japanese invention Archelis, a wearable chair designed to support surgeons as they stand for hours during surgery, Intuitive has announced the first chair made just for radiologists.
Studies have long shown that radiologists who sit for hours reading films are at high risk for developing pressure ulcers in addition to efficiency-crippling boredom. The new chair, called the WALLE is a sofa-like device that uses a pneumatic system in the cushions to slightly rotate the radiologist’s body every hour in order to prevent ulcers.
“You know, ulcers used to be a badge of pride among radiology residents. It was a sign that you were dedicated and driven, but they just don’t make residents like that anymore,” said Dr. John Davidson III, the head of the radiology department at Clemson University. “Nowadays, you can get sued if your resident sits too long and develops a pressure ulcer.”
The chair can also trigger vibrations to massage different parts of the sitter’s back and gluteal muscles in order to help them stay awake and stimulated during their long hours in the dark. But the most exciting feature may be the built-in Kurig that automatically provides coffee refills, a feature that Intuitive claims will increase productivity and procure savings for hospitals.
“Our observational field research showed that the average junior radiology resident gets up to get coffee or ‘stretch their legs’ once every 2 hours,” said Steve Westin, product manager for WALLE. “This interval decreases as they move up the ranks. Some of the attendings were getting up every 45 minutes to go on 10-minute coffee runs. WALLE would take away that excuse.”
Westin and his team says that this is just the first version of WALLE. Like the Da Vinci robot, they’re already working on future editions. There’s even speculation that they may be collaborating with Google glass to help radiologists better identify differences in pixel density.
Retailing at approximately $12,000 each, WALLE will go on sale this summer and will be offered in black and white fabric colors.