The "Tranquility Chair" Is Designed To Make You Feel Less Alone — But Does It Work?
Everyone needs a hug from time to time, and now a Japanese company has figured out a way to provide you one via a particularly cuddly chair. Yes, I said chair. Designed by UniCare, the “tranquility chair” is a bizarre seat that boasts a life-sized fabric doll with a smiling face and extra long arms that wrap all the way around its user in a human-like (albeit significantly more creepy) embrace.
The chair was recently unveiled at the International Home Care and Rehabilitation Exhibition in Tokyo, a three-day event showcasing innovational products designed to assist people living alone. So what exactly is the purpose of this, er, unique item? The company behind the invention, UniCare, reportedly designed the tranquility chair as a means to bring comfort, particularly to the elderly and individuals who don't live with other people. "It makes you feel safe. Anyone can use it, but it is designed for older people," a spokesman explained, per AFP.
According to TIME, a quarter of Japan’s population is currently over 65. But that number is only growing, as is the number of seniors living alone in the country. UniCare is hoping to lift the spirits of members of this demographic with a series of products all meant to help combat loneliness. In addition to the chair, the company also recently debuted “Life Rhythm Dolls,” which are programmed to remind their owners to go to the bathroom and take their medicine.
As for the chair itself? Here's what it looks like:
OK, maybe I’m just a baby, but I can’t help but think that this chair is the last thing I’d want in my house, especially if I was living alone. I know it’s meant to be comforting, but I can’t help but find it more than a little creepy. It’s just so big and look at that face… I almost half expect it to pull an Annabelle and come to life. Plus, I’m not sure that a chair can really be all that comforting, long arms or not, but then again, I guess I've never tried to seek comfort from a piece of furniture.
The real kicker though? While you would think they’d make the chair affordable, given its purpose to help people feel all warm and fuzzy, this piece actually costs a whopping $419. Hugs these days sure can be expensive. So much for helping people.