Intuitive, chair-based computer interaction using your legs.
The Limbic Controller enables people to control functions on a computer screen and in VR intuitively with their legs, while using their hands as usual.
Move intuitively and hands-free through Virtual Reality (VR).
Just like in real life, use your legs to navigate through VR while your hands are free for work and games.
For the first time since the office revolution, our bodies are productive.
Increase your productivity by delegating tasks like panning, zooming, or scrolling to your legs.
More complex tasks can also be done, like CAD, modeling, and controlling complex objects.
Our Limbic® Apps for the controller target productivity and performance, measure and interpret activity levels, mental focus and emotions.
As the world is becoming more complex, intuition is becoming as important for success as rational thinking.
In this context, it is our goal to enable people to interact with the world using the full potential of their brains, rational and emotional, and their bodies.
That's why our design process starts with the function of the human brain and body, rather than from the function of the object.
The Bigger Context
The industrial revolution made production more efficient by concentrating the location of production sites and of the workforce, by rationalizing production processes and by delegating some of the work to machines. Like in the agricultural world, workers were using their bodies and their brains to perform their work.
The office revolution relieved a large part of the workforce from the physical stresses of factory life, but it also took something away from us: the use of our bodies in a productive manner at work. In the office, the use of our bodies is limited to our hands and our faces, while the rest is being underused. Back pain and the need to go to the gym are just some of the side effects.
As machines were becoming smarter, they started taking over tasks our brains used to perform. Those were mostly menial, non-inspiring tasks at first, but they became more complex and demanding, as the machines were getting smarter.
The rapid development of AI
With the rapid development of AI, machines are expected to perform very complex creative and emotional tasks that ten years ago, only a human could do.
Our goal is to re-connect the rational with the emotional brain and give people back the use of their bodies so they can better meet those challenges.
A major toll modern office jobs are taking on us is that we don't use our bodies anymore as a productive part of work, all we use is our faces and hands.
Neglecting our bodies not only causes back problems and other health issues, it also deprives us from the things our bodies can do for us, as a means of communication, action, and self awareness, by using body-intelligence.
Body-intelligence summarizes the functions our bodies can do (semi-) autonomously, without much conscious input from the brain.
Body-intelligence does not interfere with 'brain-intelligence'
A good example is locomotion: we don't have to think of every step we make, we just walk, run or bike wherever we decide to go, our bodies computing the necessary steps autonomously.
Our body-intelligence is so sophisticated that we can even walk through cities while texting on our phones without too much effort.
This is because our peripheral vision is connected to locomotion and vection (moving about and moving) while the focus point of our eyes is connected to our hands and the parts of our brains that do reading, computing, and planning.
Limbic, 'intuitive' intelligence
Like body-intelligence, there is another ancient part of our nervous system that does many complex tasks autonomously and helps us cope with complex situations, the limbic system.
The limbic system is a network of different brain regions that connect our ancient, emotional brain and intuition with our modern, rational, high-performance brain.
It helps our brain better adapt to complex situations by enhancing or attenuating the activity of select modern brain regions, to help us focus, be more attentive in difficult situations or in new environments, or by influencing how fast information is transferred to our long-term memory.
Our mission and our methodology
Our goal is to re-connect the human body and its intelligence with the rational and emotional brain of the limbic system for people to use all their faculties when interacting with the world, the real world, 2D on computer screens, and the 3D virtual world.
Our approach to reach these goals is to design by form follows limbic system and body-intelligence rather than form follows function.
We base our design process on mental states
The design process for the Limbic® Chair started by us asking people for their favorite mental state. We asked people of all ages, and we asked them for their favorite mental states for working, relaxing, meditating, playing games, watching movies, etc. The answer was always very similar: weightlessness, feeling light, feeling free, feeling focused and safe.
We then investigated how tactile and proprioceptive inputs (="touch and movement") could be used to generate these states and constructed the Limbic® Chair around these principles.
Proprioception is deeply connected to mental states
Proprioception, the sense of relative position and movement ob bodyparts, is the oldest sense we have and therefore most deeply connected to our emotions, which via the limbic system influence our modern brain.
This connection is threefold:
1. Our emotions and mental states are most reliably expressed through posture and movement,
2. Posture and movement influence our emotional and mental states, and
3. We can recognize other people's emotional- and mental states most reliably by analyzing their posture and movement.
Controlling devices via body movements
Once the chair was working, we asked how one would intuitively use their bodies to compliment the input actions of the hands when interacting with computers, drones, virtual reality, etc.
Observing and experimenting with people from ages 7 to 77 lead to the Limbic® Controller, a Limbic® Chair equipped with sensors.
All of a sudden, people could do convenient functions of their daily interactions with computers using the chair, allowing them to work faster or easier, as there was less stress on their hands.
The effortlessness of sitting straight and the additional mobility also lead people to exercise in the chair, or for their bodies to follow their thoughts and activities.
As the touchpoints were chosen in a way that they would create 'incentivized movements,' movements of happiness, we investigated how posture - and, connected to it, emotions - could be measured and influenced by the chair.
Controlling 3D environments with 3D body movements
Another big breakthrough we observed was navigating in virtual reality, VR: Like in real life, our legs would move us about while our hands were free to work. The same principle reversed applies for moving objects on screen or in VR for CAD and other design environments.
This works so well because of the separate neural systems for hand-eye vs. peripheral vison - leg coordination mentioned above.
The multiple uses and potentials lead us to think of a system of Apps that could be used with the chair, similar to the apps on smartphones.
We are now equipped to tailor such apps to specific customer's needs.
In summary, we have created a simple, chair based motion system that integrates body movement into the workflow on screen and in VR, and that also allows for monitoring of activity and emotional states.
For the first time since the office revolution, our bodies are useful again at work.
Watch our TEDx talk: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pGiqq12mdUs