- This space age chair was designed to celebrate the release of Starfield
- MailOnline is testing a futuristic game made using inspired NASA technology
For the gamer looking for the ultimate immersive experience (and relief from back pain!), this space-age chair may be the final frontier.
A seemingly unexpected collaboration between mattress company Tempur and Xbox, this one-of-a-kind “dream chair” is designed to celebrate the release of Starfield, a role-playing game set in the distant future.
With a design inspired by Starfield’s retro “NASA-punk” aesthetic, the bulky gaming chair may not fit into your living room, but it will feel right at home in the cockpit of a spaceship.
However, not only is the model space-age, it’s also made from a material originally used to cushion liftoffs aboard space shuttles.
The chair has briefly landed at Westfield Stratford this week, with MailOnline given an exclusive sneak peek to see if it lives up to its excellent reputation.
What is starfield?
Starfield is the first game published by Bethesda Game Studios – the team behind Skyrim – in 25 years.
It is a role-playing game set in the distant future.
Players can explore more than 1,000 planets in spacecraft they design themselves.
The game features detailed exploration, combat, foraging, and leveling mechanics.
Its developers say the extensive game can take between 30 and 60 hours to complete.
Upon first impression, the design of this gaming chair is really impressive.
In fact, it is more than just a simple chair.
Designed by Nichols Alexander—the team whose other notable creations include a 23-foot-tall (seven-meter) Jeff Goldblum sculpture—the entire arrangement is full of intricate details.
The chair sits in front of a spacious console, painted in the simple color scheme of the video game.
From the “engraved warnings” on the back of the chair to the dozens of switches and dials (which I was reminded wouldn’t do anything no matter how flipped they were), it was clear that real passion and care had gone into its creation.
The chair itself was smoothly pulled out from the console and absurdly large wraparound screen, before rotating out; A movement aimed at making access easier for users who are less mobile users.
Of course, as a lover of sit-down video games, I couldn’t wait to try it out for myself.
Despite the blocky, angular design, the chair was almost as comfortable.
The material seemed firm at first but soon seemed to soften while remaining quite supportive.
Control levers on the armrests control the chair’s movements, one for moving the seat back and forth and the other for reclining or sitting.
Although there’s no game to play on the huge screen, just a loop of gameplay footage, I was able to have a lot of fun moving back and forth, with the chair’s surprisingly fast motors whirring beneath my feet.
The Tempur foam pads that make up the chair’s construction conformed well to my back and — while it wasn’t exactly a shuttle landing — the foam absorbed all the impact of any sudden recline I attempted.
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Although it may seem strange for a company that sells mattresses, Tempur has a pretty good handle on producing an exact space chair.
In the early days of space travel, NASA faced a serious problem. The gravitational force from lift-off was too much for the astronauts to bear while sitting in regular chairs.
In the early 1970s, scientists developed an entirely new type of material consisting of billions of “high-density viscoelastic memory cells” that seemed to “exist between a solid and a liquid state.”
The material has a structure full of open cells that react slowly to body heat and pressure, conforming to the astronaut’s body by softening where needed and remaining firm elsewhere.
In the 1980s, NASA published the formula for this technology, which Danish company Dan Foam ApS adopted, creating the same Tempur foam from which the gaming chair is made.
The company was recognized by NASA for its achievements in popularizing space technology at a joint press conference in 1998 where founder Tempur introduced to NASA Administrator Daniel S. Golden is their millionth pillow.
So, can I say I’ve been experiencing 50 years of space technology? Or was the seat beneath me between solid and liquid?
This may be a bit of an exaggeration, but I have to say that this was probably the most comfortable gaming chair I’ve ever sat in.
With Starfield expected to take between 30 and 60 hours to complete, it will be very welcome to any player looking to get lost in space from the comfort of their own home.
It may not have actually taken me into space, or even outside a shopping centre, but it’s probably the closest I’ll get to weightlessness without leaving the M25.
Unfortunately, if you’re thinking about upgrading your gaming setup, there’s only one of these in the world and it’s not for sale.
If you want to try it for yourself, it will be at the TEMPUR Westfield Stratford store in London from October 9 to 29, after which the chair will go to the winner of a charity raffle.
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