22 July 2020 16:31
And honestly, it never made much sense how gamers--a relatively stationary bunch--could benefit from seats that are designed for the relentless pressure of high speed driving. So Herman Miller, purveyor of the ubiquitous Aeron office chairs, teamed up with Logitech G for something different: A fully customizable seat for gamers that looks like something a mad scientist would own. Behold, the $1,495 Embody Gaming Chair. There's a reason office workers fall over themselves to nab them--the company has been around for 115 years, and in that time it's developed some iconic products like the Eames Lounge Chair. The Embody Gaming Chair is the company's first product geared towards the Twitch generation.
And since it's not exactly known for staying on the pulse of gamers, Herman Miller worked with Logitech to learn more about how esports players actually sit. The result is an evolution of Herman Miller's existing Embody line: A chair with seven points of calibration; the ability to adjust to your posture and spine position; a natural tilting mechanism; and copper-laden foam to keep you cool. Head-on, the Embody looks like many other sleek office chairs. Unfortunately, I haven't had a chance to try the Embody Gaming Chair just yet. Herman Miller and Logitech G are also rolling out a family of gaming desks, as well as the Ollin Gaming Monitor Arm, which can help rid you of your ugly monitor stand.
It's clear that Herman Miller is ready to go all in on gamers. Alongside the $1,495 Embody Gaming Chair, the Motia Gaming Desk will go for $1,295, while that monitor arm will cost you $295 (practically the cost of another monitor). You can nab the products at Herman Miller or Logitech's sites starting today. Gone are the days when gaming was considered a basement hobby; now it's a professional sport with multi-million-dollar prizes, sprawling endorsement deals, and dedicated technology, apparel and accessories. As such, Herman Miller—the 110-year-old producer of home and office furniture and equipment—partnered with Logitech to produce a suite of elevated gaming-focused furniture. The launch begins with the tech-forward Embody Gaming Chair, an evolution of Herman Miller's beloved office chair that's made from 42% recycled materials and is 95% recyclable when discarded. "When we started talking to Herman Miller," Ben Yu (head of marketing for Logitech's gaming arm, Logitech G Series) says, "they were using our same laws and concepts of wanting to use technology to solve problems, and putting science and engineering first and foremost in terms of design. We started identifying problems within the gaming space and it made sense for us to partner together both from a value perspective and from the need perspective. Our mission is to combine the best of both worlds—Herman Miller's understanding of seating and ergonomics and our [Logitech's] understanding and expertise in gaming—to bring the next generation of high-performance gaming furniture." High-performance gaming furniture tests the average consumer's, and even casual gamer's, imagination. But, the collaborative team of Herman Miller designers, Logitech engineers and video game experts formulated a sports science-like approach to posture, performance and prolonged support. Logitech and Herman Miller furthered the decades of research and development that went into the standard Embody Chair and applied it to the habits and demands of professional gamers: how spinal alignment contributes to split-second reactions, how blood-flow enhances your decision-making abilities and beyond. Many base their chairs on a "race car" style, meaning a gamer is seated back with their legs jutting forward and their gaze up, as if they were looking a quarter mile ahead. But Herman Miller's gaming lead, John Campbell, explains that a gamer should actually be upright with their gaze angled down. "We're actually looking at the video game player as a traditional athlete. To cater to the gamer's entire body and emphasize flow, they apply a longstanding design theory developed by the furniture manufacturer. "The anatomical loop is a term that has been coined and trademarked by Herman Miller, and we've been developing this theory for five to 10 years now and plan to continue to develop it in the future. If familiar with traditional sports, it's this idea that proper alignment in your body can generate power. When the body is not aligned in the way that it should be, you lose a ton of power and your body is actually put in a weak position." Herman Miller's anatomical loop ensures that gamers are using their positioning as an advantage. Like motions in other sports, which rely on correct positioning of the feet through the head, video game players are quicker and more accurate in first-person shooter games or even strategy and sports games if their body is aligned ideally. "Your brain controls your body, but your brain isn't in your head," Campbell explains. Your brain actually ends in your butt, and you have to actually think about how to properly support your spine and hips so that you can get the proper function and performance out of your brain." The chair boasts seven points of calibration, 150 "pixels" on the back that reduce pressure and encourage "micro-movements," and unique technologies that adjust to a gamer's posture and natural spine shape. Whether you're pushing the arms in or out, bringing the chair's back in to hug your spine and encourage better posture or locking the chair in at a slight angle, the seemingly endless number of configurations provides flexibility and adaptability. As a gamer learns the ins and outs of their new chair, they can make changes depending on the game or keep the chair in the ideal setting more permanently. The ability to adjust the chair for maximum comfortability isn't a new concept, though—especially for Herman Miller, a brand that's incorporated customization in their designs, to varying degrees, since their inception. "We decided that we have to start with the highest performing chair within our portfolio and focus heavily on setting and redefining what performance actually means for gaming, and no other chair is better to do that than Embody," Campbell says. We took a lot of our findings from that research and looked at posture and at the way that a gamer sat and how they focus on the screen. We were actually able to modify Embody in a way to better suit gamers' needs, to continue to push technology, and the performance we get out of Embody, even further and have it be more authentic for the gaming market. Herman Miller's gaming teams took time to visit the hubs of several Logitech-sponsored Esports teams, watching as players' made adjustments to their positioning, gaze and angle mid-match. "I think of track and field as the best analogy," Campbell says, referencing the fact that one-size-fits-all chairs and accessories are contributing to the shortness of professional players' careers. That doesn't make any sense, and I think that's where we're at today with gaming. But, we have a lot of education and we have to shift our thinking about the chair to think of it as performance gear. I see a time in the future where you walk onto the stage with your mouse and keyboard; you're going to walk on stage with your chair, like, 'This is mine'—because it is performance gear specifically for you." The Herman Miller x Logitech G Embody Chair is available today, 22 July, for $1,495. Images courtesy of Herman Miller / Logitech G