The Touch of Space 宇宙の手触り's profile

The Touch of Space -space chair report-

The Touch of Space - space chair report -
Date : October 21-30, 2022
Location: Tokyu Plaza Shibuya, Japan

Various items surround our daily lives on the earth. But we should be unable to use such items in outer space because they are created based on the principles on the earth. Optimum design for outer space should be different from those on the earth. Our project, "The Touch of Space", aims to redesign various products and services that we are familiar with, replacing the place in which they are used from the earth to outer space. Thus, acquired knowledge on differences between them may allow us to understand a bit about what outer space is like. As our first product, we displayed a prototype cinema chair with genuine classic foods  - a cola and a popcorn-for outer space next to a typical cinema chair with those foods on the earth.
Viewing chair for outer space
A chair for viewing in zero-gravity space, which is envisioned for a day trip to outer space for a few hours in about 20 years, is designed for highlighting a leisurely view of the Earth from inside the spacecraft, just as one would watch a movie on Earth.
On Earth, we usually "sit" on a chair as a matter of course.
The act of sitting, which is taken for granted on Earth, is only possible because of the existence of gravity. 
In zero-gravity space, it is not possible to "sit” on a seat. In this environment, there is almost no physical fatigue caused by standing, as there is on Earth. This is because the muscles do not need to support themselves.
Is a chair really necessary in a zero-gravity environment?
The situation of a one-day trip to outer space brings to mind travelers who are unfamiliar with zero-gravity space (zero-gravity beginners). For them, swimming in the air sounds to be an exciting experience, but in reality, it is very difficult to move freely and enjoy swimming in the air  like an astronaut.
As shown in the video, in a zero-gravity environment, there is no way to stop a body in mid-air because of the law of inertia, and there is no way to stop a body that keeps spinning in mid-air. It is difficult to keep one's own body movements under one’s control. It is far from a graceful swim, and sometimes passengers may collide with each other. Holding one’s body on to the handrail all the time would be much safer ,but that alone is not enjoyable.
We have started designing the chair by reconsidering the meaning of "sit" in zero- gravity space as well as the necessity of a chair in the situation.
We have come to think  the meaning of "sitting" in space is not only fixing one’s body in a position in space but also providing psychological stability just like we feel comfortable in a chair on Earth when reading or viewing something. So, we believe we need a chair in outer space so that one can be physically and psychologically as stable as when sitting on a chair on Earth. 
This space chair is designed based on this consideration. 
In addition to the function of staying in a specific place, the system must also assist the passengers to move their bodies as they intend. We attempted to achieve these goals with the space chair by using the gyroscopic effect of the spinning wheels and the Lorentz force of the electromagnets. The chair is worn around the waist like a corset.
The animation: Issues in zero-gravity environment and the space chair as a solution.
Cola and Popcorn for Space
To keep colas and popcorns close by in zero-gravity space, it is preferable to keep them in a sealed container. This is because, like our bodies, they drift in outer space. 
Instead of treating this as a problem, we consider it as an enjoyable event.
Cola, which is a form of  liquid, has surface tension, and this keeps it in a spherical shape in a zero-gravity space. The inner walls of the cola container are coated with a water-repellent coating, and the cola bounces and drifts around inside the container. If the container is shaken violently and hits the inner wall, the cola spheres break up due to the impact, but then rejoin each other, or repeat the process of splitting and merging.The cola and its container, which behaves as if it were a living creature, are like the instruments of a scientific experiment. In the same way, grabbing a piece of popcorn, each one drifting freely inside the container,should be fun.
Different experiences of a cola and a popcorn will enhance your appreciation of viewing the earth from outer space.
Viewing chairs for on the earth
The Cinema Chair made by Kotobuki Seating is the most shipped viewing chair for movie theater use in Japan. Despite its limited use, mainly used inside movie theaters, it is one of a group of highly public chairs that everyone has probably sat on at least once in their lifetime.
The reason why this chair was selected from among many chairs and compared to the space chair was that the two chairs have similar uses: despite the difference in location (on earth and in a movie theater), they are the same, as they both are used to sit and watch something, the duration of being seated is close, and they are highly public.
The chair's construction features include legs that are designed to be fixed to the floor, a seat that folds down when not in use, and thick cushions. These features are the result of solving the conflicting issues of securing a large number of seats in a limited space while at the same time ensuring comfort. Other features such as the presence of food and beverage storage areas and red upholstery can also be seen.
The same group of chairs used for viewing is also used in theater halls. At first glance, the chairs for movie theaters and theaters look very similar, but there is a definite difference between the two. The armrests of cinema chairs are often 50 to 100 mm wider than those of hall chairs. In addition, the backs of cinema chairs are gouged, showing a remarkable consideration for those seated in the back. One reason for this result is the need for cinema chairs to provide greater flexibility in sitting posture than hall chairs. The longer viewing time of movies compared to theaters is a major factor in this, and the increased comfort will lead to differentiation from other theaters. We can agree that movies are more relaxing to watch than concerts. In addition, movie theaters with frequent "turnover" of patrons during the day require more reliable robustness.
Many will find this chair to be the epitome of a cinema chair. However, this may be limited to the present. At the dawn of Japan's cinema history, there were no chairs, and people sat on the floor to watch movies. In contrast, in the 1990s, cinema complexes appeared in Japan. This led to a trend toward greater comfort. There is now a trend toward more sophisticated and luxurious formats, including chairs with electric reclining functions. Thinking about color, many would expect red upholstery to be a typical color for cinema chairs. It is said that red upholstery was adopted and established as a color that would stand out in front of the curtain and would not interfere with the viewing experience once the lights were turned off, but in recent years, black, not red, has become the mainstream color. The shape and color of chairs, as well as the "way of sitting," have changed over time in accordance with the changing appearance of movie theaters.

Manufacturing and Sales of Exhibits by KOTOBUKI SEATING CO., LTD.
Cola and popcorn for on the earth
Many people are probably aware that cola and popcorn are two things that go along with watching a movie. When did this cola and popcorn, which make the extraordinary more palatable, appear in the history of movies? The relationship between cola and movies dates back to the 1900s. One of the reasons may be that cola manufacturers contributed to the popularization of movies as movie sponsors. Popcorn is said to have become popular in the U.S. after the Great Depression, when the country was in the midst of a recession, and its presence helped movie theater attendance. While these two are thought to have originated in the U.S. and taken root in Japan, it is interesting to note the cultural differences by region, as some movie theaters in Europe serve wine and cheese.
Product design: Yuichiro Tani
Science direction: Shiro Yamazaki
Graphic design: Maiko Higuchi
Animation: Taro Hirose
Photograph: Keita Otsuka
Cooperation: KOTOBUKI SEATING CO., LTD., Kamiya Sewing Co.,Ltd, M’s corporation, Yosei Kosuge, Tatsuro Nakanoko, Hiroyo Kobayashi, etc.
The Touch of Space -space chair report-


The Touch of Space -space chair report-