TOKYO (AFP) – There are times in everyone’s life when only a hug will do. Now one Japanese company has come up with a chair that’s always ready to give a comforting cuddle.
The “tranquillity chair” is built in the shape of a larger-than-life fabric doll with a friendly face and a fetching hat, but more importantly, it has long arms that wrap around the user in an affectionate embrace.
“It makes you feel safe. Anyone can use it, but it is designed for older people,” said a spokesman for UniCare, which is selling the chair, at the International Home Care and Rehabilitation Exhibition in Tokyo.
Around a quarter of Japan’s population is currently over the age of 65, a figure expected to rise to 40 per cent in the coming decades.
The chair is priced at 46,000 yen (US$419) and there is also a version adapted for wheelchair users.
Alongside specialist vehicles, beds and toilets on display at the three-day show were a variety of unusual products designed to lift the spirits of older people, who increasingly live on their own.
UniCare’s “Life Rhythm Dolls” are programmed to remind their owners to take their medicine or go to the toilet at certain times of day.