This office chair will let you speed around the office at 20 MPH

The Office Chairiot Mark II has turned an ordinary piece of furniture into something quite awesome.

Let’s face it, sitting behind the same desk in the same chair can get a bit boring after a while. But what if that same chair could whiz through the office at 15 to 20 miles per hour? That’s exactly what Maker Andy Frey sought to accomplish.


In essence, the Office Chairiot Mark II is a motorized IKEA Poäng chair that uses some off-the-shelf scooter parts like wheels, axles and batteries to roll around. The second-generation gadget is comprised of three parts: the chassis, the control panel and the chair itself.

One of the primary parts of the chassis is its motor controller, which enables a rider to navigate in between cubicles with a single, user-friendly joystick. The twin engines are computer-controlled through a Dimension Engineering Sabertooth 2×60 controller capable of 60 amps per channel. The chassis is based on an Arduino Mega 2560 (ATmega2560) that can be controlled via a handheld remote, which is tasked with receiving data from various sensors for motor, power wire and ambient temperature, as well as wheel RPMs and accelerometer information. The Arduino takes commands from any number of remote controls over its UART and translates a simple protocol of characters and bytes into motor commands, RGB LED and relay control.


What’s more, the NASA-like, aluminum control panel is comprised of over 30 switches and buttons, a few displays, and a master switch. Each of the devices on what the Maker calls an “over-complicated” console are controlled by a second Arduino Mega (ATmega2560).

Frey even packed the office vehicle with LED lighting for its headlights, turn signals and undercarriage. To really round out the design, he added an audio PCB, an Adafruit Class D Audio Amplifier and an MP3/SD card breakout board to give the office vehicle some sound effects, which range from flatulence to car alarms to horns. These can also be customized by simply placing an MP3 on the SD card.


The Chairiot’s firmware was designed with simplicity and safety in mind. The remote needs to ping the onboard Arduino twice a second; otherwise, the unit will stop dead in its tracks and turn off the lights.

“I am very busy eating up all of my spare time writing the firmware for the command console. It’s written in C++ using embeddXcode+, an amazing piece of Xcode add-on/tweaking engineering that allows you to build AVR/Arduino firmware using Apple’s very excellent Xcode IDE,” Frey notes.


Most recently, the Maker plugged an Xbee wireless receiver board into the chassis’ DB-15 connector, which is now capable of handling commands over the air and thereby replacing the cable. The wireless remote is built around an Arduino Pro (ATmega328) and powered by a LiPo battery thanks to SparkFun’s USB LiPoly Charger.

“I like [Arduino Pro] for quick builds because I can program them using the Atmel AVR ISP Mk II programmer. I don’t need the Arduino bootloader at all, which also means I don’t have to have an on-board USB port when I don’t need it. This Pro is running at 8 MHz and only 3.3V to match with the Xbee board.

Thinking about souping up your desk chair? Frey plans on making his schematics, code and CAD drawings all open-source. Until then, you can read about his build here and watch it in action below.

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