Motorised Recliner for Stargazers


June 4, 2004

Dutch spectacle-maker Hans Lippershey is credited with the invention of binoculars in 1608, a year before Galileo Galilei introduced the first telescope and viewed the moons of Jupiter, Saturn's rings and the stars in the Milky Way. Almost four centuries and countless strained necks later, new discoveries about the make-up of the universe continue unabated and amateur stargazers have access to powerful optical equipment. Comfort solutions like the Starchair are another benefit of living in 2002. The Sky Rover Starchair is a motorised, joystick-controlled portable observation chair offering steady viewing through full 360-degree rotation and tilt from horizon to zenith.

Designed for use with large stereo binoculars and some telescopes, the Starchair supports binoculars from 80mmm up to the huge Fujinon 150mm in front of the seated observer. The unit breaks down into three pieces for portability so it can be dragged along to a remote viewing point in a small car and set-up in only three minutes according to Starchair Engineering. It's also fully adjustable to suit all body shapes and sizes and the gearing system ensures no slippage while traversing so that views remain stable.

The fun part is definitely the motorised horizontal and tilt functions. Driven by a 12volt dc power battery, Starchair features variable speed control at a top speed of eight degrees per second and provides automated slow pans around the area as well the ability to "find" any several thousand celestial objects via optional computer sky vector hardware.

Manufactured by StarChair Engineering in Adelaide, the Sky Rover Starchair is available direct from the manufacturer for US$3,950 plus freight.

About the Author
Mike Hanlon Mike grew up thinking he would become a mathematician, accidentally started motorcycle racing, got a job writing road tests for a motorcycle magazine while at university, and became a writer. As a travelling photojournalist during his early career, his work was published in a dozen languages across 20+ countries. He went on to edit or manage over 50 print publications, with target audiences ranging from pensioners to plumbers, many different sports, many car and motorcycle magazines, with many more in the fields of communication - narrow subject magazines on topics such as advertising, marketing, visual communications, design, presentation and direct marketing. Then came the internet and Mike managed internet projects for Australia's largest multimedia company, (Australia's largest Telco), (Australia's largest employment site),,, and a dozen other internet start-ups before founding Gizmag in 2002. Now he writes and thinks. All articles by Mike Hanlon
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