Tech in Action: Procure sits down in the fight against prostate cancer

An NFC-enabled chair helped drive micro-transactions for the charity.

World Cancer Day was on Feb. 4, and a Quebec non-profit has found a new way to keep up the fight against one of the most common forms of cancer in men: sitting down and taking a break.

Working with prostate cancer charity Procure, Rethink Montreal came across an insight about men: 80% of them keep their wallet in their back pocket. Given that 20% of cancer cases among men are of the prostate – which happens to be located not too far from that back pocket – the agency took the opportunity to create a chair that could help raise funds for the cause just by sitting in it.

The seat of the chair has an NFC contactless payment system (the kind typically found at a retailer’s payment terminal) embedded in the seat. Every time someone sits down on the chair, it can automatically take a small payment from an NFC-enabled debit or credit card in a wallet that may be inside the sitter’s back pocket.

The activation does allow for people to choose their donation beforehand, and sit-donors were also directed to Procure’s website to potentially increase their donation, or become a recurring monthly donor. It also accepts tap payments from phone, for those too busy to take a seat.

Laurent Proulx, chairman of Procure, says the chair is a fun and intriguing way to raise awareness for a type of cancer that remains taboo for some men, as well as drive “micro-donations” for the charity, which are specifically helpful in reaching new, younger donors.

The chair had a brief run in Montreal; for future promotions, the chair will be brought to other places Procure will be looking to engage with new donors, such as sports and awareness events.