From an article written by “Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science” (DBIS), in conjunction with the American Institute of Physics.
Comfy Car Seats
After sitting in a car for long periods of time, your car seat can become your worst enemy, causing so much discomfort that you can't wait for the trip to end. A new kind of car seat is designed to put comfort back in your ride. Alan Rowley is used to driving for long hours, but long road trips turn painful. "Say, 30 minutes into my trip, the lower part of my back starts to hurt," Rowley told Ivanhoe.
Like many drivers, he does what he can to relieve the pain. "I fidget a lot in the car from side to side to try and get more comfort," Rowley said. Most driver fatigue is caused by the seat. Long road trips put constant pressure on the lower back and hips, causing pain. Adjusting the seat or moving around helps, but pain relief is only temporary.
Chiropractor Paul Phipps, D.C., helped develop a seat that moves for you. "While you're driving over a 30-minute period, there may be 15 small changes in the position of the seat, and we effectively redistribute your body weight, alleviating the stress points and making your drive much more comfortable," Phipps, of Comfort Motion Technologies in Anderson, Ind., told Ivanhoe. The technology is called vehicle seat multi-position. It's technology that works during your drive, automatically making subtle movements in the seat position, gently relieving pressure points on the back, enhancing blood circulation and reducing muscle fatigue. "What that does is it creates a cycling, kind of a loading and unloading of the spine with pressure, and so as it unloads, the tissue has a chance to recover," Phipps said. "You don't fatigue any one tissue for too long."
The system can be integrated into existing power seats. Tests show the high-tech seats had a 45 percent increase in comfort -- something Rowley could really use. "I'd like to have a seat that was ergonomically correct and designed for me," he said. It's personalized design for a relaxing ride. Comfort Motion Technologies hopes to have the seat technology available for 2011 model cars. The system is turned on and off by the driver.
Read a PDF about Discoveries and Breakthroughs Inside Science TV