Volvo's Inflatable Child Seat Concept Fits in a Backpack

Illustration for article titled Volvo's Inflatable Child Seat Concept Fits in a Backpack

At one time the military actually tried to develop inflatable planes that were strong enough to fly, but easy to transport. Those never materialized, but the technology involved—a drop-stitch fabric that can be inflated to very high pressures—has enabled Volvo to create an inflatable child car seat that's just as safe as everything already on the market.

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Using a built-in silent pump, the can be fully inflated in less than 40 seconds at the push of a button. It can be deflated the same way, and when folded down can easily squeeze into a backpack. Ask any parent who's had to lug a child's car seat when flying, and they'll tell you that's a brilliant innovation.

At just over eleven pounds the inflatable seat is a lot lighter as well. And the electronics that control the air pump are Bluetooth-enabled, which means that you could, at least in theory, inflate and deflate it from a smartphone app.

At the moment Volvo has no plans of making the seat a commercially available product. Right now it's mostly a proof-of-concept from the company's research labs. But it's a great idea, and hopefully there will be enough positive feedback for the company to actually make it a reality—after exhaustive testing, of course. [Volvo]

DISCUSSION

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I realize these are sort of geared at flying, but, as a mom in a "car seat" situation, I think I would be more comfortable with the child in a hard plastic seat that can stand up to some abuse and won't be compromised by sharp objects. I also wonder, on a plane, what happens to an inflatable seat under fluctuating cabin pressure? Is there a chance this can malfunction during the inflation stage and explode? I wonder what the TSA and FAA would say about this.