If it were just slightly more convenient to perfectly adjust a chair, we’d all embrace ergonomics with open arms. So that’s what researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute are hoping to achieve with a newly developed car seat that trades random knobs and levers for the simple swipe gestures you already use on your phone.
Developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC and Isringhausen GmbH & Co. KG., the ergonomic seat is actually designed for use in commercial vehicles where drivers spend a long time at the wheel, but often in different trucks. Ergonomics are particularly important for these long-haul professional drivers, but they rarely have the time to perfectly adjust the seat before they hit the road.
As you can see, or not see in this case, the side of the seat is devoid of manual controls. Instead, the synthetic seat covering hides a series of sensors underneath that are able to detect the presence and motion of a human hand. To start the adjustments, the driver needs to briefly press on a specific region to activate the system, which helps prevent it from being accidentally triggered later.
To move the seat forward or back, adjust its incline, or increase or decrease its thigh support, a driver simply needs to make broad hand motions across the entire side cover. It’s no different than swiping on a smartphone’s display, but with more exaggerated motions. And once a seat has been perfectly adjusted, that setting will be automatically stored and can be accessed later by cycling through a series of settings. That way if multiple drivers share the same truck, getting the seat back into the perfect position for their shift requires just a few quick taps, instead of having to start the entire process over.