Tech Watch: Liquid Printed Seats
BMW, MIT Self-Assembly Lab envision a future where air capacity is the only barrier to more comfortable seating.
The organizations have come up with a liquid printed inflatable material that can be customized to just about size or shape depending on the amount of air pressure applied. Its pneumatic controls allow the printed structure to transform into a variety of shapes, functions or stiffness characteristics.
The material is the product of two years’ study between BMW and MIT and is showcased at the U.K.’s Victoria and Albert Museum as part of the exhibition “The Future Starts Here,” which explores the power of design.
The technology has seven independent air compartments and has a “robotic-like” transformation, notes Martina Starke, head of BMW Brand Vision and BMW Brand Design at BMW Group.
“This adaptive material technology points toward a future of transformable surfaces for adaptive human comfort, cushioning and impact performance,” Starke says. “There is no need to lock the car of the future into any particular shape. Interiors could even take on malleable,
Starke says the material forecasts a time when the vehicle’s “front” and “back” seats are no longer binary options.
General Motors Co. says it hopes to claim equipment and inventory from a bankrupt interior trim supplier to avoid being forced to idle all 19 of its U.S. assembly plants.
In two hours or less, you can create fairly sophisticated animations from your CAD system's solid models so that people who know nothing more than how to use Microsoft Word and PowerPoint on their Windows-based computers can better understand a part or assembly design
Several years back, one of the authors visited a major North American assembly plant engaged in the launch of a new vehicle program. A "ramp-up" schedule was prominently displayed on a bulletin board deep in the heart of the plant. The schedule indicated that the day of the visit was the same day the plant was originally planned to achieve full capacity production of its new product. Yet the plant was actually producing only a few units an hour! The assembly plant's tardiness is certainly not uncommon, but did contribute to our interest in the wide range in vehicle launch performance across major vehicle firms.