In the middle of a long trip, motorists often feel the need to “stretch their legs” to relieve stiffness. This requires stopping the car, getting out and walking.
But what if the same thing could be accomplished while you’re still driving? That’s exactly what Jaguar Land Rover researchers are proposing.
Pelvic Oscillation: Simulate Walking While Driving
The British carmaker is testing a “morphable” seat that uses a series of actuators to make micro-adjustments to the shape of a seat cushion.
The tiny changes are designed to simulate the rhythm of walking. Or to be more precise, pelvic oscillation.
How realistic is it? The process actually can trick a person’s brain into thinking they really are walking, JLR says. It also can be customized to different body types and individual needs.
Check out this video to see how it works.
Long Commutes Contribute to Sedentary Lifestyles
People have increasingly sedentary lifestyles. We’re becoming couch, office and car potatoes who don’t move around enough on good old foot power.
Sitting around isn’t good for your body. It can shorten muscles in the legs, hips and posterior. Not only does this make the gluteus less maximus, weakened muscles also put you at greater risk for injury from falls and strains.
If you’re thinking, “This doesn’t pertain to me,” think again. Inactivity is a global issue that’s a possible cause of concern for one in four people, according to the World Health Organization. That’s a ton of people (more than 1.4 billion of us)—not to mention couches.
Spending more time sitting in a car—the average U.K. driver now logs about 146 miles per week—doesn’t help. But JLR says its shape-shifting seat technology can make the ride more bearable and minimize the toll afflicted on your body.
Others have similar ideas. Check out how they’re tackling seat fatigue:
- Lexus kinetic seat concept
- Magna free-form seat trim
- Legget and Platt power-actuation
- Comfort Motion self-adjusting mechanism
Health Tips While Driving
JLR says it is committed to continually improving customer wellbeing through technological innovation. Recent initiatives include research to reduce the effects of motion sickness and using ultraviolet light to prevent cold and flu germs from spreading.
The carmaker also notes that its seats already are pretty comfy, thanks to ergonomic designs, multi-directional adjustments, and massage and climate control functions. And here are a few tips from the company’s chief medical officer, Dr. Steve Iley, on how to maximize your experience:
- Sit straight, aligning your spine and pelvis to better support your thighs and reduce pressure points
- Keep your shoulders flat against the seatback
- Remove bulky items from your pockets
Chrysler pioneered the modern-day minivan more than 30 years ago and has been refining and improving that type of vehicle ever since.
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