WHITLEY, United Kingdom — Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is tagging itself onto the wellness movement with the development of a new seat designed to tackle the health risks of sitting down for too long. The pioneering, ‘shape-shifting’ system could point to a future where wellness features become commonplace in motor vehicles.
The ‘morphable’ seat, which uses a series of actuators in the seat foam to create constant micro-adjustments which trick the brain into thinking it’s walking, has the potential to be tailored to each individual.
By simulating the rhythm of walking, a movement known as pelvic oscillation, JLR says the technology can help mitigate against the health risks of sitting down for too long on extended journeys.
The initiative is part of a wider strategy by JLR which revolves around improving customer wellbeing through technological innovation, to better align itself with the future consumer — one that is increasingly prioritising the health of itself and the wider world. Previous projects have included research to reduce the effects of motion sickness and the implementation of ultraviolet light technology to stop the spread of colds and flu.
“The wellbeing of our customers and employees is at the heart of all our technological research projects,” commented Jaguar Land Rover Chief Medical Officer, Dr Steve Iley.
“We are using our engineering expertise to develop the seat of the future using innovative technologies not seen before in the automotive industry to help tackle an issue that affects people across the globe.”
Not alone in recognising the growing desire for manufacturers to adapt everyday environments to enhance health and wellbeing, other carmakers including Ford, Mercedes-Benz and Hyundai have also been developing ways to infuse wellness features into their automobiles.
Last year Ford debuted new Lincoln SUVs equipped with extra-large windows and sunroofs, in a bid to bring more elements of nature inside their cars. A massage function on the driver’s seat and an upper thoracic toggle to reduce neck strain on longer drives were also debuted. Kia, meanwhile, introduced a car with the ability to detect a driver’s emotional state and then alter in-car lighting and scent to improve their mood.
According to a report by CB Insights, “the technology was developed in partnership with tech startup Affectiva, which offers emotion and object detection AI for monitoring vehicle passengers. It anticipates a not-too-distant future in which autonomous cars ferry passengers to their destinations while drivers can enjoy emotion-aware spaces that become more like wellness pods.”
As we reported in our 2020 Consumer Wellness Trends Report: with today’s consumer expecting elements of wellness to be present and easily accessible across every environment – a world where work, rest and play are underpinned and connected by it — this revolutionary idea is sparking a new breed of hybrid spaces that are redesigning not only the buildings of the future but vehicles too.