It’s no secret that we spend so much time in the car. As cities grow and commutes get longer, we have every reason to be satisfied with and even look forward to the comfort that our car seat cushions can and should provide. The design of car seat systems is so sophisticated for infants and young children, so it is wise to take the same care when designing our perfect drive.
Ergonomics and car seat cushions —a lasting partnership
The ergonomics of car seat design are a constantly updated vehicle feature since the Ford Model T was introduced nearly a century ago. The invention of the car took humans as a society into a whole new dominating pattern of movement—sitting.
Up until the beginning of the 20th century, we traveled by horse, horse and buggy, and even long distances on foot. Our bodies were built to travel nomadically using our feet and the introduction of sitting truly transformed a seemingly simple but profound aspect of our anthropology.
According to the Ergonomics experts at Cornell University, now an estimated 50% of humans in the industrialized world are suffering from a back pain epidemic that is directly related to the shape and form of the seats in their cars. So you can see why it is pretty clear that ergonomics is such a bustling industry when nearly 50% of drivers are in pain, AND they really have no option but to drive to function and thrive in modern society.
When you go car shopping, it is no wonder that the car seat abilities make up such a dominating section of the listed features and benefits. I spend about 8+ hours per week in my car and that adds up to a full work day, so it makes sense for me to invest in features that provide lasting comfort week after week. It’s nice to know there is an entire industry of research and development providing me with lots of options to install comfort, support, and safety right below my bottom.
Advancements in car seat design
The main goal of car seat design is to provide support, comfort, and safety. At the turn of the millennium, most of the folks we know have a car and some may even claim theirs as a status symbol to symbolize their hard work and hustle. Most cars that have emerged in the past decade and a half will have car seat features that customize the driver’s experience. People can experience cushion warmers, seat cooling features, and lumbar support to keep their low backs as happy and temperature-controlled as possible.
You will find seatback cushions to provide lumbar support that inflate or deflate upon changing the controls. Some seats even conform directly to the shape of your anatomy. If you have been able to splurge on a car in the $50-60K range, then your vehicle may even come with climate control built right into the seat. Yes, that’s right—air conditioning for your front and your rear. Additionally, many car seats nowadays can conform the shape of you helping to reduce physical fatigue while driving.
Even though today we are exposed to booming industries like robotics and droid technology, it wasn’t until 1997 that an intelligent car seat was even introduced by Cadillac to the modern world. The invention of the smart seat is only 20 years old and probably younger than the readers of this article!
FitBit culture inspires the car seat of the future
If you have ever spent time driving in Los Angeles or Manhattan, then you understand the roots and reasoning behind the term ‘road rage’. Uber drivers and long distance commuters can speak to this louder than most, but now there is even a solution being generated to address traffic-induced stress that occurs right in your car seat.
Faurecia introduced an Active Wellness concept seat that captures your biometrics from right behind the steering wheel. It measures heart rate, respiration, blinking frequency coupled with head-tilting, and many other factors. When you begin to nod off from long periods of driving, it can shoot a blast of cold air or change the ambience in the environment to keep you awake and alert. When LA traffic on a hot Friday afternoon seems to be the worst way to end your week, the Active Wellness concept seat wants to provide 5 different massage programs to ease your pain and sense that you may need a quick shot of AC to perk up your drive.
Seats like Faurecia’s are still being tested and are currently not on the market yet for luxury vehicles. They seem to be the main solution for those who will one day operate self-driving vehicles but have concerns about too much comfort and the safety issues built in. This makes sense if you no longer have to worry about the wakening effect of slowing down for stopped cars, using blinkers, or changing lanes.
When you’re driving in an exhausted state, those extra responsibilities coupled with loud music or cold nighttime air can keep us alert until we make it home safely. The thought of car seat warmers, massage chairs, and ambient lighting is already making me sleepy…
Save energy costs even if you don’t own a Prius
The heating and cooling car seat cushions like Viotek’s add a variety of features to your car that can really help you reduce the amount of gasoline required to power the air conditioning and heating that you use in your car. Think about it: when the seat heater gets nice and toasty, it seems like overkill to have the heat blasting too which we know guzzles our gas. The same goes for cooling car seats that pull sweat away from your body. The air conditioning can take a break while you stay cool in your seat.
The Viotek Tru-Comfort Climate Controlled Auto Seat Cushion uses a power cord to connect right where your cigarette light would go allowing you to save the gas for what it should be used for–driving. It has a remote control feature that can cool or heat your car seat instantly, which is very adaptable in states with four seasons. They also have a cooling version only for those who live in sunny weather year-round.
We have all had the sensation of sizzling our backsides from car seat leather soaked in summer sun. I know I have definitely had a spare towel to provide a barrier when the sun is just ruthless in late August. But what about when your seat heater does the torching?
The National Institute of Health recently cited in a car seat warmers review that a paraplegic gentleman was driving his car without realizing that the seat heating feature was switched on. He later realized that he had severe burns on his hip that needed to be treated, causing an industry-wide concern to place indicator lights in more standard places.
It seems wise that our technology in this product category is gearing up towards the intelligent on and off switches. Additionally, the safety features that are highly tested and incorporated into the car seat accessories offered from a company like Viotek are proven to make sure that electric leakages or short circuits will halt the system to prevent any injuries for the driver or passenger.
Car seat comfort right in time for summer road trips
As I mentioned before, some of the high-tech car seats are strictly limited to luxury vehicles in the $50K price range or higher. We can all agree that no one wants to burn their backside on a hot leather seat. Even if your car seat cooling feature isn’t built in, there are still opportunities for you to add the extras to your car that were not there when you originally drove it off the lot.
Viotek’s Tru Comfort Temperature Control Cushion System provides heating and cooling for your vehicle. The second generation is a six-layer system that offers lots of different features and it is very easy to install. It comes equipped with 10 temperature zones that will adjust to your preference using a portable, hand-held remote.
Viotek utilizes moisture-wicking technology to pull sweat away from the body and keep you cool and chafe-free. The fan enclosure is as quiet as a whisper and only adds to the cooling technology. The intelligent temperature control ensures consistent comfort in any type of weather, and it makes it easy to switch from cooling to heating.
The seat is a standard size that fits into most vehicles and is offered in a range of 4 different color options. The synthetic leather is soft, sustainable, and feels great against your skin. It has the connectivity you need and powers right into your cigarette lighter. The CLA also includes a USB port so you can charge your phone while staying super comfortable in your car. The system runs for a very affordable $169.99 which is quite the deal for what would normally be priced way higher in a luxury vehicle.