Auto Seats for comfort and speed

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Saturday September 27, 2003

We've come along way since the back-breaking bench seats of the 1960's, but manufacturers are continuing to develop automotive seating systems designed to maximise comfort and safety for the large number of drivers who spend many hours at the wheel each week.

Recent developments in the area include the Vital Seat concept introduced by Brose at the International Motor Show in Frankfurt that features an electronically-controlled function for massaging the back, and the Leap automotive seat system from Johnson Controls that utilises technology developed for office chairs to conform to body shape and seating position.

Designed to give maximum versatility through extensive adjustment possibilities and comfort functions, the Vital Seat concept provides options for seat length, height, tilt, backrest and headrest position plus a power lumbar support and - this must be the killer app - an electronically controlled function for massaging the back.

Another innovation is the seat pan which gently rotates horizontally to relieve pressure on intervertebral discs and relax the back muscles.

First unveiled at the 2003 North American International Auto Show in January, Johnson Controls' Leap Automotive Seat System incorporates technology developed for the Leap high-performance office chair from Steelcase.

Leap's innovative seat architecture includes the "Live Back" system that contours to the individual without adjustment, literally changing shape to conform to your upper and lower spine.

The "Natural Glide" system enables change postures without affecting the driver's reach or field of view - the seat bottom glides forward the seat back reclines so that your position is maintained.

A pivot feature also optimises comfort by replicating the natural pivot point of the human body.

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