1997-02-24

Design Parameters for Comfortable and Safe Vehicle Seats 971132

This paper discusses design parameters for automotive seats intended to simultaneously meet three design objectives: comfort, safety, and health. (“Health” refers to long-term spinal support and vibration attenuation.)
For comfort, various ergonomic and human factors considerations are discussed ranging from seat dimensions and adjustments to cushioning and occupant perceptions of comfort. For safety, the principal consideration is the effectiveness of the seat in providing spinal support during accidents-particularly in rear-end collisions. An additional safety consideration is the ability of the seat to keep an occupant “in position” during an accident. Finally, for health concerns, the focus is upon maintenance of spinal stability, seat ergonomics, and road induced vibration attenuation.
The paper presents design parameters satisfying these design objectives. These parameters include seat dimensions and their adjustments; cushioning for vibration suppression; fabric design to help maintain occupant position during periods of high acceleration; back rest strength for thoracic and lumbar spine protection; and head rest geometry for cervical spine protection.

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