A Moveable Seat

Three reasons the Lexus Kinetic Seat Concept changes everything

Posted: Jun 3, 2017

Automotive fans generally tend to focus on a new concept vehicle’s exterior—after all, it’s the first thing you see, and it’s usually what makes the most powerful first impression.

In Lexus concept vehicles, however, it can be equally intriguing to look a bit deeper, because Lexus sees concept models as opportunities to re-envision automotive componentry, including those features many other automakers take for granted.

A case in point is the Lexus Kinetic Seat Concept in the Lexus UX Concept—unveiled at the 2016 Paris Motor Show—which reinvents an automotive seat's behavior as you drive—here’s how:

The seat is inspired by your backbone: One of your spine’s key jobs is to stabilize your head as you move—when running for example—by allowing your pelvis and chest to rotate in opposite directions (which is why you can dance the twist without moving your head). In the Lexus Kinetic Seat Concept, engineers captured this dynamic by designing the seat cushion and backrest to rotate with your body as the car moves (say when turning), which helps your spine perform its natural head-stabilization job, which in turn helps keep your field of vision steady.

Spider-man would approve the design: Inside the Lexus Kinetic Seat Concept, the frame replaces traditional upholstery with a spider-web pattern—a net that spreads out radially from the backrest’s center. This webbing essentially fits around your body shape, dispersing the load in a way that helps you sit comfortably for prolonged periods.

The seats are fortified with protein: In the backrest, the web-pattern threads are made from a new ecologically minded material—a synthetic spider silk—instead of petroleum-derived materials. Protein is the main component, which is created through microbial fermentation, then spun and processed into a strong-but-flexible material that helps deliver superior shock-absorption.

By Brian Gill