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Wave goodbye to manual car seat controls with gesture tech

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It sounds a bit like an infomercial: Tired of using manual controls and levers to adjust your car seats? There's got to be a better way! And now of course there is, thanks to researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC. The researchers, in conjunction with Isringhausen GmbH & Co. KG, have developed a fully functional prototype that allows drivers to adjust a seat using only hand gestures.

The prototype will be unveiled next month at IAA in Frankfurt, and consists of a synthetic covering and a series of sensors. To start using gesture control a driver first needs to press a point on the seat cover to activate the sensors (this also prevents the sensor system from being accidentally triggered). A driver can then use broad hand gestures along the sensors to move the seat forward or back, adjust the incline up and down, or custom-set the incline of thigh support. The movements are said to be akin to the swipes on a smartphones display, but with more exaggerated motions. The individual settings are automatically stored and can be accessed later.

The gesture control system was developed for professional and long-haul drivers, who often sit for long periods of time in less than ergonomic conditions potentially causing back pain. However, the company expects other automotive markets to also show interest in using Jedi-like gestures to adjust their drivers seats.

[Image credit: Fraunhofer.de]

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