Talk to the Chair: Ford Patents Voice-activated Seats
Apparently, the increasingly complex array of buttons on the side of a modern driver’s seat has become too much for humans to process. There’s just too many ways to adjust our seating position (though not in this writer’s car).
What if, instead of pressing buttons and switches, we could bark orders or use a touchpad? That’s the future Ford envisions.
In a U.S. patent dated June 26th (kudos to the intrepid Bozi Tatarevic), Ford Global Technologies offers a solution, though it’s up to the reader to determine if it’s even an improvement over what we have now. Many of us aren’t flummoxed by a power driver’s seat, even if it’s a 30-way wonderchair.
Ford’s patent utilizes a voice input device and touchscreen input device working in unison with an adjustment actuator to control seat movements.
Because “seats are being developed and offered with increasing numbers of moveable portions with increasingly complex or nuanced movements,” it can be difficult to bundle the buttons and switches into a physical control array “in an intuitive manner,” the patent reads.
Ford’s solution allows a user to initiate a seat movement with either a voice command or touchscreen input, and to stop the movement in one of the same ways. Choosing the nature of the seat movement (its adjustment mode) can also be a verbal exchange.
Ford claims the patent offers a hands-free way to adjust seating position, and would incorporate features to limit seat movement “based on occupant safety.”
Needlessly complex, or just the ticket for a cushy ride? You decide.
[Image: Steph Willems/TTAC, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office]
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