Infiniti's zero gravity seats are inspired by weightlessness
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This month marks the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing, an event that sparked a technological innovation revolution. To this day, we continue to benefit from space-race advancements, many of which have improved our own health and wellbeing.
Ever since NASA successfully landed a man on the moon on July 20, 1969, space travel has contributed to the development of modern-day technologies with breakthroughs in computerization, the development of advanced materials and composites, and even innovations that can improve our health.
One such example came from Adam Kissiah, a hearing-impaired engineer employed by NASA at the Kennedy Space Center, who developed the first cochlear implant technology in the late 1970s.
Dissatisfied with traditional hearing aids, Kissiah drew on the technical expertise he learned while working on NASA's space shuttle program, inventing a surgical implant that didn't simply amplify a sound's volume, but made sound clearer. Hundreds of thousands of people around the world suffering from profound hearing loss have since benefitted from this space-age device to enhance their hearing.
Another space-race development that we often take for granted is the memory foam mattress. An engineer working on the recovery system for the Apollo command module developed and fitted temper foam to NASA airline seats, improving the probability that occupants could survive a crash. This safety innovation now helps millions sleep better at night.
Comfort has also made a small step – or giant leap – in our everyday lives with INFINITI's advanced Zero Gravity seats. Featured in the QX50 luxury midsize crossover and Q60 sports coupe, these seats are designed to maximize comfort on longer drives. Mike Colleran, Division Vice President, Global Marketing and Sales Operations, and Deputy MC-Chairman, said: "Inspired by the feeling of weightlessness in space, INFINITI's Zero Gravity seats attempt to replicate the experience felt by astronauts in zero-gravity conditions."
Understanding the science behind the development of zero gravity is vital in understanding the benefits of a comfortable driving position. "INFINITI drew on findings from a joint study with Tokyo's Keio University," added Colleran. "We worked with the team at the university's Yamazaki Laboratory to measure our seat design against NASA's own standards for neutral body posture. It's a space-age development which has trickled down into INFINITI's cars, helping us to fundamentally alter the design of our seats to emphasize spinal support and comfort."
The research* sought to achieve the neutral spinal position that the human body assumes when in weightless situations, according to NASA standards – a natural posture that places minimal stress on bones and joints. INFINITI's Zero Gravity seats benefited from this research, with bespoke ergonomic shapes and foam densities that match the true curvature of the spine. The result is a seat design that helps maintain a natural, comfortable driving position.