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Ford Looks to Office Chairs for Inspiration

November 21st 2011

Time and time again I talk about ergonomics in these blogs and for good reason. The problem of back pain and chair related injuries is on the rise, but it may not be just the office world that needs to wake up and take note. The average driver in America apparently spends 101 minutes driving a daily, with 50% of those claiming that they suffer from back pain.

These startling figures have made Ford wake up and start thinking about how they can do their part in the fight for ergonomics and in particular ergonomic chairs. By basing the new design for their seats in the Ford Escape, on ergonomic office chairs, the team think that this is a positive step forward in the automotive industry.

"The office chair industry is one of the major industries we're looking at in terms of construction, materials and durability," spoke seat comfort engineer Mike Kolich. "If you look at the advancements in office chairs from the 1960s -- when luxury meant big, puffy cushions -- to where they are now, with thin, ergonomic chairs that still feel luxurious, it's definitely a major change in the way seats are designed." Having said this, Ford hasn't used the typical U shape that we most commonly use in office chairs, but have made the back support into a V shape. The reason for this is that Ford claim that this shape will help support a larger number of body sizes and with Ford's new feature of "DNA seat" is tailored to conform to customers in multiple markets.

Mike Kolich also explained that it was once thought that Europeans preferred the ergonomics over comfort and the Americans preferred comfort. However recent research has discovered that actually the both groups of people are looking for the same characteristics and that is the reason for the new seat that claims that it is 10% lighter than its predecessor in the older Ford Escape models.

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