Toyota wants you to be perfectly comfortable, though, so the Japanese company has come up with a shape-changing seat to suit everyone who sits in it.Toyota is calling its clever seat the Vody. The shape changing is made possible by replacing the solid back of the seat with 300 elastomer blocks, each of which has an actuator allowing it to move. In its current form, Toyota needs to ask the height of a passenger and visually check their body shape. That information is entered into a computer controlling the Vody and the adjustments are made.
In future, the body and height assessment will need to be an automatic system if it is going to work in a vehicle. Height and body shape could be determined by a camera as a person approaches the car, although assessing people as they sit down would be the best solution. Toyota is currently aiming to transfer the body check to a smartphone app and then linking the app to your car. That way each seat can quickly adjust after identifying your preferences via the phone in your pocket and your location in the vehicle.
Toyota is also hoping that Vody can not only be comfortable, but also an aid to relaxation. As you are sitting in a Vody seat, “finger pressure” is applied to the different areas of your back. This is meant to relax your body as well as providing relief from fatigue. Hopefully it doesn’t relax you so much as to promote sleep.
One area not catered for in Vody is the lower half of you body. The shape changing only occurs for your back, not your backside and upper legs. Hopefully this is something that gets added to the next iteration of the seat.