Lear Corporation Displays Innovative Transgenerational Seat in 'Secrets of Aging' Exhibit at Boston Museum of Science

Mar 31, 2000, 00:00 ET from Lear Corporation

    BOSTON, March 31 /PRNewswire/ -- Lear Corporation (NYSE:   LEA) is loaning
 its innovative TransG (for transgenerational) seat designed for the maturing
 population as part of the Secrets of Aging exhibit that opens on April 1 at
 the Boston Museum of Science.  The exhibit runs through September 4 before
 continuing its six-city U.S. tour.
     (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000331/DEF024-a
              http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20000331/DEF024-b )
     The TransG seat was part of the TransG concept vehicle designed by
 international automotive supplier Lear Corporation in response to the
 question:  Will tomorrow's vehicles be user-friendly for an active generation
 of baby boomers who eventually will begin to experience the physical effects
 of the aging process?
     In 2005, 1.7 billion baby boomers worldwide will be over the age of 45 and
 66 million Americans will be over the age of 55 (21 percent of the US
 population).  As these baby boomers mature, they inevitably will face varying
 degrees of physical limitations and will need to find ways to adjust to the
 aging process.  Will those maturing boomers find future vehicle interiors
 functionally challenging or almost unnoticeably enabling?
     "Lear took on the challenge of developing future interior features and
 functions that are stylish as well as user-friendly to this large and
 influential segment of consumers," said Jim Masters, President of Lear's
 Technology Division.  "We actively solicited consumer input, applying the
 lessons learned from Lear's three-year research and development study.  The
 TransG was created to showcase the many innovative interior features that Lear
 can offer automakers for future models to attract maturing boomers."
     TransG is designed so everyone -- from the smallest or youngest to the
 largest or oldest member of the population -- is accommodated in their choice
 of features in an interior of tomorrow.  Transgenerational design also offers
 a large amount of flexibility and choice to the consumer to meet a variety of
 lifestyle needs.
     To help designers better understand maturing boomers' needs as they age,
 Lear developed a consumer research program codenamed the Masters(TM) Study.
 Lear's Product Analysis Group assembled a consumer panel of males and females
 aged 50 to 70, with an average age of 65 years.  Four consumer studies helped
 define the program, starting with studies on ingress/egress, seating
 adjustments, four-point seat belts and even display colors.  Five focus group
 studies and a Lear-organized two-day seminar on "Designing Vehicle Interiors
 for the Mature Driver" augmented the Masters Study.
     "We created the TransG concept vehicle with an array of innovative seat
 system features specially designed to accommodate and enable maturing baby
 boomers," said Marilyn Vala, Lear Manager - Comfort and Convenience, who was
 involved in the research and ergonomic design of the TransG.  "While boomers
 intend to maintain their active lifestyles, they also must learn to adjust to
 the normal physical changes that occur with aging.  The TransG seat systems
 and other features include transparent enablers that are both stylish and
 easier for everyone use."
     The powered rotation seat swivels outward, presenting itself at a
 45-degree angle -- indicated by the Masters participants as the best angle for
 entering and exiting a vehicle.  The leather-trimmed seat provides less
 friction and makes it easier to slide into and out of the seat.  Beyond seat
 design, the lower step-up height and virtually flat load floor of the TransG
 interior concept enhance ease of ingress and egress.
     Once seated, the occupant uses the TransG's power system to swivel the
 seat into driving position.  The comfortable six-way power seats feature
 built-in memory, power recliner, power cushion lift and power headrest,
 operated by wireless seat control switches.  The Backcycler(TM) lumbar system,
 temperature controls with seat cooling and heating, and inboard armrests also
 offer comfort.  Seat and door armrest heights have been engineered for optimum
 comfort and convenience.
     Instead of moving the seat fore or aft, the TransG's instrument pod moves
 toward the driver from its most forward location to a memory position
 programmed by the driver.  At the touch of a button, the accelerator, brake
 and dead pedals also traverse toward the driver to their preferred position.
     Lear's research also underscored that safety is another important area for
 maturing adults.  Safety features on the TransG seat system include seat
 cushion restraints, inflatable air collar restraints, side bolster air bags
 and four-point, all-belts-to-seats restraint system for enhanced occupant
     The four-point belts are easy to reach and buckle.  Occupants simply slide
 their arms through the belts positioned on either side of the seats then grasp
 and latch the buckle using both hands.  This belt system secures occupants
 more uniformly in the seat and is more comfortable because it doesn't cut
 diagonally across the chest.  An air collar integrated into the seat belt will
 inflate to protect the head and neck should a crash occur.
     To prevent occupants from sliding forward during a sudden impact, Lear has
 incorporated a cushion restraint device under the seat cushion.  When
 deployed, it raises the occupants' knees to keep them from sliding out under
 the seat belts.
     A group of science centers led by the Museum of Science in Boston created
 The Secrets of Aging exhibit, a unique and compelling exploration of what
 today's science tells us about growing up and growing older.  The exhibit runs
 from April 5 through September 4 (Labor Day) at the Museum of Science.
     More than 3.55 million visitors are expected during the Secrets of Aging
 exhibit's six-city U.S. tour.  The other stops on the U.S. tour include: COSI
 Columbus in Columbus, Ohio, for an October 2000 opening; The Science Museum of
 Minnesota in St. Paul, Minnesota, in April 2001; California Science Center in
 Los Angeles, California, in October 2001; The Franklin Institute of Science in
 Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in October 2001; and Fort Worth Museum of Science
 and History in Fort Worth, Texas, in April 2003.
     Lear Corporation, a Fortune 200 company headquartered in Southfield,
 Michigan, USA, is the one of the world's largest automotive suppliers, with
 1999 sales of $12.4 billion.  The company's world-class products are designed,
 engineered and manufactured by more than 120,000 employees in over 300
 facilities located in 33 countries.  Information about Lear and its products
 is available on the Internet at www.lear.com

SOURCE Lear Corporation