Comfort is important in sales of airplane and train tickets, vehicles and seats. This book consists of an overview of elements important for the design of comfortable seats. It supports managers, designers and engineers in designing seats to increase sales (by increasing comfort) and to reduce musculoskeletal complaints (by reducing discomfort). Light weight also gets some attention, which is relevant for airplanes and electrically powered cars. Both theory and practice in regard to comfortable seats are described. Examples come from BMW, Boeing, the future Flying V airplane, SNCF, Long Island Rail Road and Savas Seating. The reader is also introduced in using 3D scans, human body sensitivity and comfort research to optimize the seat design.
In research, comfort and discomfort are often measured. This is often done using questionnaires (Vink & Hallbeck, 2012). The number of studies with attention to recording the (dis)comfort of users of different products, services and environments by instruments is increasing. In a literature study of papers from 1950-2020 Song & Vink (2021) found 190 studies of which most were published in the last year. The most used measurements were temperature, anthropometrics, vibration and humidity. Vink & Hallbeck (2012) found 104,794 papers mentioning discomfort in 30 years’ time; Bazley (2015) studied 318 scientific papers with discomfort in the title in a period of 10 years and these papers concern mostly studies on physical human body interaction. These studies mostly use discomfort questionnaires to check the effect of an intervention. For instance, Groenesteijn (2015) studied the postural discomfort experience to determine the differences between two office chairs. Measuring comfort or discomfort by questionnaires makes sense, as it is a subjective phenomenon. Ideally, a measurement like pressure distribution, posture recording, facial expression and fidgeting is added to explain and check the questionnaire or interview outcomes or explain the outcome. However, measuring comfort or discomfort is not an easy job, as many factors influence comfort. In addition, our sensors are good in noticing differences, but not in absolute values. This means just asking is it comfortable or do you feel discomfort, often does not yield meaningful results. ×