A soothing tryout in the seat of power

I sampled the Oasis seat's pleasures during a visit last month to Faurecia's exhibit at the Detroit auto show.

The Oasis, a self-adjusting concept seat, is designed to be the rear seat of a chauffeured stretch luxury sedan. So I imagined myself to be a globe-trotting CEO, or maybe a senior Chinese party boss, or perhaps the owner of my own dot-com startup.

Anyway, I'm in a hurry and I don't have the patience to monkey around with 22 seat controls.

After I sit down, a small camera mounted in the back of the front seat detects the location of my eyes and uses that information to estimate my height. The seat adjusts the headrest and cushion length accordingly.

Next, pressure sensors in the cushion calculate my weight, and the seat adjusts its side bolsters and cushion firmness.

Since I'm finicky, I tweak the seat by using a mouselike control panel in the left armrest. Then I settle back for my teleconference with my imaginary CFO, who appears in high-def glory on the screen built into the back of the driver's seat.

Fatigued by his financial report, I activate the back massage. I bypass the wimpy "moderate" massage setting (apparently preferred by American CEOs) and choose the "vigorous" setting typically favored by Asian execs.

Ahhhh. Wake me when we arrive at the airport.

You can reach David Sedgwick at dsedgwick@crain.com



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