Please Adjust Your Seatback

Sometimes small adjustments yield big results.

That’s the case with the technology developed by former Ventures intern Christopher Meyer and the team at Comfort Motion Global, an Indianapolis-based company that is making getting from here to there a more pleasant – and safer – experience.

Comfort Motion has developed software compatible with motorized car, truck or airplane seats that makes tiny, almost imperceptible, adjustments in seat position during a trip. Tests have shown those small adjustments mean less discomfort, reduced fatigue, better blood flow and improved driver alertness.

The result is a safer, less taxing travel experience.

While still an intern, Meyer started working with Comfort Motion in 2006, soon after graduating from Rose-Hulman with a degree in computer engineering but while still working on his master’s degree in engineering management. Back then, using members of a local service club as test drivers in a rented car, Ventures technicians conducted some of the company’s earliest tests. In those days, Comfort Motion was creating hardware to attach to existing auto seats. Soon, however, the team working on the project realized that approach needed to change.

“Fortunately, while still at Ventures, we came to the realization that we were not a hardware company,” Meyer recalls. “Our product was simply software. Existing seat control units could already do most of what was needed to implement the algorithm.”

Today, Comfort Motion licenses its clients intellectual property, patents and specialized knowledge, says Meyer, who went to work for the company full time in 2008. Meanwhile, years of hard work and determination are paying off. Mercedes Benz is installing the Comfort Motion system into its new cars this year and long-haul trucking and even aircraft makers are considering getting on board.

“Ventures gives students a chance to work on multidisciplinary, real-world projects that can benefit a lot of people,” Meyer says. “It’s much better than a senior project.”