Lexus spins an innovative car seat concept

Synthetic protein-based spider silk woven into web-like design

Published: September 17, 2016, 10:20 PM
Updated: September 22, 2016, 4:48 AM

Lexus Kinetic Seat Concept

Lexus Kinetic Seat Concept seatback

Lexus is envisioning standing room only at its display at the Le Mondial de l’Automobile in Paris, when it introduces a new seat concept to the public.

The Kinetic Seat Concept is a new way to look at comfort and support in a car, with the main surface design mimicking a spider web to help reduce overall vehicle weight.

The fabric is woven in such a way that threads spread out radially from a centrepoint, located at shoulder-blade height in the seatback and below the hips on the cushion.

Lexus Kinetic Seat Concept seat cushion

The web fits body shape closely, spreading the weight of the body to allow for long-ride comfort, while moving support where it’s needed as he body moves along with car movement, thus improving overall spine support and keeping the head steady during driving.

And the fabric is a synthetic spider silk, made from a protein rather than from petroleum-derived materials. The protein is made from microbial fermentation, which is then spun and processed into a new material the company says offers superior shock-absorption (again adding to long-term comfort and support while travelling in the car).

Lexus Kinetic Seat Concept hip support cushion pattern

The material is called Qmonos, and it’s the creation of Spiber Inc., a Japanese company that has experimented with 20 amino acids to create over 600 types of original proteins.

The material, now in its 10th generation (having gone through 656 designs) made its high-profile debut in the Moon Parka, an Antarctic-grade parka distributed by The North Face that was the first piece of clothing ever made from a synthetic protein.

Lexus Kinetic Seat Concept seat frame

Spiber envisions the fiber could go beyond clothing to automotive applications such as plastics, glass and even metals. The company projects market coverage valuing $2.5 trillion US in automotive applications, $2 trillion in outdoor apparel, and another $350 billion in medical applications.