Siemens has just been announced as the winner of this year’s Excellent Product Design Aviation, Maritime and Railway Award. The winning project is an innovative pendulum stand-up seat concept that could be the key to making your daily commute actually enjoyable. Among quite a few interesting inventions this year (Rocking Pig and Jungle Unchained naturally being our favorites), this one deserved the award as being the one with the greatest potential for commercial use.
Despite its name, the pendulum seat does not behave like a real pendulum; instead of swaying back and forth under the action of gravity, this adjustable seat can lock itself at two fixed positions. Each pendulum seat is actually made up of two seats with backrests that can swing up or down. When down, the pendulum becomes an atypical but practical train seat, and when up, it makes more space for standing passengers. The idea is to give the same train different standing and sitting capacities based on the number of passengers inside: when there aren’t that many people on board, the pendulum seat acts as a conventional seat, and during peak times, its backrests can go into a vertical position to provide more room for standing. The train driver adjusts the configuration with the push of a button.
The obvious advantage of having this type of seat is that it would provide much-needed flexibility on public trains and accommodate the needs of both sitting and standing passengers. The solution is brilliant in its simplicity although the seat doesn’t look particularly comfortable: it is pretty much just a padded cylinder.
Even though most commuters regularly experience unpleasant (and often downright frightening) overcrowding, the rail industry hasn’t had any significant innovations that would help make travel more comfortable over the past few decades. Well, that might finally be about to change…
The idea behind this modular seat concept is to provide a solution for the increasing capacity needs of public rail transport. The implementation of the pendulum seat would enable the train driver both to raise the capacity of the train when it is overcrowded during peak hours, and to provide more comfort during less busy times.
The creative seating solution has been registered with the European Patent Office, and we for one, cannot wait to see it in practice.
Learn more at GermanDesignAward.com