Texas Patent of the Month – January 2021

It’s estimated that 14,955 lives were saved in 2017 from seatbelt use. Seatbelts are one of the safest decisions any driver or passenger can make. Most vehicles equipped with seat belts undergo intensive testing, Including aircraft. Conventional seat belts within planes include a lap belt that restricts the passenger from being thrown from their seat in the event of a hard landing or crash. However, the upper body is not restrained, meaning an individual could hit his head on the seat in front of him and suffer head trauma. Safran Seats USA LLC wanted to reduce this risk, so it developed a new seatbelt design that protects against hard landings and impacts.

The innovative seatbelt has three sections and takes on two different configurations: retracted and fully extended. The belt is folded and attached in an accordion style between the first, second, and third section. The sections are attached with stitches that are intended to fail in the event of a hard impact, allowing it to expand to it’s fully extended form. This way, when an aircraft experiences extreme deceleration, until the seat belt reaches its fully extended configuration, the individual’s lower body movement would be equal to that of his or her upper body. The equal motion of the lower and upper body, reduces the energy involved in the impact of the individual’s head on the seat in front of him, also reducing any head trauma. These seat belts can be designed to be a specific length; for example, the passenger’s knees would not be able to reach the seat in front of him. This modification ensures a passenger will not leave his seat in a crash and will still reduce momentum related to head trauma. 

Are you adapting existing technology for a new application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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