Designing aircraft seats to fit the human body contour

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterProfessional

2 Citations (Scopus)


In order to save fuel costs, lightweight designs and materials are preferred for aircraft interiors. One of the challenges for aircraft seats is to reduce weight without compromising passenger comfort, or perhaps even while increasing comfort. This case study describes three different projects on lightweight designs for aircraft seats, using 3D scanning methods (Franz, Kamp, Durt, Kilincsoy, Bubb & Vink, 2011) in order to determine the ideal seat contour following the human body. The first project on upright sitting in an economy aircraft seat (Hiemstra-van Mastrigt, 2015) set out to collect imprints of the human body in a vacuum mattress by using a handheld 3D scanner to scan the body imprints and obtain a 3D surface. Subsequently, the different scans were superimposed in such a way that differences between the scans were minimized. Based on this ‘ideal curvature’, an adjustable seat pan concept was developed (Kuday, 2018). A similar 3D scanning method was applied in two other projects; one, developing a prototype for passengers sleeping sideways in a premium economy class aircraft seat (Lam, Stewart, Vogel, Van Gils, De Vries & Weiss, 2014), and a human contour-based business class seating concept (Smulders et al., 2016). This case study concludes with advantages and recommendations for applying 3D scanning in similar projects.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDHM and Posturography
EditorsSofia Scataglini, Gunther Paul
PublisherAcademic Press
Number of pages4
ISBN (Print)978-0128167137
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • 3D scanning
  • Aerospace
  • Aircraft seating
  • Anthropometry
  • Comfort
  • Human body contour
  • Industrial application
  • Passenger
  • Posture
  • Product design
  • Seat design
  • Vacuum mattress
  • Sleeping
  • Sitting

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