Supporting seat design for Smartphone use during travel

Research output: ThesisDissertation (TU Delft)

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This study investigates the impact of smartphone use on passengers' comfort during travel, focusing on train trips. The literature review reveals that smartphones have become the primary activity for train passengers, leading to discomfort and potential musculoskeletal issues, particularly in the neck, shoulders, arms, and back. The study aims to enhance the vehicle seat environment to alleviate these issues.

A questionnaire was administered to passengers, revealing that the main smartphone activities include listening to music, watching videos, reading, and texting. Most passengers prefer using smartphones with arm support, although a high discomfort score related to armrest use was noted. The study suggests exploring smartphone holders for watching videos and improving armrests for texting.

Passenger needs for the seating environment were collected through context mapping and co-creation techniques. Different age groups showed varied preferences in smartphone activities, with younger passengers and employees primarily using smartphones for entertainment, while older individuals engaged in diverse activities. The study emphasizes the importance of arm support, charging facilities, Wi-Fi, and considerations for special passenger groups like the disabled in future interior designs.

Chapters 5, 6, and 7 discuss design aspects to enhance smartphone comfort. An adjustable armrest is recommended, and experiments suggest an optimal trunk angle for smartphone use. A specially designed armrest reduced neck discomfort but increased discomfort in the upper arms, emphasizing the need for adjustable height. Chapter 8 provides specific recommendations for armrest height levels during various smartphone activities and proposes the use of smartphone holders.

In conclusion, the study suggests implementing adjustable armrests, smartphone holders, and considering the duration of smartphone use in future vehicle interior designs. These improvements aim to enhance body posture and reduce discomfort for passengers during smartphone usage. Further testing with end-users is recommended to validate these proposed solutions.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Delft University of Technology
  • Vink, P., Supervisor
  • Boess, S.U., Advisor
Thesis sponsors
Award date12 Feb 2024
Print ISBNs978-94-6366-811-8
Publication statusPublished - 2024


  • passengers
  • seat
  • comfort
  • design
  • smartphone use


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