General Motors has applied for a patent for a built-in vehicle foot massage system, GM Authority has learned.
Assigned application number 16/538,897, at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the GM patent application was filed on August 13th, 2019 and published on February 18th, 2021. Titled “VEHICLE FOOT MASSAGE SYSTEM IN A VEHICLE FLOOR,” the application lists Samuel J. Melnyk of Troy, Michigan as the inventory.
The GM patent application describes a system within a vehicle’s floor that equips said vehicle with a foot massaging system.
The system includes a plurality of pneumatic elements positioned on the vehicle floor, an air pressure generating device, and a plurality of connecting lines each in communication with one of the pneumatic elements and with the air pressure generating device.
The GM patent suggests that, in one exemplary aspect, the pneumatic elements would be distributed on the vehicle floor in front of a passenger seat, positioned to correspond to a foot location for a passenger occupying the seat. The pneumatic elements would be positioned relative to each other along a longitudinal axis of the vehicle. A first group of pneumatic elements are positioned in one of a right side and a left side of the vehicle floor, and a second group positioned on the right side and the left side of the vehicle floor, both in front of the passenger seat. The plurality of pneumatic elements may at least partially overlap. The system also includes an air manifold in communication with the plurality of connecting lines and selective connectivity to the air pressure generating device, along with a controller that is adapted to generate an air manifold control signal.
The air manifold is responsive to the air manifold control signal from the controller to selectively permit air passage through each of the plurality of connecting lines from the air pressure generating device to the plurality of pneumatic elements. The system also includes a controller adapted to selectively generate an air pressure signal in communication with the air pressure generating device.
In Plain English
Simply put, the above engineering jargon describes a proposed, built-in vehicle foot massage system which would utilize forced air to inflate pockets under the passenger’s feet.
For a clearer understanding of the components included in the GM patent as well as their functionalities, see the list which corresponds with the illustration below:
- 410 – vehicle user interface, which may include a display screen that offers presets or individually settable massage functions.
- 402 – controller, which may control operation of the air pump.
- 404 – air pump, which provides pressurized air to the manifold.
- 406 – air manifold, which selectively provides pressurized air to the pneumatic elements.
- 408 – pneumatic elements, which are positioned under the passenger’s feet.
The GM patent references massage seats in vehicles, which offer a host of health benefits, including but not limited to:
- Relaxation and stress relief
- Improved circulation
- Lower blood pressure
- Alleviation of headaches or migraines
- Improved circulation
- Anxiety relief
- Natural pain relief
Such a feature would surely represent the pinnacle of luxurious appointments in today’s automobile marketplace.
Where To From Here?
We’re not surprised to see The General finding innovative ways to improve passenger experience, especially with all-new EV models set to enter the market within the next four years. More specifically, a foot massage system would seem right at home in models such as the Cadillac Celestiq, which is set to feature hand-crafted interior appointments and set the precedent for the new era of Cadillac luxury vehicles.
Attention to the cabin space has been heightened with next-generation vehicles, thanks primarily to the configuration of GM’s newest propulsion system technology: Ultium Battery and Ultium Drive Motors. The flat, “skateboard” configuration allows for much more space within the vehicle, giving designers and engineers more room for innovative technologies, such as this proposed foot massage system.
As such, we expect to see a system like this one brought to market sooner rather than later, as the use of such technology can technically be integrated into virtually any GM product, though it would seem most appropriate in new-age luxury vehicles.
Check out the complete patent application in its nine-page glory right here (PDF file format).