Title:
INTEGRATED CHILD CAR SEAT
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
An integrated seat comprises a first seat and an integrated tractable seating arrangement that can be extended from a stored position into a usable position. The first seat may be a vehicle seat, and the integrated tractable seating arrangement may be a child seat. The integrated tractable seat may be positioned so that it is forward-facing or rear-facing. The integrated tractable seat may be extended, positioned, and retracted automatically, such as by remote control.



Inventors:
Frank, Neil Michael (Dix Hills, NY, US)
Application Number:
11/548550
Publication Date:
05/01/2008
Filing Date:
10/11/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C15/00
View Patent Images:
Related US Applications:
20050104424Seat assembly for vehiclesMay, 2005Park
20050264045Stowable armrest for vehicle seatDecember, 2005Ropp et al.
20090230652Seat Supporting Assembly and Wheelchair Including SameSeptember, 2009Landry et al.
20030127893Baby carriage auxiliary seatJuly, 2003Wolstein
20070236061Low Cost Adjustable and Foldable Car SeatOctober, 2007Meeker et al.
20090140567Multi-adjustable swivel chair with back and knee supportsJune, 2009Weiss
20040239156Misting furnitureDecember, 2004Rosenberg
20070294013Device for a Child SeatDecember, 2007Rieth et al.
20030001421Attachment mechanism for an upholstered seatJanuary, 2003Schmidt
20090008971COLLPASIBLE CHILD SEATJanuary, 2009Ellsworth
20020060483Safety device for car seatMay, 2002Yoshida et al.



Primary Examiner:
BROWN, PETER R
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Elliot Furman (New York, NY, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. An integrated seat comprising: a first seat comprising a first seat back connected to a first seat base; a tractable seating arrangement integrated within said first seat, said tractable seating arrangement comprising, a second seat back at least partially integrated within at least one of said first seat back and said first seat base; a second seat base at least partially integrated within at least one of said first seat back and said first seat base; means for extending said tractable seating arrangement from a stored position to a usable position, wherein said second seat base and said second seat back are connected when in the usable position; and means for rotating said tractable seating arrangement between a forward-facing position and a rear-facing position.

2. The integrated seat of claim 1 further comprising means for moving said second seat base in a horizontal direction.

3. The integrated seat of claim 1 further comprising means for moving said second seat back in the vertical direction.

4. The integrated seat of claim 1 wherein said first seat comprises a vehicle seat.

5. The integrated seat of claim 1 wherein said tractable seating arrangement comprises a child car seat.

6. The integrated seat of claim 1 wherein said second seat back is detachably hinged to said second seat base.

7. The integrated seat of claim 1 wherein said second seat back is fixed to said second seat base.

8. The integrated seat of claim 1 wherein said means for rotating comprises a pivot point on said second seat base for pivoting said second seat base.

9. The integrated seat of claim 1 further comprising automatic means for automatically extending, positioning, and retracting said tractable seating arrangement.

10. The integrated seat of claim 9 further comprising remote control means for remotely controlling said tractable seating arrangement.

11. The integrated seat of claim 1 further comprising means for lengthening the second seat back.

12. The integrated seat of claim 1 further comprising means for widening the second seat base and second seat back.

13. The integrated seat of claim 1 wherein said tractable seating arrangement further comprises at least one of the following: a padded insert, an air bag, a pocket, a fastener, a tray, a removable arm rest, a removable headrest, a cup holder, a hook-and-loop fastener, and a storage compartment.

14. The integrated seat of claim 1 wherein said first seat comprises a bench type automobile seat.

15. The integrated seat of claim 14 further comprising at least one more tractable seating arrangement integrated with said first seat.

16. The integrated seat of claim 1 wherein said first seat comprises a wheel chair.

17. The integrated seat of claim 1 wherein said tractable seating arrangement further comprises a safety belt.

18. The integrated seat of claim 1 further comprising a carrying handle connected to said tractable seating arrangement, and means for releasing said tractable seating arrangement so that it can be carried separately from said first seat.

19. An integrated seat comprising: first seat back; a back cushion detachably attached to said first seat back; a first seat base attached to said first seat back; a base cushion attached to said first seat base; a tractable seating arrangement comprising, a second seat base moveably attached to said back cushion and located within said first seat back and said back cushion; and a second seat back moveably attached to said second seat base and located within said first seat back and said back cushion.

20. The integrated seat of claim 19 wherein said tractable seating arrangement further comprises at least one of the following: a safety belt, a padded insert, an air bag, a pocket, a fastener, a tray, a removable arm rest, a removable headrest, a cup holder, a hook-and-loop fastener, and a storage compartment.

21. The integrated seat of claim 19 further comprising remote control means for remotely extending, positioning, and retracting said tractable seating arrangement.

22. An integrated seat comprising: first seat back; a back cushion detachably attached to said first seat back; a first seat base attached to said first seat back; a base cushion attached to said first seat base; a tractable seating arrangement comprising, a second seat base moveably attached to said back cushion and located within said first seat back and said back cushion; and a second seat back moveably attached to said second seat base and located within said first seat back and said back cushion; automatic means for automatically extending, positioning, and retracting said tractable seating arrangement; and means for releasing said tractable seating arrangement so that it can be carried separately from said first seat.

23. An integrated seat comprising: a first seat comprising a first seat back connected to a first seat base; a tractable seating arrangement integrated within said first seat, said tractable seating arrangement comprising, a second seat back at least partially integrated within at least one of said first seat back and said first seat base; a second seat base at least partially integrated within at least one of said first seat back and said first seat base; means for extending said tractable seating arrangement from a stored position to a usable position, wherein said second seat base and said second seat back are connected when in the usable position; means for rotating said tractable seating arrangement between a forward-facing position and a rear-facing position; automatic means for automatically extending, positioning, and retracting said tractable seating arrangement; remote control means for remotely controlling said tractable seating arrangement; a carrying handle connected to said tractable seating arrangement; and means for releasing said tractable seating arrangement so that it can be carried separately from said first seat.

24. The integrated seat of claim 23 wherein said tractable seating arrangement further comprises at least one of the following: a padded insert, an air bag, a pocket, a fastener, a tray, a removable arm rest, a removable headrest, a cup holder, a hook-and-loop fastener, and a storage compartment.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Child car seats, including seats for infants and toddlers, are required by law depending on the age and size of the child. Children are too small to safely use standard restraint systems such as seatbelts without modification. Parents have available to them child car seats in multiple sizes and configurations. These child car seats are positioned on a conventional rear car seat and secured to the conventional rear car seat according to manufacturer and government recommendations. Children sit and are secured in the child car seat.

Typically, for the smallest children the child car seat is secured to the conventional rear car seat in either a forward-facing or rear-facing position with the seatbelt (lap belt or lap/shoulder belt combination) provided in all vehicles. The child is then secured to the child car seat with a restraint system (such as a 5-point harness, an overhead shield, or a t-shield) permanently connected to the child car seat.

For larger children, a forward-facing child car seat called a booster seat is often used. The booster seat is placed on the conventional rear car seat, the child sits in the booster seat, and the lap/shoulder belt of the vehicle is used to secure both the child and the booster seat to the conventional rear car seat.

When the child car seat is installed, the seat is not usable by an adult. Since installing and uninstalling a child car seat is often cumbersome and time consuming, many parents often simply leave the child car seat installed, thus sacrificing some or all of the rear seat of their car. In addition, when the child car seat is not installed, it must be stored somewhere, oftentimes in the trunk or back storage area of the vehicle. So, some or all of the trunk thus becomes unusable for storing common items such as groceries and luggage. Parents must also purchase child car seats of various sizes and configurations to accommodate their growing children.

Many child car seat manufacturers have attempted to make their product easier to manipulate by making them out of lighter materials, and including a handle for carrying the car seat, but this does not eliminate, and only slightly reduces the awkwardness and annoyance of constantly having to swap, install, and uninstall child car seats.

Thus, a need presently exists for an adjustable child car seat that is integrated and is storable, collapsible, and extendable from a conventional rear vehicle seat.

SUMMARY

An integrated seat comprises a first seat and an integrated tractable seating arrangement. The tractable seating arrangement is integrated within the first seat. The tractable seating arrangement can be extended from a stored position within the first seat into a usable position outside of the first seat. The first seat comprises a first seat back and a first seat base. The integrated tractable seating arrangement comprises a second seat back and a second seat base. The integrated seat also comprises means for extending said tractable seating arrangement from a stored position to a usable position. When in the usable position, the second seat base and the second seat back are connected. The integrated seat also comprises means for rotating the tractable seating arrangement between a forward-facing position and a rear-facing position. In one embodiment, the tractable seating arrangement may be extended, positioned (such as rotated), or retracted automatically by pressing a button or a switch.

The foregoing paragraph has been provided by way of general introduction and it should not be used to narrow the scope of the following claims. The embodiments will now be described with reference to the attached drawings.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1A illustrates a top view of a first seat with an integrated tractable seating arrangement in a usable position.

FIG. 1B illustrates a front view of a first seat with an integrated tractable seating arrangement in a usable position.

FIG. 1C illustrates a side view of a first seat with an integrated tractable seating arrangement in a usable position.

FIG. 1D illustrates a side view of a first seat with an integrated tractable seating arrangement in a usable and rotated position, with the tractable seating arrangement in a rear-facing configuration.

FIG. 2A illustrates a top view of a first seat with an integrated tractable seating arrangement in a stored position in the first seat back.

FIG. 2B illustrates a front view of a first seat with an integrated tractable seating arrangement in a stored position in the first seat back.

FIG. 2C illustrates a side view of a first seat with an integrated tractable seating arrangement in a stored position in the first seat back.

FIG. 3A illustrates a top view of a first seat with an integrated tractable seating arrangement in a stored position in the first seat base.

FIG. 3B illustrates a front view of a first seat with an integrated tractable seating arrangement in a stored position in the first seat base.

FIG. 3C illustrates a side view of a first seat with an integrated tractable seating arrangement in a stored position in the first seat base.

FIG. 4A illustrates a side view of a first seat with an integrated tractable seating arrangement in a usable position with a sliding member attached to the first seat base.

FIG. 4B illustrates a side view of a first seat with an integrated tractable seating arrangement in a stored position with a sliding member attached to the first seat base.

FIG. 5A illustrates a front view of an expandable tractable seating.

FIG. 5B illustrates a front view of a tractable seating arrangement in an exemplary expanded position.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

FIGS. 1A, 1B, 1C and 1D show a first seat 100 with an integrated tractable seating arrangement 102 in an extended and usable position. FIGS. 2A, 2B, and 2C show a first seat 100 with an integrated tractable seating arrangement 102 in a stored position. FIGS. 1A and 2A show a top view. FIGS. 1B and 2B show a front view. FIGS. 1C and 2C show a side view. FIG 1D also shows a side view.

Briefly, with reference to the side views of FIGS. 1C and 2C, in the stored position (FIG. 2C), the first seat is usable as a conventional seat. Such a conventional seat may typically be the rear seat in an automobile or other type of vehicle. First seat 100 includes a first seat base 110 including a base cushion 108, and a first seat back 104 including a back cushion 106. A tractable seating arrangement 102 is integrated and stored within the first seat 100 as shown by the dotted lines.

The tractable seating arrangement 102 is extended from the first seat 100 as shown in FIG. 1C by separating back cushion 106 from first seat back 104 in the direction indicated by arrow 107 in FIG. 2C. With the tractable seating arrangement 102 extended, an infant or toddler may be placed and secured in the tractable seating arrangement 102.

FIG. 2C shows the tractable seating arrangement 102 in a forward-facing position. The tractable seating arrangement 102 may also be rotated to position it in a rear-facing position as shown in FIG. 1D.

When the tractable seating arrangement is no longer needed for carrying the child, back cushion 106 is returned and connected to first seat back 104, thereby storing the tractable seating arrangement and freeing up the first seat for use by an adult or older child. Not shown is a safety belt such as a lap or lap/shoulder belt for the first seat. Such safety belts are well understood in the art and are standard to all automobiles.

Examining FIG. 2C in greater detail, first seat 100 comprises a first seat base 110 including base cushion 108 connected to first seat back 104. Back cushion 106 is detachably attached to first seat back 104 at sliding pivot 118. First seat back 104 and back cushion 106 are secured together with latch 204.

The tractable seating arrangement 102 is extended from a stored position (FIG. 2C) to an open position (FIG. 1C) by releasing latch 204, at which time back cushion 106 can slide vertically and then rotate about the pivot point of sliding pivot 118 so that it rests on base cushion 107. That is, back cushion 106 is connected in a hinged manner to first seat back 104.

In one embodiment, sliding pivot 118 includes a sliding channel fixed to first seat back 104, and a slider or pin secured in the sliding channel. The slider is further attached to back cushion 106 such that back cushion 106 is free to rotate about the axis of the slider or pin. In other embodiments, back cushion 106 is hinged to first seat back 104 by using one or more of butterfly hinges, pivot hinges, butt hinges, and the like.

With particular reference to FIG. 1C, once tractable seating arrangement 102 is extended, back cushion 106 may be secured to base cushion 106 in many conventional ways including snaps, buckles, straps, and the like. In one embodiment, strap 123 which is anchored to the bottom of base cushion 108, clips or buckles to latch 204.

Examining FIGS. 1A-1D and 2A-2C, with particular reference to FIG. 1C and 2C, tractable seating arrangement 102 includes a second seat back 112 and second seat base 114. The second seat back 112 and second seat base 114 are connected at point 103 (FIG. 1D) which allows the second seat back 112 and second seat base 114 to fold up. Point 103 may comprise a slideable pin, hinges, screws, nuts and bolts, welds, and the like. The tractable seating arrangement 102 also comprises a harness or safety belt 117 (FIG. 1B). Such harnesses or safety belts are well understood in the art.

Second seat base 114 is secured to back cushion 106 by channel 116 into which a roller pin 120 or a disk or equivalent is locked (FIG. 1A). When locked, the tractable seating arrangement is fixed in position on the first seat. When unlocked, the tractable seating arrangement is free to move horizontally as indicated by the arrow 119 of FIGS. 1C and 1D, and is also free to rotate about the axis of roller pin 120 as indicated by arrow 113 in FIG. 1A. This allows the tractable seating arrangement to be moved into the rear-facing position shown in FIG. 1D. Once in position, the tractable seating arrangement is locked into position.

While various embodiments comprise a channel 116 and roller pin 120 to allow tractable seating arrangement 102 to move in a horizontal direction and to rotate, it should be apparent to one skilled in the art that the teachings of the invention may be employed for any arrangement that is capable of moving tractable seating arrangement 102 in a horizontal direction and rotating tractable seating arrangement 102 about the pivot point. Hence, in various embodiments, channel 116 and roller pin 120 can be replaced, without limitation, by a shaft and pin arrangement, slider crank arrangement with a pin centrally connected to the slider, and the like.

In one embodiment, tractable seating arrangement 102 is pivoted about a pin. The pin is connected at a right angle to the shaft. Further, the shaft is slideably connected to back cushion 106. Many other embodiments are possible. In another embodiment, tractable seating arrangement 102 is vertically adjustable, that is, the distance between the second seat base 114 and the base cushion 108 is adjustable by way of a piston, pin, shaft, or guide (not shown) connecting the second seat base to the channel 116.

In another embodiment, the tractable seating arrangement may be released completely from the channel-pin arrangement or equivalent and carried away to be used as a conventional baby carrier. Later, the tractable seating arrangement may be simply locked into the channel. In this embodiment, the tractable seating arrangement comprises a handle for carrying the baby carrier. The handle is connected, for example, to the second seat back. The tractable seating arrangement is released completely from the channel-pin arrangement or equivalent by pressing, for example, a button located on the carrying handle. In another embodiment the button may be part of a remote control as disclosed below. Either way, pressing the button moves or repositions components of the channel-pin arrangement or equivalent so that the tractable seating arrangement is released from the channel or equivalent. Once released, the tractable seating arrangement may be carried as a separate seat from the first seat. The tractable seating arrangement is reconnected to the first seat by placing the tractable seating arrangement in alignment with the channel-pin arrangement or equivalent and pressing, snapping, or latching into place.

The above disclosure shows a tractable seating arrangement integrated into the first seat back, however it should be apparent to those of ordinary skill in the art that the tractable seating arrangement could equivalently be integrated into the first seat base. In this embodiment, the tractable seating arrangement folds up out of the base cushion, rather than folding down out of the back cushion.

FIGS. 3A-3C illustrate a top view, a front view, and a side view of a first seat 300 with an integrated tractable seating arrangement 302 in a stored position. In this embodiment, the tractable seating arrangement 302 is stored in first seat base 308.

First seat 300 comprises tractable seating arrangement 302, a first seat back 304, a base cushion 306, and a first seat base 308. The tractable seating arrangement is extendable and rotateable through various means as described below. Tractable seating arrangement 302 is stored within base cushion 306 and first seat base 308. Tractable seating arrangement 302 comprises second seat back 310 and second seat base 312. Base cushion 306 is removable to expose tractable seating arrangement 302. Once exposed, tractable seating arrangement 302 is raised to the level of base cushion 306 and locked into the usable position as illustrated in FIGS. 1A, 1B, 1C, and 1D. Tractable seating arrangement 302 can be rotated to be configured in the forward-facing or rear-facing direction. In addition, first seat 300 comprises means for moving tractable seating arrangement in horizontal and vertical directions. In an embodiment of the invention, the means for extending tractable seating arrangement 302, and the means for rotating tractable seating arrangement 302 are similar in form and functionality as described above with reference to FIGS. 1A-1D.

The means for extending and rotating may include additional guides, members, links, shafts, pistons, pins, and the like for mechanically positioning the tractable seating arrangement. In one embodiment, tractable seating arrangement 302 folds to be stored so that second seat back is level with and becomes part of base cushion 306. In this embodiment, it is not necessary to remove base cushion 306 to expose and position tractable seating arrangement 302.

FIG. 4A illustrates a side view of a first seat 400 with an integrated tractable seating arrangement 402 in a usable position with a sliding member attached to the first seat base. FIG. 4B illustrates a side view of first seat 400 with integrated tractable seating arrangement 402 in a stored position with a sliding member attached to the first seat base.

First seat 400 comprises a first seat back 404 and first seat base 406. First seat back 404 comprises a front back 408 and a rear back 410. A second seat base 412 is disposed between front back 408 and rear back 410. Second seat base 412 is connected to front back 408 and may be either permanently hinged or detachably hinged to front back 408. First seat base 406 comprises a sliding member 414. Sliding member 414 is slidably connected to first seat base 406. Sliding member 414 comprises a rear-facing member 416 and a second seat back 418.

In an embodiment of the invention, second seat back 418 is opened in the direction indicated by arrow 420. In another embodiment of the invention, second seat back 418 is removed from front back 408. In this embodiment, second seat back 418 is detachably hinged to front back 408. Sliding member 414 is slid in the direction indicated by arrow 422. Once rear-facing member 416 is locked into the position shown in FIG. 4B, second seat base 412 is locked to rear-facing member 416, forming tractable seating arrangement 402.

Tractable seating arrangement 402 can be configured, moved, and rotated in the forward-facing or rear-facing direction, as described above with reference to the other figures. Rear back 410 and sliding member 414 with second seat back 418 may be moved, positioned and locked by any number of channels, guides, hinges, anchors, buckles, straps, locks, bearings, and the like.

FIG. 5A illustrates a front view of the expandable tractable seating arrangement. FIG. 5B illustrates a front view of the tractable seating arrangement in an exemplary expanded position.

As already discussed, tractable seating arrangement 102 comprises second seat back 112, and second seat base 114. In order to accommodate children of varying sizes, in one embodiment, the tractable seating arrangement 102 is expandable so that the second seat base 114 and second seat back 112 can be widened, and that second seat back 112 can be lengthened.

Second seat back 112 and second seat base 114 comprise a vertical split indicated by line 502 to form a left portion 504 and a right portion 506. Left portion 504 and right portion 506 are slideably connected using any number of guides, channels, and the like. Left portion 504 and right portion 506 may be separated in the directions indicated by arrows 508 and 510, thereby widening the tractable seating arrangement.

Tractable seating arrangement 102 comprises a central portion 512 which fills the gap formed when left portion 504 and right portion 506 are separated. In one embodiment, center portion 512 comprises an inflatable cavity, such as an inflatable bag which is inflated either manually or automatically to the desired size and firmness. When not expanded, the inflatable bag is stored between left portion 504 and right portion 506 in a cavity (not shown). So, in operation, left portion 504 and right portion 506 are separated by a length desired by a user, exposing the deflated bag. The deflated bag is then inflated to form a safe and comfortable center portion 512. In another embodiment, center portion 512 comprises a padded insert placed into the gap formed between left portion 504 and right portion 506.

As shown in FIGS. 5A and 5B, tractable seating arrangement 102 may also comprise horizontal split 514 for expanding tractable seating arrangement 102 in the vertical direction, thereby lengthening the second seat back 112. For example, horizontal split 514 allows second seat back 108 to be vertically extended in the direction indicated by arrow 516. In various embodiments of the invention, tractable seating arrangement 102 may include one or more off-center splits, splits close to the arm, and the like.

As already mentioned, first seat 100 may be an automobile or other type of vehicle seat while tractable seating arrangement 102 may be a child car seat. In the usable position, an infant or toddler is placed in the tractable seating arrangement 102 and secured with harness 117. Many different types of harnesses may be used, such as a 5-point harness, an overhead shield, or a t-shield. In another embodiment, harness 117 is removable or storable or covered so that it does not interfere with the comfort of the child, and the safety belt of the vehicle is used to secure the toddler to tractable seating arrangement 102. All vehicles have safety belts, most commonly of the shoulder-lap belt type. In another embodiment, the vehicle safety belt is used to secure the tractable child seat, providing an extra level of protection.

The tractable seating arrangement may include modifications such as storage pockets, compartments, rings, loops, cup holders, trays, hook-and-loop fasteners, and the like for holding items or connecting items such as bottles, games, food, trays, hygienic items, and the like, to the tractable seating arrangement. The tractable seating arrangement may include slide-on or attachable padding such as head rests, arm rests, foot rests, and the like. The arms or rests of the tractable seating arrangement may be removable, or replaceable with different sized arms. Further, the tractable seating arrangement may comprise various air bags in various positions on and in the tractable seating arrangement which can be inflated to surround, protect, or cradle a child. These can be used as pillows or padding for comfort and safety, and can also be activated in the event of an accident in the same manner as an air bag is deployed in auto accidents.

Also, tractable seating arrangement 102 may be made of any number of materials such as aluminum, steel, other metals, alloys, wood, plastic, polymers, rubber, foam, sponge-like materials, and synthetic materials. Materials that can compress and conform to the occupant of the tractable seating arrangement such as various fabrics and paddings may be used.

The steps of extending or storing the tractable child seat, for example, unlatching, extending, optionally rotating, locking, and the like can be done either manually or automatically. For automatic operation, the present invention includes electric motors such as stepper motors, DC motors, hydraulic pumps, pneumatic pumps, air pumps, actuators such as mechanical, electric, hydraulic, and pneumatic actuators, gears, rack and pinion arrangements, slider crank arrangement, solenoids, hydraulic and pneumatic piston arms, linkage mechanisms, pulley arrangements, electromagnetic latches, switches, magnetic locks, valves, and the like.

In one embodiment, at least one switch or button is provided on a dashboard of the automobile or other vehicle. A user opens or closes tractable seating arrangement 102, rotates tractable seating arrangement 102, moves tractable seating arrangement 102, and so on, by actuating or pressing the switches or buttons. In another embodiment, the switch or button is located near tractable seating arrangement 102, for example on the side of first seat 100, or stored in a pocket in or near tractable seating arrangement 102. In another embodiment, the switches or buttons are part of a wireless remote control, such as an infrared or radio frequency remote control. The switches or buttons may also unlock doors or start the engine of the vehicle so that, for example, when the button is pressed, the door closest to the tractable seating arrangement opens and the tractable seating arrangement is extended to a usable position.

In operation, as discussed, for manual operation, tractable seating arrangement 102 may be moved from the stored position as shown in FIGS. 2A-2C to the usable position as shown in FIGS. 1A-1D, and back, by manually unlocking any latches or locks such as latch 204, then pulling, pushing, and repositioning the movable components of first seat 100 such as, but not limited to, second seat base 114, second seat back 112, back cushion 106, and then locking the components into place. The movement of the components of first seat 100 is guided by guiding members. The guiding members may include one or more channels, rollers, bearings, bends, anchors, and the like.

In automatic operation, electronic, electrical, and electromechanical components perform the pulling, pushing, and repositioning described above. For example, first seat 100 may include motors, actuators, and switches disposed within first seat 100 such as, but not limited to, first seat base 110 and first seat back 104. The motors, actuators, and latches lock, release, and reposition the movable components.

The motors may include electric motors such as stepper motors, AC motors, and DC motors, and may be powered by a vehicle battery. The motors may also include hydraulic motors powered by a hydraulic pump. The actuators may include mechanical, hydraulic, and pneumatic actuators connected to, for example, gears, rack and pinion arrangements, slider crank arrangement, hydraulic and pneumatic piston arms, linkage mechanisms, pulley arrangements, and the like. These and other components may be fixed to first seat 100, and oriented in different directions to facilitate the repositioning of the components of first seat 100.

This embodiment may comprise still further components such as, for example, a solenoid bolt. The solenoid bolt locks and releases the tractable seating arrangement in channel 116. An electric stepper motor may be used in conjunction with a gear arrangement to rotate tractable seating arrangement 102. The gear arrangement may comprise a worm gear connected to the axle of the electric stepper motor and a worm wheel fixed to second seat base 114, concentric with the pivot hole.

Also, a solenoid bolt can be used as a lock to prevent horizontal or vertical movement of tractable seating arrangement 102. Once the solenoid bolt is released, a hydraulic pump is activated and the hydraulic pump actuates a hydraulic piston. The actuated hydraulic piston pushes or pulls tractable seating arrangement 102 to provide the movement in the horizontal direction (arrow 119 of FIG. 1C). A similar arrangement may be used for moving tractable seating arrangement 102 in a vertical direction. Electric motors may be used in addition to, or in place of, the hydraulic pump.

Expanding or collapsing the aforementioned air bags, air cavities, or air pockets may also be done automatically by way of air pumps and electromechanical valves.

The motors, pumps, valves, and the like are easily controlled by any conventional and well understood electronic control system. In one embodiment, pressing the buttons or switches to extend, position, or retract the tractable seating arrangement causes a series of electric signals to be output by a control box connected between the buttons and the motors, pumps, and valves. The electric signals activate the components with an intensity, duration, and order necessary for proper extending, positioning, and retracting. Such control systems are well understood by those of ordinary skill in the art.

Finally, while various embodiments of the invention are described herein with first seat 100 being a vehicle seat, it should now evident to those skilled in the art that first seat 100 may comprise any number of seats, such as, without limitation, a bench type seat, a wheel chair, a relaxing chair, an office chair, a lounge chair, a couch, and the like. If the vehicle seat is a bench type seat, as found in most automobiles, the bench type seat may include more than one tractable seating arrangement and each tractable seating arrangement may be used independently of the other. For example, a first tractable seating arrangement may be used in forward-facing position and a second tractable seating arrangement may be used in a rear-facing position. Or the first tractable seating arrangement may be used, while the second is in a stored position.

The foregoing detailed description has set forth a few of the many forms that this invention can take. It is intended that the foregoing detailed description be understood as an illustration of selected forms that the invention can take and not as a limitation to the definition of the invention. It is only the following claims, including all equivalents that are intended to define the scope of this invention.