Wednesday, January 11, 2012
Kaitekisei roughly means comfort translated from Japanese to English. In more specific terms it describes a condition of spiritual and physical satisfaction, a very pleasant feeling. What comfort is to different people varies as much as the people themselves. What is clear is that comfort only comes after a certain amount of evolution.
Take for example the automobile. In its earliest days one wouldn’t have been concerned with comfort; one would be grateful just to arrive without a breakdown or accident. The priority of manufacturers was reliability. As automobile speeds and availability increased, a new concern emerged, safety. Finally, as the automobile proved itself reliable and safe, a final concern could be addressed, comfort. Now one could think about driving noise, seating position and means of egress, and even entertainment. One could now consider the degree to which driving is pleasant.
Having catered to selling the largest number of cars to the widest consumer base, we are now at a time where yet another consideration can come into play: societal needs. To sell cars in the future, not only must reliability, safety and comfort be satisfied, so must individual needs and taste. Specifically, as we have aging populations in many parts of the world, we must now address their needs in automotive design.
This evolutionary path means that engineers now have the liberty to consider what exactly will aging consumers want and need in an automobile. There are time and resources available to attend to these pressing issues. Social concerns have come of age.
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