Tata Motors' Jaguar Land Rover is developing a pioneering shape-shifting seat system designed to improve occupant wellbeing by tackling the health risks of sitting down for too long.

The 'morphable' seat, being trialled by the body interiors research division, uses a series of actuators in the seat foam to create constant micro-adjustments that make the brain think the body is walking, and could be individually tailored to each driver and passenger.

More than a quarter of people worldwide - 1.4b - are living increasingly sedentary lifestyles which can shorten muscles in the legs, hips and gluteals causing back pain. The weakened muscles also mean injuries from falls or strains are more likely.

By simulating the rhythm of walking, a movement known as pelvic oscillation, the technology can help mitigate against the health risks of sitting down for too long on extended journeys with UK drivers covering an average of 146 miles a week.

"We are using our engineering expertise to develop the seat of the future using innovative technologies not seen before in the automotive industry to help tackle an issue that affects people across the globe," said the automaker's chief medical officer Steve Iley.

Previous projects have included research to reduce the effects of motion sickness and the implementation of ultraviolet light technology to stop the spread of colds and flu.

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