Helping Volvo continue to innovate in child safety

Design Strategy
Industrial Design
Mechanical Design

Press Release
US Patent 8579372B2
US Patent 8672403

Volvo has long been known as an innovator in passenger and vehicle safety. When Tangram was approached by team members at the Volvo Concept Center to assist with the development of a revolutionary child seat idea, we jumped at the chance to help! The VCC team had been doing research on inflatable products and came across our previous work using drop-stitch technology to design a line of kayaks and docks for Walker Bay Boats.

The team wanted to explore and test ideas that could make a car seat collapsible and easily storable. The idea was to create a product that could be easily taken on airplanes, used in rental cars, or perhaps owned by grandparents or extended care-givers who wouldn’t necessarily require a dedicated child seat installed in their vehicle. Anyone who frequently travels with children can understand the challenges associated with renting cars, or taking taxi’s and arranging for safe transportation of a child without having to bring your own bulky car seat.

Inflated Child Seat

The drop-stitch inflatable fabric technology used to create the bladder portion of the seat was originally developed for use in the military and boating industries. The material is characterized by 2 sheet surfaces that are connected by a large number of threads at a set length. When the 2 sides are connected with a sidewall and inflated, the threads become taut and create uniform tension across the structure. This tension allows for inflation to high-pressure and results in a much more rigid surface than a typical inflatable product.


Not satisfied with producing just a design concept, the inflatable child seat was fully prototyped, refined, and tested, including full crash tests. Data and analysis from the testing process has led to further innovations in inflatable technology across various areas in Volvo’s engineering efforts. The final design of the Inflatable Child Seat Concept has resulted in multiple patents and has been featured across major news outlets including ABC News, Forbes, and Fast Company.

inflatable car seat