Discovery Magazine

Design of Mechanisms for Simultaneous Motion Generation

Pierre Larochelle, P.E., assistant dean for the Florida Institute of Technology College of Engineering and professor of mechanical engineering, has received a two-year, $50,000 research contract from Magna Seating of America to develop synthesis algorithms for the design of novel mechanisms for car and truck passenger seats. These new synthesis algorithms will be used to perform linkage design. These linkages will allow simultaneous positioning of both seat cushions and seat backs in multiple coordinated positions. “This new design capability will enable Magna Seating's engineers to design the next generation of passenger car and truck seats,” said Larochelle. In this collaborative effort between industry and academia, Larochelle and his students in the Robotics & Spatial Systems Lab ( are working with Ron Zimmerman, a product engineering specialist in Magna Seating's Research & Development Group and an expert at linkage design.

The technical results of this project will include novel mechanism synthesis algorithms that enable the design of linkages to simultaneously guide two bodies, connected by a revolute joint, through a sequence of desired locations in the plane. The practical results will include the ability to effectively and efficiently perform linkage design for new car and truck passenger seats for increased capabilities and comfort.

About Magna Seating:
Magna Seating (, a wholly-owned operating unit of Magna International, is an innovative leader in the development and manufacture of high quality complete seating systems, seat structure and mechanism solutions as well as foam & trim products for the global automotive industry. Our capabilities range from consumer and market research, full concept development, design and engineering, testing and validation to world-class manufacturing of seating sub-components and complete seat assemblies.