Human Factors group ensures DVD entertainment systems are placed well outside of “the puke zone” in Buick Enclave

Unless you enjoy the smell of partially digested food, there are some unsung heroes you may want to thank at General Motors. Engineers in the Human Factors group obsess over making your journey as pleasant as possible by making sure your children don’t spit up Alphagetti all over the third row seats.

In conjunction with ‘Take Your Child to Work Day’, the group puts children in cars – this year it was the Buick Enclave – to see how they interact with seats, belts, and technology, like in-car entertainment systems.

One factor they’ve identified is known as “the puke zone,” where placement of a focal point can induce motion sickness.

Simply put, humans have no problem focusing on a fixed, non-moving point in a vehicle as long as the external environment is in motion in their peripheral vision. However, if an entertainment screen were to be placed somewhere in the vehicle where the occupant would not have peripheral vision to the outside, motion sickness could occur.

As someone who suffers from mild motion sickness (this is why I prefer the window seat when flying), this is welcomed engineering we don’t hear about everyday and just as important as all the safety equipment in the world. Nothing is more distracting to a driver than someone playing Upchuck in the rear seats.

However, it is unfortunate this team wasn’t put in charge of the exterior design of the Pontiac Aztec or we all could have been saved the hardship of losing many meals over the years.




About Mark Stevenson

Mark Stevenson is a former IT professional turned freelance automotive writer and news editor for Autos.ca. He's a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada and former member of the Texas Automotive Writers Association (TAWA). Mark spends an inordinate amount of time on motorcycles and resides in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia with his two dogs - Nismo and Maloo. You can find him on Twitter and Facebook.