It may look odd. But these Nissan engineers are forging ahead with new ideas that will help the aged in our community have a more pleasant experience with their cars.

Nissan are hoping that their innovative new suit will help them capitalise on the baby boomer generation. Concerned that the baby boomers will be taking a bigger share of the automotive sales over the coming 20 years, Nissan have realised that the baby boomer car user’s needs may well be different to their younger equivalents.

The suit is designed to simulate the effects of physical ageing. By adorning the suit, a 25 yr old engineer can get an insight into what it must be like for someone forty or fifty years his senior.

There is a huge amount of research that goes into studying the ergonomics of a vehicle interior. Seat position, steering wheel height and gear shift location are all interlinked and must be specifically designed for all body sizes and types. Even secondary switchgear and the instruments must be designed so that they are easy to use and are legible. Often the constraints of the elderly are overlooked in this crucial stage of the cars design and the Nissan engineers are keen to reverse this.

The suit limits physical movement of the limbs which makes it more difficult for the engineer to get inside the car and to operate the controls. Special goggles are worn to simulate worsening eyesight which tests the designs for secondary control placement and legibility of the markings on switches.

Car manufacturers are well aware of what vehicle works for certain buying groups, and who buys what vehicle. For instance, it is often found that smaller cars are bought by women and large pick ups and sedans are more often bought by men. Does this now mean we have a third dynamic added to the equation? Cars for the over 50’s anyone?

Gallery: Nissan Engineers use Special Suit to Simulate the Elderly