1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata Long Term Road Test

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1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata: Aftermarket Seat Is a Hug Machine

October 23, 2013

1997 Mazda MX-5 Miata

Ever heard of Temple Grandin? She's a famous, very smart autistic person who's done a lot for autism awareness. During much of her life, she's worked with livestock, and one of her inventions in this area is the hug machine. I know this not because I'm well read, but because I watched the HBO movie about Grandin starring Claire Danes.

Anyway, a hug machine consists of two padded side boards, each about four feet long, hinged and connected in a V-shape. The boards are controlled by an air compressor. The animal is positioned between the boards and the side boards are closed on the animal to deliver a gentle mechanical hug. Grandin found that this device works to calm anxiety in livestock. She also found that it works to calm anxiety in people too, particularly those who, as a result of autism or some other condition, are averse to human contact. It seems a hug from a machine is better than no hugs at all.

I thought about this as I sat in our Miata's very snug aftermarket driver seat. The side bolsters are so prominent that you really do feel as if you're being enveloped in a hug from the seat. It took some getting used to, but after a while, I found this seating arrangement not only comfortable, but strangely comforting as well.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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