It's certainly a safety improvement, but Mercedes' new active seat belt buckle should also eliminate the utterly annoying game of trying to find the connectors that have inevitably gotten stuck in-between the back seat cushions of a car.
The addition of bright glowing LEDs making them easier to spot, particularly in the dark, is a brilliant enough innovation on its own. But Mercedes has gone one step further, with a motorised system that extends the buckles upwards as much as 2.8 inches (7cm), so they're hard to miss and easier to use. In the event of a crash, the active seat belt buckle also works in reverse, slightly retracting after impact so it holds the passenger more securely.
The new system will be implemented in Mercedes' luxury vehicle lines in the very near future, but hopefully it will eventually trickle down into Daimler's more affordable models for the rest of us who hate playing back seat belt follies. [Daimler via Gizmag]