© 1982-2012 IEEE. This article introduces a rotary semiactive variable stiffness (VS) device, including its system design and model validation. A variable damping (VD) device and springs can form mechanical networks with specific topologies, and the VD device can control the equivalent stiffness of the network by varying its damping. The proposed rotary electromagnetic VS device consists of an electromagnetic VD device and a torsion spring, which are in series, while a planetary gear reducer is used to amplify the torque output of the VS device. The models of the electromagnetic VD and VS devices are both built and validated with tests. Then, a seat suspension applies the VS device by installing the device in the center of its scissors structure. Bump and random vibration experiments are implemented to validate the effectiveness of the proposed VS system for seat suspension vibration control. The new system has merits in controllability and energy efficiency. It is easier to design the controller than the conventional one with magnetorheological damper due to the linear damping of the electromagnetic VD device. Besides, the system energy consumption is low and has energy harvesting capability. The proposed semiactive electromagnetic VS device also has potential in other practical applicationss.