News / Science & Technology

Aircraft Suppliers Promote Innovative Technology in Tablet-toting World

The new cabin of an Airbus A350 XWB flight-test aircraft is illuminated during a media-day at the German headquarters of aircraft company Airbus in Hamburg-Finkenwerder, April 7, 2014.
The new cabin of an Airbus A350 XWB flight-test aircraft is illuminated during a media-day at the German headquarters of aircraft company Airbus in Hamburg-Finkenwerder, April 7, 2014.
Reuters
Ever fancied seeing your name in lights as you boarded a plane? A hologram to take you through your in-flight entertainment options? Or how about something simpler, like an easy place to rest your tablet?

Exhibitors at the Aircraft Interiors Expo in Hamburg demonstrated these ideas and more as they sought to win airline customers with new seats, lighting and entertainment systems.

This may all seem like window dressing - but the commercial aircraft cabin interior market is estimated at almost $13 billion in annual sales in 2014 and expected to grow to over $17 billion in 2019, according to research by Markets and Markets.

Germany-based Diehl Aerosystems demonstrated a new cabin management system, whereby passengers could scan their boarding cards on a screen as they stepped onto the plane.

Lights would then come on in the panels of the aircraft with the passenger's seat number and name to help them to their seat, with the aim of speeding up boarding.

Diehl's other new technology on show at the fair included an on-board lavatory with sensors so you can raise and lower the lid and seat without touching them. “Hygiene is becoming an ever more important topic,” its Chief Executive Rainer von Borstel told Reuters.

Thompson Aero Seating has a novel solution to the problem of fighting over armrests with your neighbor - staggered seats. And it says the design actually makes it possible to fit more seats into a cabin than usual. Finding that crucial first customer is proving tough, however.

“Because it's so different and radical, lots of people want to go second, but no one wants to be first,” said Andy Morris, vice-president of sales and marketing at the Northern Ireland-based firm.

Tablet power

But much of the new technology at the Apr. 8-10 fair was designed with the tablet-toting traveler in mind.

Representatives of aerospace supplier Honeywell cited data estimating there will be 10 billion mobile devices, such as those made by Apple and Samsung in the world by 2016, for a global population of about 7.3 billion.

“The newest trends are all about tablet holders and power,” said Recaro Aircraft Seating CEO Mark Hiller.

U.S. start-up Skycast, which provides airlines including Westjet with Samsung and Dell tablets to rent out to customers, was demonstrating a new tablet holder that can be easily fixed on to existing seats, holding anything from smartphones up to 10.3 inch tablets, including cases.

Established German seat manufacturer Recaro, which also makes child car seats, has also designed new tablet holders in its seats that are positioned higher up, meaning passengers can easily watch films and still use the table.

UK-based Acro Aircraft Seating meanwhile has designed a new tablet table aimed at low-cost carriers, such as customer Spirit Airlines. The table holds only a tablet and a drink.

Eye tech

The increasing use of tablet technology made In Flight Entertainment [IFE] a hot issue at the Hamburg fair this year, with the organizers having to put up a temporary building to accommodate a 10 percent increase in the space requested by exhibitors active in this area.

UK-based aerospace and defense manufacturer BAE Systems is teaming up with Samsung to come up with an IFE system based around tablet devices. Replacing traditional seat-back entertainment systems with tablets on wide-bodied aircraft could save between 2,000 and 3,000 pounds in weight, BAE's director of cabin programs, Jared Schoemaker, said.

BAE said the use of tablets could be taken further. Cabin crew could use a smartphone with fingerprint technology to alter lighting on board, dim windows or adjust the amount of power going to each seat. They could even use Samsung's wearable technology devices on their wrists to receive alerts such as passenger calls.

Panasonic also said it was looking at wearable devices that passengers could use as boarding cards and showed off a new HD screen and a three-dimensional hologram that may one day be used for in-flight entertainment systems.

Meanwhile, Thales - one of the world's largest makers of IFE systems - unveiled a new business-class seat that allows passengers to control their entertainment options using eye movement, hand gestures or a touchpad built into the seat.

You May Like

Tired of Waiting, South Africans Demand Change ‘Now’

With chronic poverty and lack of basic services largely fueling recent xenophobic attacks, many in Rainbow Nation say it’s time for government to act More

Challenges Ahead for China's Development Plans in Pakistan

Planned $46 billion in energy and infrastructure investments in Pakistan are aimed at transforming the country into a regional hub for trade and investment More

Audio 'Forbidden City' Revisits Little Known Era of Asian-American Entertainment

Little-known chapter of entertainment history captured in 80s documentary is revisited in new digitally remastered format and book More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs