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

Multimedia US Defense Secretary: Iraqi Forces Lack 'Will to Fight'

Ash Carter criticizes Iraq's reaction to Islamic State; National Security Advisor Susan Rice echoed Carter's concerns in an interview on CBS More

Boko Haram Surrounds Havens With Land Mines

Chad and Cameroon say huge numbers of land mines planted by Boko Haram fighters along Cameroon's border with Nigeria are a danger to people, livestock and soldiers More

Women Peace Activists Cross Korean DMZ

Governments of Koreas give international delegation of women peace activists permission to pass through heavily fortified border, but some critics say symbolic crossing only benefits Pyongyang 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.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs