Anybody that has tried to wear noise canceling headphones on a long international flight knows it is not the most comfortable experience, but Jamco is trying to solve that problem through its Personalized Sound Zone (PSZ) concept. The system uses a pair of speakers built into an aircraft seat’s headrest to create a “spherical sound zone” around the passenger’s head. According to Jamco, it uses advanced sound technology to cancel out any noise heard outside of the zone. It is aiming to launch PSZ in 2023.
Aero HygenX Ray
CNW Group/De Havilland Aircraft of Canada
Startup Aero HygenX’s line of RAY products combine ultraviolet-C light with robotics to automate aircraft cabin cleaning processes. According to Aero HygenX, RAY uses motion-sensing technology to navigate itself through aircraft cabins without requiring an operator, so it can disinfect a narrowbody aircraft in as little as seven minutes to speed up sanitization processes for airlines between flights.
OEMs such as De Havilland Canada and MHI RJ Aviation Group are working with the startup to develop versions of RAY for their aircraft. RAY is also being used by carriers such as Avelo Airlines, Ethiopian Airlines and Ravn Alaska. In late 2020, Lufthansa Technik signed an agreement to begin distributing the RAY product line to airlines, MROs and ground handling companies.
Smart Space 4 Passengers
Credit: Charalambos Savvidis
Designed by aeronautical engineer Charalambos Savvidis, the Smart Space 4 Passengers concept would allow flyers to book an available seat in front of them that could transform into extra storage space or leg room. The design features a latch mechanism that allows a seat’s backrest to be rotated up to 90 deg. to one side via a hinge attached to the side surface of the backrest. Savvidis says the concept could also be ideal for passengers traveling with pets in carriers or babies in carrycots.
Air 4 All
Air 4 All is seating system that enables mobility challenged airline passengers to sit in their own powered wheelchair during a flight. The design—created by Flying Disabled, PriestmanGoode, SWS Certification and Sunrise Medical—features a seat equipped with a removable back and a flip-up bottom alongside a wheelchair attachment mechanism, guiding system and latch. SWS Certification says the complete aircraft seat will be certified and approved via either a technical standards order or supplemental type certificate.
Fly Your Wheels Suite
Credit: Wichita State National Institute for Aviation Research
Also enabling accommodation of passengers in wheelchairs is the Fly Your Wheels Suite from Wichita State University’s National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR). Developed in partnership with Collins Aerospace and Q’Straint, the certifiable installation concept entails a modification of the main bulkhead/closet near the first-class cabin of a single aisle aircraft to create an independent space that can accommodate WC19 manual and power wheelchairs. Wheelchairs would be secured to the main cabin floor using a system similar to those offered by Q’Straint. The modification requires moving the business seat rows backwards a few inches, but NIAR says it ideally will not require eliminating any rows of seats.
Credit: Covarians SAS
Aerometrix is a cabin air quality monitoring service developed by aviation Internet of Things company Covarians. It uses a combination of sensors installed on board the aircraft and a cloud dashboard to provide airlines with contextual data on things such as air quality, ventilation efficiency and cabin equipment health monitoring.
According to Covarians, the non-intrusive autonomous sensors can be customized to fit the cabin interior and are easy to install within an aircraft turnaround time. In addition to optimizing passenger comfort and safety, Covarians says Aerometrix can be used to identify specific maintenance needs, such as slowly deteriorating equipment and performance trends.
Lufthansa Technik CabinSHINE
Credit: Lufthansa Technik
Lufthansa Technik’s (LHT) VIP Aircraft Services division has created a new repair solution for cabin surfaces that enables technicians to refresh cabin surface materials during routine maintenance or short ground times. Called CabinSHINE, LHT says the solution is up to eight times cheaper and up to nine times faster than conventional repair methods. According to LHT, CabinSHINE focuses on sustainable repairs with minimal use of materials and it can be applied to any cabin without the need for qualification.
The Next Experience and Group Comfort Seat
Credit: German Aerospace Center
The German Aerospace Center has come up with an aircraft seating concept that would allow passengers traveling in groups to sit in their own compartment. The Next Experience and Group Comfort Seat (NeXtGC) replaces conventional overhead storage compartments with stowage options under the seat and it can be converted into a group compartment or sleeping area. The concept may have extra appeal for travelers seeking distance, hygiene and privacy in the post-COVID world.
Collins Aerospace SpaceChiller
Credit: Collins Aerospace
Collins Aerospace’s SpaceChiller system uses advanced cooling technology, originally developed for the U.S.’s Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, to provide more efficient cooling of beverages and snacks onboard aircraft. It says SpaceChiller is ideal for premium cabin seats, but could also be applied in other parts of the cabin—such as single galley inserts and whole cart bays—due to its modularity and small size. The unit is able to integrate into the back wall of any compartment that requires chilling and Collins says multiple units can be installed in larger spaces to increase cooling capacity. According to Collins, the system will give airlines added flexibility in service, storage and workspace.
Mmillenniumm’s AirSleeper experimental seating design provides a “mini-suite” with a seat that converts to a flat horizontal bed as well as multiple surfaces at both seat level and above passengers’ heads. The company says the seating configuration optimizes space, so airlines can increase passenger density while allowing a more comfortable passenger experience at premium economy prices.
Airbus Flex OLED
Airbus has developed a flexible screen product that it says could pave the way toward “a more digitized cabin with smart integrated Internet of Things devices connected wirelessly.” The OEM says its Flex OLED (organic light-emitting diode) display is ultra-thin and ultra-light, so it could be adapted to any cabin surface with minimum integration efforts. In its iteration for the Crystal Cabin Awards, Airbus worked with Recaro on a potential application for the screen to be applied like a sticker on aircraft seatbacks.
The companies did not respond to a request for comment on what the Flex OLED Kit consists of and how it would be installed in the cabin.
A look at new cabin innovations that could provide improvements for passenger experience and cabin maintenance—plus a few interesting seating concepts.
Lindsay Bjerregaard is managing editor for Aviation Week’s MRO portfolio. Her coverage focuses on MRO technology, workforce, and product and service news for AviationWeek.com, Aviation Week Marketplace and Inside MRO.