Posted on: 08 April 2014 by Mark Howells
French airframer, Thales, has unveiled a revolutionary immersive Business Class seat design developed in-conjunction with B/E Aerospace and design partners BMW Design Works.The seat is a finalist for the Premium Class & VIP category at the 2014 Crystal Cabin Awards. This year’s entry is a technological breakthrough, which incorporates into an aesthetically pleasing industrial design, visionary IFE concepts and viable products, blending the physical and virtual user interfaces into what the OEM calls “a seamless passenger experience.”The seat includes advanced technology innovations like touchpad controls integrated in the seat, Ultra-High Definition (UHD) main display screen, Passenger Control Display, Eye Tracking and Interactive Virtual Landscape Panel.These innovations are interfaced in the seat, to work in concert with products already on offer by Thales and third parties. These include the Thales SmartPIMs that allow passengers to interface their portable electronic devices with the IFE system, and Smart Device Ignition Wireless Charging.
SmartPIMs (Passenger Interface Modules) are small ¾” x ¾” replaceable and upgradable user interface modules containing USB, Magnetic Audio Jack, USB, Wi-Fi, Miracast, NFC, HDMI, Webcam, and WiHD. These modules are field replaceable and future wired/wireless interface technologies can be upgraded without redesigning the module housing as they are easily inserted and removed without complicated maintenance.Thales reckons NFC will revolutionise the industry. Marketing manager Clare Josey says, “You can take your phone and place it onto an NFC reader and the phone can recommend seat setting, change lighting or even remember your own preferences when you get up and wander around the cabin. Your data is captured and taken a way for use on your next flight.”Technologies embedded in the seat include: interactive Ultra High Definition main screen display, dynamic pivoting table display and the virtual landscape panel to provide advanced Graphical User Interface (GUI) capabilities to pass media and graphical information from one display screen to the next with hand swipe or eye control. There is also a Virtual Landscape Panel can be connected to external aircraft cameras to project the takeoff, landing and landmark images/video real-time.Naturally the seat includes Thales’ Eye Tracking Control, which uses a high resolution IR (Infra-Red) camera that tracks both eye movements to indicate an associated cursor movement on the seat display. Control can be customised to the passenger’s user interface preferences to enable eye-tracking control with touchpad, tablet control, gesture control or combination of any of them.It also incorporates Wireless Inductive Charging Technology that wirelessly charges personal electronics devices.Liz Moscrop, Inflight / Inflight-Online.comHamburg