Posted on: 18 August 2016 by Mark Howells
Engineers working in product development for Boeing Commercial Airplanes have created a technology demonstrator called vCabin, an advanced cabin prototype designed to test smart cabin concepts.
Recent technology tested in vCabin connects passengers to their environment through their smart devices, allowing them to control personal lighting, order food or drink items, check lavatory availability or download entertainment.
Deborah Regan, principal investigator in product development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes, commented, “It’s basically what we’re calling ‘bring your own device’, which we see as the future.”
Testing involved connecting smart devices to reading lights and other features through small chips embedded near the specific features, requiring no Wi-Fi service. Reagan claims the connection to the chip is secure and is neither connected to flight-critical aircraft systems or traditional in-flight entertainment systems.
“What it offers the passenger is a way to interact with the cabin in a way they never have before,” added Dan Bittner, lead engineer in product development, Boeing Commercial Airplanes.
Cabin crew members could use the technology to monitor cabin systems during flight and make sure that everything is working at the highest level, Reagan continued. Then, if there’s a problem, the cabin device could automatically inform maintenance personnel on the ground so it can be repaired immediately after touchdown.
“The vCabin is a great tool to test the inventive ideas we come up with for future cabin improvements,” remarked Reagan. “We can get them working, put the ideas through their paces and get a real-world evaluation of the innovations in action.”