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CPI is working with several companies to demonstrate technologies which facilitate lightweight, high definition display screens that are as thin as a sheet of paper, and flexible enough to be wrapped around a pencil. Innovations in printable electronics and graphene mean that next generation displays are now being produced on polymer films, opening up a host of design opportunities.
The flexible nature of plastic allows display screens to be conformable to aircraft cabin wall panels, or embedded within seat backs, displacing unsightly, heavy housings, and enabling high quality in-flight entertainment displays that weigh less and take up less space. Plastic displays offer the added benefits of being shatterproof, having low power requirements and the ability to be semi transparent.
Commercialisation: 0-5 Years
Printed lighting technology will introduce a new era of cabin interior design. The ability to print light onto curved surfaces, both large and small, will mean that any surface in the aircraft can be illuminated, whether it is the floor, ceiling, walls or seats.
Printed lighting offers excellent energy efficiency, a varied colour palette, thin form, and greater design freedom. It also provides opportunities to customise products through bespoke design manufacturing.
Commercialisation: 0-5 Years
Through collaborative work with our partners in research and industry, CPI is helping to develop the technologies needed to commercially realise OLED displays across a wide range of novel applications, including back-lit heads-up displays. In the future, using printable electronic materials, the cockpit windshield will incorporate transparent graphene materials which, when activated, illuminate to display flight path and control panel information directly into the pilot’s line of sight.
Commercialisation: 5-10 Years
The days of glimpsing the world through a tiny plastic porthole are soon to be a thing of the past; future aircraft will offer every passenger in the cabin a window free, crystal clear, panoramic view. CPI is working with industry to develop thin, flexible, high-definition display technologies, technologies which could line the interior walls of cabins and display live footage from cameras embedded in the fuselage of the aircraft.
As well as surrounding passengers with panoramic views of the skies, this interactive ‘digital wallpaper’ will allow travellers to personalise their environment, providing options to adjust lighting or find information about geographic features that are passing by. It could also be used as a multimedia device for in-flight entertainment. Using OLED technology, the thin, bendable and lightweight display screens will blend with the panels and other surfaces in the cabin, such as seat backs, thus optimising use of the available space.
This view of the skies will not only offer a vastly improved passenger experience that will transform the experience of the journey; elimination of the windows will also significantly improve fuel efficiency by reducing the weight of the aircraft!