Windows are kind of a drag for aeroplanes — literally. They add extra weight, weaken the body, and generally slow the aircraft down. That’s why the new Spike S-512 Supersonic Jet won’t have any. Instead, passengers get to enjoy their sky-high surroundings on real-time, panoramic video screens.
It sounds a little silly, but it’s true. The $US80 million jet will feature an ultra sleek exterior outfitted with “micro-cameras” that will capture the pretty blue sky and little fluffy clouds as they stream by. The cameras are connected to curved displays that span the length of the aircraft and give passengers an unprecedented view. The displays can be dimmed if anyone wants to take a nap or, presumably, turned off completely if anyone wants to test out their claustrophobic tendencies. This is all while the supersonic jet is flying 1,370 miles per hour, and passengers are drinking blue wine.
Funnily enough, this screen idea is turning into a bit of a trend. We learned just a couple of weeks ago that Royal Caribbean outfitted the crappy, windowless rooms on its latest cruise ship with HD screens that made it look as if the room had a balcony.
Looking ahead, however, could these same screens be used to show media other than the sky and clouds outside, perhaps even films specially made for the immersive screens of luxury air travel? And could these displays also be hacked — or, more realistically, have extra content added to the backgrounds, making passengers see clear skies during turbulence or a sunrise after a long international flight
Either way, when you think about it, this screen trend really isn’t too dramatic a departure. After all, we’re already spending most of our lives looking at screens. Why not just make them bigger? [Spike Aerospace via Wired]