Boeing Wants To Turn The Interiors Of Its Planes Into Giant Screens

Boeing Wants to Turn the Interiors of Its Planes Into Giant Screens

The use of mood lighting on planes has almost become cliché — ahem, Virgin — but what if airlines could take that idea a bit further, actually using LEDs and projected imagery to wholly improve the flying experience? Boeing has a pretty great idea for what a well-lit plane of the future might feel like.

A new concept video from Boeing's product development division shows how lighting can do more than just add chiller vibes, according to Boeing's Mike Sinnett. "Airlines could use these lighting enhancements on the walls and bulkheads to display information about the destination or to project scenes that get passengers thinking about where they're going," he said. "The possibilities are endless about how this technology could be used."

What's remarkable is how simple many of these ideas are — they wouldn't really require much change in the way that the planes are actually designed. Watch the video for some groovy tunes as you imagine yourself gliding over the Atlantic. I've collected some of my favourite features here.

Boeing Wants to Turn the Interiors of Its Planes Into Giant Screens

There's no reason why airlines shouldn't be using the ceilings of their cabins like this. A simple projection can make it feel less like you're crammed in a claustrophobic airborne tube with hundreds of germ-ridden strangers and more like like you're slicing through the clouds on in a convertible jet. This is already a popular idea gaining traction — check out this concept for the first supersonic private jet.

Boeing Wants to Turn the Interiors of Its Planes Into Giant Screens

In addition to seats that actually look comfortable, the use of projection technology can apply to in-flight entertainment. The entire seat-back becomes a "screen".

Boeing Wants to Turn the Interiors of Its Planes Into Giant Screens

Instead of a cramped closet in the rear where flight attendants must prep drinks, why not give them a snazzy bar complete with well-lit workspace and actual countertops?

Boeing Wants to Turn the Interiors of Its Planes Into Giant Screens

Again it's nothing terribly complicated — a giant projection TV, essentially — but what a difference this makes. It creates a glowing, welcoming hub in the centre of a plane, instead of a big hunk of beige plastic. And there's sushi!

Now if you'll just step this way to first class...

Boeing Wants to Turn the Interiors of Its Planes Into Giant Screens

Again, some big cushy seats that actually look comfortable. That in-seat lighting is actually pretty smart, too as it helps you too see the outlines of the seats when it's very dark in the cabin (I assume you can turn them way down when you're sleeping).

Boeing Wants to Turn the Interiors of Its Planes Into Giant Screens

Personal entertainment centres in first class can use the same kind of projection technology to create more immersive viewing experiences.

Boeing Wants to Turn the Interiors of Its Planes Into Giant Screens

Although won't we just all just be using VR headsets when we fly?

Boeing Wants to Turn the Interiors of Its Planes Into Giant Screens

The same ceiling projections that bring daylight to a cabin can provide more soothing nighttime light as well. Imagine seeing a real-time feed of the very same constellations one might see if the plane had a giant skylight. The night sky could slowly give way to sunrise, creating a more natural way to wake up from your red-eye, and making for a much more pleasurable arrival at your destination.

[Boeing via Daily Mail]



    Leg room first, then do what ever you want boeing (and Airbus).

    There’s no reason why airlines shouldn’t be using the ceilings of their cabins like this

    You're thinking like a passenger not a airline executive.

    Fancy features add weight. Weight means more fuel. That means less profit.

    You might see something like this in first class but the motto of economy is "Oh, are you going to take a boat are you? Sit down and shut up"

      Not necessarily. If they are intending to use screens like the ones that you can unroll and hang on the wall like a poster in place of the ceiling panels they may very well save weight.

        If you remove windows entirely, you save a fair amount of mass, and things like this can help reduce the claustrophobic experience of being in a tin can at extreme altitudes

          You can't remove the windows, as they are needed to spot problems that might arise with the engines or wings.

            The pilots cannot see the engines on modern airliners! They rely on their comprehensive instrument systems to monitor what is happening. Airbus proposed this sort of thing several years ago. In the Airbus system the crew would be able to make any or all of the aircraft disappear in favour of screens that would show the actual outside of the aircraft.

      Extra cost associated with fuel burn would easily be compensated for by playing back to back ad's and infomercials, which is exacty what airlines will use it for.... Particularly in economy.

    Planes I have recently flown on (Long Haul) have variable colour mood lights (B787), with simulated starlight (Or was that just the A380 ?? B777?) on the ceiling at night.

    Get rid of windows to improve structure while looking out a window is a pleasure, the actual windows are usually dirty, with scratched up plastic inner pane and provide a limited view at the world.

    Live, user pannable 360 degree spherical vision is easier than ever to provide to passengers on their (existing) entertainment screen, ok, project the sky (simulated) onto the roof, no problem. That worked for the Truman show, until it didn't.

    Last edited 13/01/16 10:17 pm

    what a stupid idea. Like the first person said, LEG ROOM FIRST.
    Im on a plane the person in front wants to read with the light on , the person behind want to look out the window and let the light in.
    Where Im sitting I can adjust the light, shut the window and control my environment with compromise with the passenger next to me. With this overhead screen idea I have NO CHOICE , light I my face etc , just stupid.

      I'm with you on this. Sounds like a cool idea at first, but with more thought I think large images on the roof would be a problem. Aside from what you mentioned, I can't imagine the airlines *not* selling them as advertising space. So you'd be bombarded with full cabin ads for crappy, overpriced products.

      I'd also worry that if they make it too "lifelike" and project images of the sky and clouds you'd wind up with people being freaked out rather than calmed. I suspect a lot of people are able to fly because they mentally disconnect from the fact they're thousands of feet above the earth in a tin can simply because they *can't* see sky, clouds etc. If you made if obvious I reckon you'd get some serious freakouts.

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