April 2012 Archives
innovations seemingly having gone as far as is currently possible in creating
more cabin space through redesigning physical fittings such as storage lockers
and seating, it appears the only way to increase it further is virtually.
A research and design demonstration from Panasonic demonstrating the possibilities offered by integrating, eye tracking, gesture control and voice command into an
This is done both physically, by eliminating the need for physical controls, and virtually by allowing passengers to explore virtual environments, both real and artificial.
The user is able to navigate these digital landscapes simply by looking at different parts of the screen as their eyes are tracked by camera. The
"As airlines try to cram more passengers on-board, how do you create that feeling of space," said Panasonic Avionics' corporate communications manager Brian Bardwell.
He sees the system as
Bardwell says the system requires 30-40 cm of distance between the user's face and the screen to operate and can be installed in screens as small as 9-inches. While no launch date has yet been announced for a gesture controlled IFE product, he says "we're really shocked by how positively the airlines have reacted to it and we'll be releasing it as soon as possible. "The technology's available now so this should easily be available [onboard aircraft] within two years," he says.
It is intended to be
part of an complete
Panasonic's eye tracking system has a distinct in-flight advantage over other gesture controlled devices, controlled in the manner of Tom Cruise's computer in the film Minority Report, to which it seems compulsory to make reference when writing about gesture control.
Accurately controlled using tidy movements of the eye, the system does not require dramatic gesticulation of arms, which when in closely confined economy seating could increase a feeling of confinement rather than reduce it.