The electro-mechanical shades that I was talking about the other day are gaining a fan base. Emirates reveals it has installed the shades on its very latest Airbus A380s, and that it is bringing them to its Boeing 777s. And the carrier's passengers are applauding.
"My father flew on [the A380] and he said [the shade] was brilliant. If my 75-year old father can tell me about a feature on a plane, which is not the sort of thing he notices, that is quite something. There are little things like that that add to the overall experience," Emirates vice-president for passenger communications Patrick Brannelly told me yesterday in a most illuminating interview, from which many a future blog will stem.
Brannelly went on to describe the shades: "The first one comes down and kicks out most of the sun. You still get a nice light, and the next one is totally opaque. There is two blinds."
On a total aside, Lufthansa has just launched a web site for A380 fans. Check it out at http://a380.lufthansa.com Will Luftie opt for electro-mechanical shades for the big bird?
Now, for those of you who have not yet read the responses to my original shadalicious blog, let me urge you to do so...or simply read on.
A reader chimed in with an update on Hawker Beechcraft's electronic window shades.
"This shade uses SPD (suspended particle device) technology that enables a window to go from clear to dark or anywhere in between with the touch of a button. Unlike the electrochomic technology being used by the Boeing 787, this switches from clear to dark (and back) in 1-2 seconds," he says.
The posting is impressive. Here it is in its entirety:
I saw an article in the NY Times about the Qantas A380. The author, Paul Goldberger is an architect and Pulitzer Prize winner who wrote the article for the Times. He was awed by the window in the lavatory which went from dark to clear as soon as the door was shut, enabling one to see outside from 30,000 feet. This was an electronic window shade...no pull down shade or motorized shade, like ATG's.
You can check out the "electronic window shades" by going to hawkerbeechcraft.com. Then click on the "buy parts" link, which then takes you to the RAPID page. Once there, you'll see a box in the center of the page that changes from "Heated Seats" to "Free Shipping" to "Secure your investment" to "Electronic Window Shades".
The total time sequence to see all four is 20 seconds. You can "click here to learn more" and see the specs for the SPD shades. It's appears to be a great technology, which could replace motorized and pull down shades because the electronic shades are lighter, thus saving fuel, have no moving parts, and permit the light level to be finely tuned just like you'd do with a dimmer swith in your dining room.
A quick follow up to my last comment. The SPD "smart glass" technology I wrote about was used for over 60 partitions and windows at the University of Indiana's "Health Information and Translational Sciences" building. Here's the link to the press release.
(Diagram of Hawker Beechcraft shade above)