Published on Wednesday, 29 October 2014 00:00
More than a century ago, everyone thought that humanity had already achieved all that it could and it would be impossible for humans to fly. The Wright brothers did not pay much heed to what majority of the world believed, and despite being mocked and laughed at, persisted with pushing the boundaries of physics, trying to create a flying contraption that man can control. Their persistence paid off, and we now travel the world by soaring through the skies at mind-boggling speeds in a huge metal container all thanks to the Wright brothers. Many of us love requesting for the window seat in a plane so that we can dreamily stare out into the sky, but it is so annoying sometimes because the window is so tiny, you practically have to plaster your face to the glass to see anything. But all that is going to change soon as a UK company is working on designing a windowless aircraft. Instead of windows, the plane would be covered from all sides with high-definition, flexible screens to show what's happening outside as it soars through the clouds.
In other words, there will be no actual windows in the plane's passenger section. The walls, ceiling and floor of the plane would be fitted with flexible screens live broadcasting what the skies look like just right outside the jet, creating the illusion that the cabin walls are transparent and you're flying through the skies in your seat.
UK-based tech innovation company Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) hopes to be among the first to design a windowless plane, but the concept for windowless aircrafts isn't entirely new. A Paris-based company has a similar project currently in development, and there is also a design in the works for a windowless jet. But CPI believes the vision could become a reality within 10 years.
The imaging you would see from the panels fitted all around the plane would come from cameras strategically mounted outside of the aircraft that the developers say could offer an unobstructed panoramic view, meaning no visible wings or engines. Users could also adjust the settings and use the displays for in-flight services, the company said.
So imagine the endless possibilities available! An airline that does themed flights could choose to switch off the cameras and play a specially filmed video on the panoramic screens of fishes swimming around in the ocean, giving you the illusion that you are immersed underwater, or a bloody LOTR epic battle!
The plane would use OLED screens (a high-end, thin-film display technology) with protective coatings made to preserve the displays for its lifetime. Passengers would also be able to see and set their screen to show a live stream of outside surroundings from a completely different portion of the plane.
But this isn't just about a cool new flight experience. CPI has made some pretty substantial claims about what this sort of technology could do for the flight industry. For starters, the plane walls would be thinner, more lightweight and stronger than what we have now, enabling the plane to be able to fly faster and reach its destination sooner.
CPI also stated that it will also be cheaper, which could lead to less costly flights for travelers. According to its calculations, each time plane weight reduces by just 1%, there is a 0/75% savings in fuel cost, so the passenger, manufacturer and the airline will save money.
Of course, what the company says might happen and what would actually happen in the next decade are two very different things. It might be cheaper for the manufacturer and the airline, but there is a very high possibility that the airline would charge a lot higher than its normal flights for its unusual, immersive flight experience. But with everything else said, this would definitely be a game changer for all commercial aircrafts.
Check out the video below to find out more about CPI's windowless jet project.