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Published: 26 Feb 2019

Smart Textile Seating Promotes Healthy Flying

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Move by Layer for Airbus

A new seating concept for Airbus rethinks comfort in economy class for short and mid-haul flights, using smart textiles and a mobile app. Move by London-based design studio Layer allows passengers to monitor and adjust their seating conditions to create the optimal in-flight experience.

The prototype seating consists of a lightweight composite frame and an innovative, digitally knitted seat cover. Made from a polyester-wool blend – chosen for heat regulations, robustness and tactility – the cover is embedded with conductive yarn and a series of sensors that track passengers’ weight, movement and temperature, feeding the data back to the app. 

While the seat adjusts automatically and accordingly to maintain optimum conditions, passengers can make additional changes or choose a predetermined seat mode via the app, such as ‘massage’, ‘mealtime’ or ‘sleep’. Meanwhile, targeted messages prompt passengers to move around the cabin during the journey and suggest in-seat stretches to improve circulation.

Aircraft-grade aluminium and carbon fibre are used for the adaptable seat structures, bypassing the need for traditional foams used in standard seating, which are difficult to recycle and weighty. This reduced on-board weight drastically improves fuel efficiency, thus making flights ‘greener’. 

As well as improved comfort and reduced environmental impact, the Move concept also allows for extra flexibility and customisation options within aircraft cabins. The easy-to-remove seat cover allows airlines to change or update colourways or patterns. Seating can be configured pre-flight to fit a variety of passengers and in-flight scenarios, such as different ages, heights and sizes, and to create adequate spaces for working, eating or sleeping.

This concept proves there is space for holistic systems and personalised solutions within economy markets – innovations shouldn’t be reserved for business class only. See Agile Airlines Reshape Travel and Elastic Airlines for more on in-flight experiences synced with personal health and wellbeing. 

See Colour-Changing Fabric for another smartphone-controlled fabric concept and CMF Industry View: Mass Transportation for aircraft interiors. 

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