Thales demonstrated the results of its in-flight entertainment (IFE) research and development efforts at the Paris Air Show on Tuesday, displaying flat-screen displays designed for aircraft cabins with eye-tracking and gesture-control capabilities.
(Stuart Dunleavy of Thales, demonstrating the in-flight gesture control system. Photo: Avionics Magazine)
Stuart Dunleavy, Thales vice president of media and connectivity business, said the two functions are the result of more than 18 months of work. The eye-tracking system allows users to select movies, games, television shows and moving map applications by looking at the screen and moving the cursor with their eyes.
"To be honest, we're not sure this will ever see the inside of an aircraft cabin, but there may be some other uses for this in the future," Dunleavy said, adding military, particularly on the company's TopOwl head-up guidance system, may be an application of the technology.
The gesture-control system, which utilizes the company's next-generation AVANT system—along with two additional cameras—works similarly to home gaming systems, allowing users to control the system with the wave of a hand.
"The model here is you're sitting in a first-class seat and you're able to control the system from a long way away," Dunleavy said.
The application within this system could include digital magazines, 360 degree views of destinations, interactive maps, movies, television shows and games, according to Dunleavy.
Development of the system is further advanced than the eye-tracking system, as the company has already seen interest from airlines for their premium cabins. This capability could be installed in aircraft cabins in 12-18 months, Dunleavy said.
Related: Commercial Avionics News