An image of what future aircraft interiors may look like thanks to the development of the OLED plastic display technology. (Image courtesy of CPI)
The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) is developing ultra-flexible, high-definition display technologies that could line the interior walls of aircraft cabins and display live footage from external cameras, providing passengers with a panoramic view of the skies.
The UK-based centre says that the OLED plastic display screens, which are ultra thin, very light and highly flexible, would be integrated with the fuselage or the seat backs of future aircraft with no unsightly, clumsy or heavy housings, resulting in major weight savings.
As well as replacing the traditional small cabin window, the interactive ‘digital wallpaper’ will reportedly allow travellers to personalise their environment, providing options to adjust lighting or change the view. It could also be used as a multimedia device for in-flight entertainment.
“Our role is to turn innovative technology concepts such as OLED displays into manufactured products. Work has so far focused on the back layer and the flexibility and performance of Organic Thin Film Transistor arrays (OTFTs), which operate a screen’s individual pixels to form the picture,” said Dr Simon Ogier, Research and Development Manager at CPI.
“Now we know we can tightly bend these parts and maintain function, the challenge is to combine this with an equally flexible front layer for a fully flexible, high performance display.”
Fully integrated OLED technology is still in development across the globe, but progress within the UK is promising. CPI is able to create flexible OLED lighting devices of varying thickness and colours, and has recently demonstrated at pilot production scale that such devices can be flexed to a radius of 1mm without a decrease in performance. A technology roadmap has been devised to take the technology to commercialisation for the aviation sector.