Problem: In-flight entertainment (IFE) refers to the entertainment available to aircraft passengers during a flight which provides the joy of flying while letting the airline recover its cost and increase profits. Due to increasing fuel costs and energy saving, airlines require lighter and more compact systems which at the same time should keep the passenger engaged in an entertaining activity.
Current Solution: The leading IFE in today’s major airliners is the head rest mounted televisions. Though the recent advancements in LCD displays and plasma televisions have rendered these devices lighter than before with significant addition in cost. For instance, the video equipment on a Boeing 747 weighs about 480 pounds, which is about 0.06% of the total aircraft weight. The IFE equipment currently being used are heavy and expensive, making them non-affordable for small carriers, especially those flying domestic routes. The added cost gets added to customer airline ticket price.
Solution: In order to offer a cost effective in-flight entertainment solution, we have come up with Flyscalebar. When you are flying in an airplane, have you ever looked outside the window and wondered what would be the height of the building or a mountain you just flew over. We did, and so we came up with a simple solution. Flyscalebar allows you to approximately estimate the height of an object, or distance between two objects.
Design: The device is rigged out of some cheap electronic spares. By using a microprocessor built in with an altimeter, we can calculate the height of the aircraft from the ground. The device comes with a glove which contains sensors that can measure the distance between two fingers, and their angle of inclination from the line of sight using flexible strain sensors. Through basic trigonometry, these values are plugged into corresponding equations and an approximate height of an object on the ground can be estimated. The device also contains an inexpensive LED display, which will display the estimated height of the object. The major highlights of this device includes: (1) real time updates, (2) less power consumption, and (3) ease of installation. Further, as this device does not have any communication modules, it is completely safe to use in commercial airlines. The weight of each Flyscalebar is about 1.765 oz, hence the total weight of all flyscalebars placed in Boeing 747 would only be 7.05 lbs (64 windows). In addition to passenger entertainment, flyscalebar would also result in fuel saving and ultimately cost saving.
Commercialization: At present, the price of device is expected to be about $25. If you have given in to the temptation to measure what you see on the ground from the window of your aircraft, you are not alone!