If the lack of bandwidth on your bizjet’s Ethernet network prevents you from emailing that large presentation file while little Suzy watches YouTube videos, check out Heads Up Technologies’ Lumin cabin management system (CMS) at Booth No. 5066.
Using a combination of fiber-optic and wireless technologies, the Lumin CMS provides bandwidth of up to 40 gigabits per second, enough to allow each passenger to simultaneously access the Internet, watch different Blu-ray movies from the aircraft’s video library, listen to different XM radio stations, watch moving-map and weather displays or control cabin comforts such as temperature and lighting from either built-in touchscreen consoles or apps on consumer devices.
“The fiber [optics] is certainly a key element in the system, although it’s transparent to the passenger,” said Heads Up president, CEO and founder Rob Harshaw. “It saves a lot of weight in the aircraft, simplifies installation and allows scalability. With [the bandwidth of] fiber optics, you don’t have to worry about some new technology coming out that your wiring system can’t handle.”
Although Heads Up is working toward obtaining FAA STC and PMA certification for an aftermarket wireless version of the Lumin CMS in mid-2013, currently the Lumin CMS is only available through OEMs. For example, the Lumin CMS serves as the underlying platform of Cessna’s Clairity CMS scheduled for implementation on the Citation Ten, Longitude, Latitude and M2 business jets, but customized to Cessna’s specifications for each aircraft model.
“The [Lumin] system is one of the first CMSes focused on creating a brand-able passenger experience that’s scalable across the aircraft product line,” said Harshaw. “We worked with Cessna to develop a custom user interface and integrate the touchscreen technology into the aircraft interior so it looks like part of the airplane and disappears when not in use. It’s really a different experience; very fluid, very intuitive.”
According to Harshaw, Heads Up engineers and designers were able to transfer knowledge gained from designing theme-park ride interfaces to providing a rich passenger experience on the Clairity interface. “We learned from the best about creating user experiences and what the user is really looking for,” said Harshaw, who admitted that about 5 percent of Heads Up revenues come from the theme-park industry, although he could not say which parks or rides use Heads Up technology. “We’ve watched how well [theme parks] consider the experience from beginning to end. The mindset that you’re creating a user experience has given us a very interesting approach [to CMS design].”
The Lumin CMS incorporates fiber optics, distributed processing, wireless and digital content management technologies to provide passenger access to Blu-ray video and digital audio libraries, Internet connectivity, seat-to-seat texting and cabin-control functions. Applications are available to allow control from a variety of consumer devices such as iPads, iPhones and Android devices.
Heads Up is also showcasing new RGB LED and variable white light cabin lighting systems here at NBAA’12. According to Harshaw, the RGB LEDs provide a wider range of colors available to match cabin interiors and provide better color fidelity over time and temperature changes. The variable white light systems use LEDs that shed “warmer” light when they are dimmed, similar to the behavior of dimmable incandescent lights in homes.