Paris Air Show

Paris 2011: New Portuguese Consortium Launches Eco-Friendly Cabin

 - June 23, 2011, 5:05 AM

L.I.F.E., a new Portuguese multi-discipline consortium, has been formed to explore “the design, development and industrialization of functional technical solutions for aircraft interiors,” and will work in collaboration with Almadesign of Porto Salvo, Portugal, and Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer.

The L.I.F.E. group is made up of Amorim Cork Composites, leather provider Couro Azul, INEGI institute of mechanical engineering and industrial management, and SET injection mold prototyping. The collaboration with Embraer, according to L.I.F.E., brought “a direct and privileged access to the view of an aeronautical integrator, facilitating access to information on market trends and technological solutions for the interior cabin.”

The first product born of that consortium and its collaborators can be seen at the Portuguese Pavilion in Hall 3 in the form of an 18-foot long, full-scale cabin mockup.

The entry to the mockup consists of two modules (galley and storage) made of composite panels consisting of carbon fiber and cork core, a melding of technology and nature. In the executive area, leather “corkgel” allows seats to adapt to the body shape of each passenger through a biometric identifier and memory. The system floats on a suspended structure of carbon fiber that reduces vibration and adds to comfort. Technological interfaces are integrated in the surfaces to form a “skin2skin” technology that is accessible but at the same time invisible to the eye.

The design of the windows, based on a conceptual approach and using advanced composite materials, allows greater visibility and abundant natural light. Thermal and acoustic comfort is provided by composite sandwich panels using a cork-based insulation core, covered in natural leather or corkleather.

Retractable touchscreens are installed in the seats and offer “permanent and simple connection to the cloud.” Two large divans create an area of comfort, leisure and work centered around a multi-touch table.

Interactivity is enhanced through the “Sphere” immersive infotainment system. The system consists of the geodesic sphere built in modules on which images are projected, creating a virtual environment for a variety of uses, from business to entertainment.

The lavatory combines shower and Jacuzzi and includes a large window. Finally, the sleeping area is defined by a bed on a lightweight composite structure that appears to float weightlessly off the floor.

With an investment of approximately $2.6 million, L.I.F.E. is a Portuguese-funded, integrated project with controlled cost and risk. It aims to return the investment by demonstrating capacity and leveraging other projects and activities.

It further aims to introduce improvements in research and development, organization, cooperation and management of enterprises, as well as to support their presence in the international market.

Funding was from the Portuguese National Strategic Framework Program under the Operational Program for Competitiveness Factors and European Regional Development Fund.