Monday, August 25, 2014

Coming Soon the Windowless Plane

By Tanya Powley

Imagine being on a flight where, in place of windows, screens lining the cabin project images of the sky outside. New technology that could help reduce the weight of an aircraft could soon see windowless planes take to the air.

Plastic display screens for use in aircraft cabins are one of several applications of printable electronics that are being developed at the Centre for Process Innovation in Sedgefield in northeast England, part of the government’s network of technology centres known as “catapults”.

By using conductive inks, printed electronics – technology that has long promised to enliven products from perfume bottles to food packaging – can incorporate electrical circuits in cardboard and plastic for just a few pence per unit. In pharmaceuticals, smart packaging could tell a patient when to take their medication, for example.

But it is the technology’s potential to help aircraft manufacturers create a windowless plane that is causing most excitement at the CPI for now. By replacing windows with an interactive plastic display screen, the weight of the aircraft would be reduced, helping to lower fuel costs.


  1. This is the stupidest idea the airline industry has entertained yet. Rather than the real experience of flying they will give passengers a virtual experience which could be obtained in ones living room! Rather than improving the experience by getting rid of the TSA or the government regs that have resulted in huge in-human inconvenient airports. This is what happens when businesses embrace government to protect them from competition. They stop focusing on satisfying true customer needs.

    1. Although I agree with most of your sentiments, if the weight of the plane can be reduced by 5% and aerodynamics improved 5% then it is a net boon to the average traveler. If you want windows, by God you'll pay for windows!

  2. Will value really be added by replacing passengers' only source of natural-spectrum light with electronic glow for a minuscule reduction in fares?

    The market will decide, but I don't see this one... taking off...

  3. If you are stuck in seat in the midfde isle, windows or windowless does not matter. Although, if the aircraft ceiling is also lined up with the plastic display screen, as long the airline does not pull a Las Vegas nighmare of blinking lights, it will be a plus.
    Most flights of over 1.5 hours will not miss the windows.