Benjamin Hubert and his design agency Layer has conceived Move, a prototype of a new concept for economy class seating for Airbus driven by smart textiles. The use of smart textiles enables passengers to monitor and control various factors – including seat tension and temperature – using the Move app, also designed by Layer. The concept encourages passengers to move throughout the flight, improving passenger comfort and safety. The lightweight, adaptable seat structure reduces the on-board weight of the aircraft, resulting in significant fuel savings and a greener approach to flying. The Move concept was 18 months in development and is part of an ongoing relationship between Layer and Airbus dedicated to rethinking the flying experience.
Move is a new seating concept designed to improve the experience of economy class short to mid-haul flying. The prototype comprises a lightweight perforated composite frame with a knitted, one-piece sling seat suspended over it. This innovative seat cover is digitally knitted to form a smart textile with integrated conductive yarn and connected to a series of sensors and the Move app. This forms a holistic system that allows passengers to measure and control variables – including temperature, seat tension, pressure and movement – to enable users to easily and intuitively maintain their comfort.
The knitted seat cover has zones of various density knit that o er different levels of support to the body. Throughout the journey, the Move seat automatically adjusts based on passenger weight, size, and movement to maintain optimal ergonomic comfort. This is made possible by passing current through the conductive yarn to vary the seat tension. The passenger can make additional adjustments to the seat based on personal preference using the Move app. The Move app can also be used to engage different seat modes, such as “massage”, “mealtime”, or “sleep”.
The smart textile seat cover is constructed from a polyester wool blend – for heat regulation, robustness, and tactility – with integrated conductive yarn. The frame is crafted from aircraft grade aluminum and carbon fiber. This construction allows a significant reduction in the use of traditional foams which add weight and are di cult to recycle.
Throughout the flight, the Move seat sensors monitor passenger movement and temperature. This data is analyzed by the Move app, which then sends targeted messages to the passenger encouraging them to move in order to improve comfort. These messages include prompts to get up and move around the cabin to improve circulation, when and how to do in-seat stretches, and reminders to stay hydrated to regulate temperature.
The position of the seat is fixed – which addresses the issue of “legroom rage” caused by passengers unnecessarily reclining on shorter fights – and ergonomic comfort is instead maintained by allowing passengers to control the tension of the seat and understand how their movements can deliver greater comfort. This forward-thinking functionality is the result of an extensive research programme conducted with regular flyers to highlight and solve the main “pain points” during a journey.
Move has been designed to not only improve the ying experience for passengers, but also the airline and the environment. The knitted seat drastically reduces the weight carried on board, compared to standard economy seating, improving fuel efficiency. This approach also offers more pleasing visual transparency, reduces the amount of less-sustainable foam materials, and increases the ability of airlines to easily change or update colorways or pattern. The seat cover is also able to be easily and quickly removed during cabin changeover for washing.
Move can be configured by both airline and passenger pre-flight to t a wide variety of passenger and in-flight needs. Each seat back has a central island, containing the tray table, optional full In-Flight Entertainment System (IFE), and a small pocket for storage of personal items and small digital devices. The safety card information is printed on the reverse of the tray table.
The tray table is uniquely stowed vertically and has various modes. It rotates out to provide a half-size table; folds out to its full-size; and is height adjustable. This gives passengers additional knee room as needed, and enables different modes of usage for different scenarios – from using the table as a work surface or for eating, to using it as a stand for watching tablet devices, or even as a surface on which to rest while sleeping. This flexible configuration also caters to a wide variety of passenger ages, heights and sizes.
Laptop storage is located between the seats, which offers a secure place to store devices during take-o and landing and more leg room during the flight. The Move app will notify passengers if they have left a device in the pocket after landing through pressure sensitive-yarn.
The Move IFE system is also configurable, enabling airlines to offer different levels of in-flight service and product based on cost, weight, and scenario. Options include the integration of a minimal OLED display in the seatback; the ability to plug in a third-party screen; or a connection point for passengers to connect their own tablet device. The armrests are completely stowable, offering the option of a bench-like seating format for passengers traveling as couples or in groups.
all images shown with the consent of Airbus