APEX Redux 2012: Retractable Monitor, Familiar Faces, Connectivity, and Yoga!
If you don’t know Yukio Sugimoto, Aircraft Cabin System Founder and President, you should. For the last few months, Yukio has hinted at a new product and we wanted a chance to show it to our readers. Back in January, Yukio indicated that it would be a revolutionary new drop down monitor… but that was about all. If you visited their booth at APEX, you would have seen the device (patent-pending). When we got the inside story, we were pleasantly surprised and had to agree that it is indeed a revolutionary concept. The ACS retract is very cleverly designed and probably the most advanced on the market today and certainly is the lowest power unit. Here is a preliminary data sheet on Yukio’s new toy and we suggest you check out the block diagram of the electronics. The first thing we noticed was the lack of a big retract spring that allows activation in case of power loss. A big spring means a bigger motor to power the drop mechanism. As an engineer, yours truly caught the gist of the electrical storage. Yep, you guessed it, he stores energy in a capacitor(s) – not a spring. You might think that there is not enough energy in standard aircraft voltage to handle the screen retract and you might be correct except for another clever design trick. Yukio developed a switching power supply to jack up the system voltage enough and store it to get the required loss-of-system-power screen retract (Remember – P = V squared over R). One can see the the smaller motor in the magnified image. Lower power mechanical requirement (small spring) equates to a smaller actuator motor. Another feature is microprocessor control. By adding “smarts” with a processor, the unit can be programmed to adjust for head strike and other dynamic anomalies, as well as, counting operation cycles – a boon to maintenance tech’s. With all this technology the unit maintains a weight in the low 8 pound range. At APEX the retract featured a 9.7 inch screen, but Mr. Sugimoto told IFExpress that he is entertaining a 12″ monitor and see’s applications on B737’s and A320’s. We predict that the ACS retract will become an industry standard and should you get to another show where the unit is demonstrated be sure to check it out. You can reach Yukio Sugimoto at email@example.com
At APEX we ran into a “retired” Peter Daniello working in the Post Modern Group booth, and he wanted us to say hello to all his industry friends, so, here’s Peter.
Lee Costin, Mr. ARINC, had a compelling story to tell about the future of passenger wireless connectivity. To that end, the ARINC folks kindly provided a cabin diagram of their connectivity solution. Launched in 2011, the system is now tested and installation will begin on their first customer – Virgin Atlantic – in 2013. The message here is that it is no longer a “proof-of-concept”. In an actual installation, ARINC would provide the end-to-end integration of their COTS solution – Konotron servers, etc. ARINC helps obtain the STC and certification for their customers. The system is a very simple Wi-Fi solution that acts as a standalone IFE system for passengers who want to use their own devices. Connection to various PEDS is handled by the software and uses an open HTML standard, which also includes a payment module in the package. Launched in 2011 at APEX Seattle, the service is being promoted via the two ARINC offices in UK and Singapore today. Lee told IFExpress that they can even target passenger demographics. “By taking a very pragmatic approach, ARINC has a very cost effective way for airlines to offer Wi-Fi in the cabin!” Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Next, here is a great picture of John Guidon, Row 44 Tech Guru, who spent quite a lot of time in the IFExpress interview educating us on the “Row 44 experience difference” and why they have a clear advantage in that arena. His hidden message may be the widespread distribution of Ku band coverage, strong signal power, and weather insensitivity that a strong suit for those frequencies. Come to think of it, we have never talked to anyone who had a bad connectivity experience on a Row44 equipped plane. John noted that the company was quietly increasing their customer base and at the time of the show, they had around 370 aircraft installations – knocking down one installation per day! Coming soon – Russia’s Transaero and IcelandAir. According to Guidon, “Ku band European coverage starts in Iceland and on to Northern Norway, then goes down thru the Ukraine, Belarus, on to Dubai and on to Egypt, Lybia, Algeria, and on to to include the Canaries.” Obviously, one advantage of Ku band is the existing satellite coverage – worldwide. We got it, John. Check out their website for more info.
And last, but not least, we talked to Jamie Newland, Managing Director of Yocalm, the inflight video Yoga solution. However, we are still trying to figure out “downward-facing-dog” on a single aisle aircraft? Contact J.Newland@yocalm.com