Our annual stop at the IFPL booth at AIX is never, never dull. Claire and Geoff Underwood always seem to dream up the best stuff in their home country, the Isle of Wight – off the coast of England. Yes, it is a separate country, but that’s another story. InFlight Peripherals is an IFE solution provider as well as a technology house – which explains the new gizmo part. Here are some of the “IFE gimmicks” we really liked:

1. Long Life Jack. You will note in the image that the earphone plug is not changed from the standard 2.5 mm sized unit used universally today. The secret is in the shoulder of the jack itself. The off-center release design coupled with the wider-than-normal jack insert hole allows headphone removals at angles of some 80 degrees off the centerline. Big deal you say? Geoff told IFExpress that airlines spend a lot of loot opening PCU’s and seat arms to remove broken headphone jacks that have piled up inside rendering the seat audio INOP! Yep, we tried it and it works. We could not jam the headset plug by pulling at almost any angle.

2. Breakaway Jack – Here, in the words of Claire Underwood, is the note we got on the new product: “I realize that the picture you have is of our Long Life™ jack, which is the basis for the new Breakaway Jack, it uses the same internal design as the long life, but has new design features such as  the addition of a cuff, which, when coupled with a shorter pin on the headset (no more expensive than regular pins) allows a 90 degree pull out.  I have attached a sequence of photos that help explain it. The last image shows how the breakaway jack is compatible with regular A1 headsets as well.”

3. Audio Power Jack (AP) – Again in the words of Claire Underwood: “I have also attached a drawing of the AP (audio power jack).  This has an IFPL INCAM, which is a low cost noise cancellation audio jack and a regular USB port.  Note the INCAM is also a  Rapid Fit™ jack, which can be changed quickly rather than having to remove the whole module. Our INCAM is the result of taking the expensive noise cancellation electronics out of the headset and placing them out of harm’s way in the jack module.  You still need special headsets, but they are far less expensive than NC headsets, additionally the INCAM is compatible with regular headsets. This jack has been received well, in particular by low cost carriers, because passengers can charge a PED and get quality audio all in one module. It is a neat solution for airlines who do not have a full embedded IFE system.”

If you are looking for a solution for broken headset jacks, or any jack for that matter, check out http://www.ifpl.com/. Hey, you might get to visit the Wight house.

NEWPORT IOW, UK. – April 2011 — IFPL has developed a new version of its highly successful Long Life ™ jack. Using all the internal features that has made the Long Life jack so popular, (see below) the Breakaway jack (patent pending) adds an even better (90˚) breakaway feature.

IFPL believes this solution offers similar properties to a magnetic jack, at a lower cost and without the need for expensive headsets. The Breakaway jack uses a headset with a shorter pin, similar to a phono pin. This type of headset is the same cost as a regular pin headset. It inserts easily into the redesigned outer cuff of the Breakaway jack, is held nicely in place, but can be pulled out at an angle of 90˚.

In order for magnetic jacks to be backward compatible (i.e. able to accept normal headsets), they have to have a normal jack in the middle of the magnetic jack. IFPL’s breakaway jack is compatible with all standard and noise cancellation headsets without the extra cost. All airlines have to do is fit the jack.

Long life features:
• The Long Life jack has been tested to 100,000 insertions, way above the industry standard of 5,000.
• Push through feature for debris. (Any broken tips push through to the housing without breaking the jack).
• Robust construction materials.
• Smoother design to limit the likelihood of headset tip breakage.