Fly more comfortably thanks to smart textile chairs

Benjamin Hubert of strategic design agency Layer designed Move, a prototype for economy class seating made with smart textiles for Airbus.

The seats consist of a lightweight, perforated, frame of aircraft grade aluminium and carbon fibre, and a cover. The cover, made of a polyester wool blend, is digitally knitted into a smart textile with integrated conductive yarn. The seat cover has zones of various density knit that offer different levels of support through the body. This construction allows for a significant reduction in the use of foams that are difficult to recycle. In addition, the lightweight, adaptable seat reduces the on-board weight of the aircraft, which saves fuel.

The chairs were designed to improve the experience of economy class. The seat automatically adjusts to a person’s weight, size and movements throughout the journey, by passing current through the conductive yarn. For extra comfort, the smart textiles allow passengers to monitor and control various factors themselves, like seat tension and temperature, through an app.

The seat’s sensors monitor the passenger’s movement and temperature and sends messages through the app that encourage the user to move in order to improve comfort. The 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.

The seat stands in a fixed upright position, preventing people unnecessarily putting their seat back. Ergonomic comfort is provided by controlling the tension of the seat.

“All too often, new concepts for flying are focused on innovation in business class,” Hubert says. “We were excited to take on this project with Airbus to find ways to improve and add value to the economy class experience – for both the passenger and the airline.”

Photos: Layer / Images shown with the consent of Airbus