During the third and final day of RedCabin’s Aircraft Cabin Innovation Summit in London, British creative firm New Territory released details of a new company, Universal Movement, and its patented launch project, the Interspace Comfort System, aimed at addressing the lack of innovation in high-density seating on aircraft.
Surrounded by delegates from RedCabin’s Aircraft Cabin Innovation Summit eager to see the unveiling of his company’s new aircraft seat design, New Territory’s founder and chief creative officer Luke Miles explained, “Not enough time, thought and resources have been invested into the back of the aircraft cabin. If you consider the psychology of the cabin, its linear, grid-like form is restrictive, and as a result, seats have been designed for what is essentially an unnatural posture and seating position.”
New Territory posits that given the choice, few passengers would choose to sit upright with their feet stretched out for any length of time. It uses the example of passengers leaning on the window of the aircraft using makeshift pillows to highlight their need to rotate and redistribute their weight within the seat.
Breaking #aircraft interiors news: Luke Miles, Co-Founder/Creative Director @NewTerritory_io unveils the Interspace aircraft seat & new interiors company in London. Premium Expnomy travellers, rejoice! #paxex #RedCabin2019 #AvGeek #design #innovation pic.twitter.com/9G2i254IZ8
— APEX (@theAPEXassoc) December 5, 2019
It was this thinking that inspired spin-off company Universal Movement and its launch project, the Interspace Comfort System. Featuring two padded wings that fold out from the seatback, the seat allows passengers to rotate and redistribute their weight with greater lateral support, no matter which seat they’re in.
Passengers can choose to deploy only one of the seat’s wings to accommodate different sleeping preferences and body shapes. There is also the option of deploying one wing on either side of multiple adjacent seats, effectively creating a private bay for families or small groups. “Interspace could be particularly valuable for the growing, ultra long-haul market,” said Miles.
Much like the way an armrest can be rotated upward to allow passengers to move to and from their seat, Interspace uses living hinges so the wings can be easily folded back into the chair’s upholstery. The hinges are also connected to the material at the back of the seat using a composite assembly so that they’re robust enough for passengers to lean on. They can be removed and washed if necessary. Miles stated,”We did a number of iterations where we were experimenting with a mechanical pullout of the wing, but actually what we did is we make an origami fold.”
.@NewTerritory_io’s seat prototype adds a new level of comfort with two wing flaps on the side – letting you rest how you want!
— RedCabin (@RedCabin_Events) December 5, 2019
The wings offer opportunities for customization, whether in terms of simple airline branding or passenger experience-enhancing technology. New Territory suggests that speakers could be used to create a more immersive experience, while facial recognition technology could be inserted into the seatback – something it plans to explore with future products.
New Territory has worked with EASA Part 21J-approved design organization SWS to ensure the design is fully certifiable. Nigel Smith, SWS’ managing director, commented, “We’re excited to be partnering with Universal Movement to provide the certification package. It’s rare that such simple, innovative solutions can be so easily implemented in areas of the aircraft that are traditionally hard to evolve and improve.”