April 15, 2024

How to… lighten up

Passenger wellbeing is moving up the agenda and cabin lighting technology is among onboard tools that can help, says April Waterston
Study the science
Move over light bulbs and fluorescent strips, today the touch of a button turns us on to Human Centric Lighting (HCL). It’s the science of lighting and can support the health and wellbeing of humans wherever they are by combining the visual, biological and emotional benefits of light. And it can work for traveller wellbeing too. By emulating the natural lighting patterns we receive on the ground, it is possible to limit the effects of jet lag and trick the body into a new, local circadian rhythm before landing.

Identify solutions
In November last year, Etihad Engineering, SCHOTT, Jetlite, and Lufthansa Technik signed an agreement to cooperate on HCL development. The collaboration aims to create an effective system for automated cabin lighting scenarios that will positively affect air travellers’ wellbeing.

Personalise lighting
Personalised lighting is key. Jetlite and Inflight VR have been investigating the possibility of a VR headset that could tailor the lighting to each passenger.

Panasonic also offers personal lighting options with its Premium Seat Lighting solution, which allows each passenger to tune to their needs.

Andrew Mohr, head of innovation at Panasonic Avionics, says: “Lighting can significantly enhance the passenger experience. Our solution is designed to adjust light levels to enhance meal presentation and reduce eye strain, and simulate sunset and sunrise lighting. This can help passengers sleep and wake more naturally and gracefully, and helps thems adjust to time zone changes, rest better, and fall asleep faster.”

Reduce motion sickness
Lighting can also be used onboard to minimise the impact of motion sickness. A new product currently in testing onboard is a product called the Boarding Ring (pictured). Strips installed vertically inside the cabin light up to emulate the natural horizon – as the aircraft turns, the boundary of the lit-up section moves to give the impression of a moving horizon in the passenger’s peripheral vision. This is already working successfully on ships and in cars to alleviate travel sickness.