The collaboration between Deutsche Telekom and Lufthansa has been centred on their need to make flying smarter by embracing fashion tech and other smart appliances. It is a project spearheaded by the finalists of the “Telekom Fashion Fusion & Lufthansa FlyingLab” fashion and technology competition. Busy working on intelligent solutions for the flight experience of tomorrow, three prototypes have already been presented and tested on board a Lufthansa Airbus A380 flight from Frankfurt to Houston.
Fashion Tech Enabling an Industry, All Aboard
The finalists were separated into three teams- team Lyra, team Smart Chair and team Feel.Flight. The Lyra team, with its “LYRA, Connect” web application, wants to improve future communication between passengers and cabin crew, and thus personal service on
board. For the flight attendants, LYRA Connect minimises routing and optimises service activities. Passengers can use their own mobile devices to send requests quickly to the flight crew. Passengers can use it to order drinks, for example, or ask whether they will make their connecting flights.
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The next available flight attendant sees the request directly in their field of vision, thanks to smart glasses, and knows immediately who has asked the question or placed the order. The flight attendants can also call up additional information about passengers. To do so, they have to stand on a signal field, which is installed on the floor in front of each seat. LYRA then displays the corresponding information discretely on the flight attendant’s augmented reality glasses. As a result, the flight attendant can find out in advance which language a passenger speaks, for example, or which meal preferences they specified.
The feel.flight team presented a full product system for improved individual communication and well-being on future long-haul flights. The centre for communications between passengers and flight attendants is a chatbot, which can be addressed through most of the widespread messenger apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger. The chatbot is capable of classifying passenger needs, arranging them by priority, and coordinating the appropriate service activities.
#Lufthansa is flying me to #CES in style! #FlyingLab #TelekomFashionFusion https://t.co/yEoTmoLmOi as board speaker “apparel as #data platform” with @Google #ProjectJacquard @LeviStraussCo, Prof. Paul Lukowicz, @deutschetelekom @WearableTech @Kreait #fashiontech for #airlines pic.twitter.com/9tHdRCNFLy
— SUPA (@supa_ai) December 29, 2017
For other matters, such as requests for food and drinks or tips against a fear of flying, a flight attendant becomes involved. Safe to be called smart clothing, their uniform cuffs contain small displays that are linked with microcontrollers. For increased travel comfort, a blanket with integrated neck pillow can be worn like a cape and adjusted to the passenger’s individual need for warmth. Vibrations in the blanket’s neck pillow can wake the passenger gently, without a flight attendant having to intervene.
“The Fashion Fusion Challenge shows how digitisation can positively change our travel experience onboard aircraft and increase our well-being”
Then finally there is team Smart Chair, all about the airline seat of tomorrow. More of a visionary concept study than a functional prototype, the Smart Chair focuses on flight passengers’ personal space. Every passenger will enjoy a fully customised flight experience in their Smart Chairs – from entertainment program to travel comfort. The Smart Chair team also worked on a new outfit for cabin personnel. The smart fabrics used to make the prototype uniforms are thermoregulated, breathable, antibacterial, and antiallergic. As such, they stand up to the high demands of flight attendant workwear.
On the innovative smart fashion team presentations, given at 33,000 feet, Antje Hundhausen, Vice President for 3D Brand Experience at Deutsche Telekom shared, “The Fashion Fusion Challenge shows how digitisation can positively change our travel experience onboard aircraft and increase our well-being. We see ourselves as enablers here, because smart gadgets, smart fashion, and wearables require connectivity. With our gigabit network of the future and the best network technologies, we offer smart future experiences.”
Founding editor-in-chief of FashNerd.com, Muchaneta is currently one of the leading influencers writing about the merger of fashion with technology and wearable technology. She has also given talks at Premiere Vision, Munich Fabric Start and Pure London, to name a few. Besides working as a fashion innovation consultant for various fashion companies like LVMH Atelier, Muchaneta has also contributed to Vogue Business, is a senior contributor at The Interline and an associate lecturer at London College of Fashion, UAL.