TU Delft students win 2014 Crystal Cabin Award

The 2014 Crystal Cabin Award was presented to three IDE master’s students for their work on the innovative in-flight program Sense the Transitions.

Anna-Louisa Peeters, Karan Shah and Dorine van Meeuwen received the prestigious award on behalf of TU Delft for their excellence in aircraft interior innovation during the official ceremony in Hamburg on April 8 2014. The annual Crystal Cabin Award competition aims to stimulate the development of new products and designs for aircraft cabin interiors among international companies and research facilities.

In collaboration with French corporation Zodiac Aerospace, the team designed a one-of-a-kind, in-flight entertainment program, which allows passengers to view information regarding the culture, history, and natural environment of the land area directly below the aircraft. “Currently, the in-flight experience during long distance flights is very static,” says Dorine van Meeuwen. “Our objective was to make the transition of the aircraft more perceptible.” With an estimated 50% of airline passengers opting to view the flight-tracking program over the available media channels, Van Meeuwen claims that Sense the Transitions seeks to improve overall in-flight experience by engaging passengers with their surroundings. The project was initiated during an IDE Master course on Service Design Process, under the guidance of Dr. Froukje Sleeswijk Visser and Christine de Lille.

“Receiving this award was very surprising,” says Anna-Louisa Peeters. “We just had a lot of fun working on the service design together. Being appreciated so much for it was humbling.” Indeed, the project served as a valuable opportunity for the IDE students to gain practical service design experience while working with an actual client. “Since we are all mostly involved in innovation projects, a conservative industry like that of aviation or healthcare can be either wonderfully challenging or rather frustrating. You need patience if you want to innovate in such environments.”

Be that as it may, the entire experience proved to be rewarding. “Alongside our professors, there were engineers and decision-makers from Zodiac who guided us with their feedback during the crucial milestones of the project,” explains Karan Shah. “This gave the project an added layer of validity, commitment and real-time feel. The challenge bridged the gap between the academic world and the aerospace industry very well.” Through the combination of existing technologies and collaboration with strategic partners, the team is convinced that aerospace companies can develop more unique and radical innovations to improve passenger experience.

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