On the 6th of January at CES2020 in Las Vegas, Gentex Corporation announced that Airbus is now offering the latest version of the company’s dimmable windows.
Gentex says the electronically dimmable windows (EDWs) will allow passengers to selectively darken their windows, as desired, while allowing them to view the scenery outside, just like the ones found on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Compared to previous generation designs that were introduced on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner, the new version darkens twice as fast and becomes 100 times darker. Gentex says this effectively eliminates more than 99.999 percent of visible light.
Additionally, the Airbus EDWs were designed to save installation and maintenance time by being one, single line-replaceable unit. The materials used are also more scratch resistant thanks to an improved dust cover.
“We worked together with Airbus to integrate the latest dimmable windows technology while further enhancing it with an additional speciality coating. The windows benefit aircraft operators and passengers alike, which ultimately enhances the user experience for everyone on board.”Gentex President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Downing.
Another benefit to using these enhanced EDWs is the incorporated heat control solution, which blocks infrared energy from entering the cabin. This reduces the dependence on air conditioning system, it also provides for a more comfortable aircraft upon boarding after being parked in the sun.
However passengers are known for complaining about the lack of total control, as flight attendants on the Boeing 787 Dreamliner have a master control option to dim or brighten the cabin as they desire.
Sam Chui recently encountered a similar issue on a Japan Airlines Dreamliner flight, where he couldn’t sleep properly due to the window not blocking all the light. To see an example of this, check out his video here:
In-depth details about the new window offering from Airbus are scarce and the manufacturer has declined to reveal details; however there are reports that more will be announced at the upcoming Passenger Experience Expo in Hamburg, from the 31st of March to the 2nd of April.
Flightglobal believes that the product will be offered as an option on the Airbus A350; but notes that the manufacturer has not revealed significant details, other than more information is due in the near future.
An alternate or additional option would be the A220, thanks to its modern design and large cabin windows that passengers praise.
How do dimmable windows work?
Unlike a simple blind that passengers can use to block light, by pulling a tab or activating a motor using an entertainment or seat control, Gentex dimmable windows work by using a proprietary electrochromic gel encapsulated between two thin glass panels.
When a low-voltage electric current is passed through the conductive coatings, and across the glass panels, an electrochemical reaction occurs that darkens or lightens the windows.
What are your thoughts on these improvements?