Digital Interface
USOO8957791B2
(12) United States Patent
(10) Patent N0.2
Macrae et a].
US 8,957,791 B2
(45) Date of Patent:
(54)
AIRCRAFT INTERFACE
(58)
(75)
InventorSI James Macrae, Fife (GB); Murray
(73)
Assignee: Bluebox Avionics Limited, Langley
Feb. 17, 2015
Field of Classi?cation Search
CPC ..................................................... .. G08C 17/00
USPC ............. .. 340/971, 953, 980, 995.16, 995.19,
Skelton, Fife (GB)
370/395, 401, 466, 396
S ee app 1'leat'Ion ?lf
1t
hh't.
e or comp e e seam
ls Dry
(GB)
(*)
Notice:
(56)
References Cited
Subject to any disclaimer, the term of this
patent is extended or adjusted under 35
U.S. PATENT DOCUMENTS
U_s_c_ 154(1)) by 0 days_
6,014,381 A *
8,605,917 B2 *
_
(21)
APPI' NO"
(22) PCT Filed:
2005/0268319 A1
13/697,845
er
(87)
FOREIGN PATENT DOCUMENTS
PCT No.:
PCT/GB2011/000720
§ 371 (0X1),
(2), (4)1321“:~_
Jan. 30, 2013
WO 2006/071457
7/2006
OTHER PUBLICATIONS
.
II1ternatlOIla.1S earc h RepoIt fIOIIl PCT/GB2011/000720 i2 pages.
PCT Pub. No.: W02011/141702
* Cited by exammer
Date: NOV_ 17,
(65)
9/2011 Frisco et a1. .................. .. 725/77
.
W0
(86)
Bleacher et a1. .............. .. 381/86
12/2005 Brady
2011/0219409 A1*
125212572?le 1 47)
n
1/2000 Troxelet al. ........... .. 370/395.52
12/2013
Primary Examiner i
T Nguyen
(74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm * Dority & Manning, PA.
Prior Publication Data
Us 2013/03 14257 A1
NOV- 28’ 2013
(57)
ABSTRACT
An aircraft interface apparatus for providing communication
between an aircraft system and a device for use on an aircraft
(30)
Forelgn Apphcatlon Pnonty Data
comprises a ?rst communication means for providing com
munication With the aircraft s stem, and a second communi
May 14, 2010
(51)
(52)
(GB) ................................. .. 10080851
cation means for providing Cgmmunication With the device,
Int CL
Wherein the aircraft system uses a ?rst data format and the
G01C 23/00
G08C 17/02
(200601)
(200601)
deV1ce'uses a second data format,~ and the apparatus further
comprises: fan interface processing resource that is con?g
G08C 17/00
(200601)
ured to receive data in a ?rst format from the deV1ce and, 1n
U 5 Cl
response, to output data in the second format to the aircraft
~~~~~~~~~~ n G086, 17/02 (201301); G086, 17/00
system and/or to receive data in the second format from the
device and, in response, to output data in the ?rst format to the
(2013.01), G08C 2201/40 (2013.01)
aircraft System
USPC .... .. 340/971; 340/953; 340/980; 340/995.16;
340/995.19; 370/396; 370/401; 370/466
21 Claims, 9 Drawing Sheets
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US 8,957,791 B2
1
2
AIRCRAFT INTERFACE
di?icult to provide in-?ight entertainment systems that can be
used in stand-alone way in a variety of different aircraft,
which is becoming increasingly desirable.
FIELD OF THE INVENTION
It is an aim of the present invention to provide improved or
at least alternative apparatus and methods for communication
between aircraft systems and devices.
The present invention relates to interfaces for aircraft sys
tems, for example aircraft cabin management systems. The
invention also relates to, for example, communication
between such aircraft cabin management systems and pas
senger or ?ight attendant input devices for controlling aspects
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION
In a ?rst, independent aspect of the invention there is pro
vided an aircraft interface apparatus for providing communi
of the cabin environment. The present invention also relates to
the interaction between aircraft cabin management systems
and in-?ight entertainment systems.
cation between an aircraft system and a device for use on an
aircraft comprising: fa ?rst communication means for pro
viding communication with the aircraft system; and a second
communication means for providing communication with the
device, wherein the aircraft system uses a ?rst data format and
the device uses a second data format, and the apparatus fur
BACKGROUND TO THE INVENTION
All commercial passenger aircraft include a cabin manage
ment system for control or monitoring of various aspects of
the cabin environment, for example call bells, cabin lighting,
heating, and ventilation, cabin intercom, emergency and gal
ley systems.
ther comprises an interface processing resource that is con
20
Usually the cabin management system comprises a server
or control computer that is connected by wired connections to
user input devices at each passenger seat, for example call bell
aircraft system.
buttons and lighting circuitry, and to cabin heating, lighting,
ventilation and other systems. The server or control computer
is also connected via a wired connection to a ?ight attendant
25
panel that includes various inputs and outputs (for example
buttons, screen, keyboard and/or mouse) that allows ?ight
device) for use on an aircraft even if such systems and devices
tional or more e?icient passenger or ?ight attendant control
30
call bell signals from individual passengers.
It can be time consuming and complex to install known
cabin management systems and to connect them to passenger
input devices at each seat. Furthermore, it is common in
commercial aircraft to alter seat arrangements and spacings
35
number of economy or business class seats depending on the
route and season for which an aircraft is being used, and such
changes in seat arrangements and spacings require discon
40
cabin management system and, in many cases, the recon?gu
ration of the cabin management system, which again can be
time consuming and costly. Any faults in components of the
By providing such a wireless interface apparatus, wireless
communication can be provided between aircraft systems and
user input devices, which can reduce the amount of complex
ity of aircraft wiring that is required. In turn that can increase
aircraft systems and provide greater ?exibility in the arrange
ment of aircraft interior systems.
The ?rst communication means may comprise wireless
45
In addition, known cabin management systems are usually
speci?c to particular aircraft and it can be di?icult to alter
aspects of the system if desired. For example changes to
different aspects of the system may require additional safety
certi?cation to be obtained.
The second communication means may comprise wireless
communication means for providing wireless communica
tion with the device, for example a wireless transceiver and
associated wireless transmission controller.
the ease and simplicity of installation of user devices and
cabin management system can result in costly repair or main
tenance procedures or in reduced level of passenger service.
over aircraft systems, and to enable such control via devices
that would not previously have been able to access such
systems, for example passenger personal electronic devices.
on a regular basis, for example increasing or decreasing the
nection and reconnection of passenger input devices to the
By providing such an interface communication can be
enabled between an aircraft system (for example a cabin
management system) and a device (for example a passenger
use incompatible formats. That can provide in turn for addi
attendants to monitor and control aspects of the cabin envi
ronment via the server or control computer, and to monitor
?gured to receive data in a ?rst format from the device and, in
response, to output data in the second format to the aircraft
system and/ or to receive data in the second format from the
device and, in response, to output data in the ?rst format to the
communication means. Alternatively or additionally one or
both of the ?rst communication means and the second com
munication means may be con?gured to provide a wired
connection. The or each connection means may comprise a
connector. The connector may be arranged to be connected by
50
electric or ?bre-optic wire or cable to the aircraft system or
device. The connector may comprise, for example, a D25
In some known aircraft systems, the cabin server or control
computer is also connected via wired connection to in-?ight
connector, an RS232 connector, an R145 connector or an
entertainment system terminals at each passenger seat. In
ARINC connector, for example an ARINC600 connector.
such known systems, passenger input to the cabin manage
ment system (for example, call bell activation or lighting
control) can be provided via hand-held user input devices for
The data may comprise at least one of a message, or a ?le
55
the in-?ight entertainment system or via soft buttons or other
touch-screen inputs on a display screen of the entertainment
cessing may comprise modifying the data.
system terminal. Passengers have increasingly high expecta
tions of in-?ight entertainment systems and the in-?ight
or a plurality of ?les. The interface processing resource may
process the data before passing it to the other of the connec
tion means or the wireless communication device. The pro
60
The interface processing resource may be con?gured to
convert data between the ?rst format and the second format,
entertainment that is available can be a signi?cant factor for
and the output data may comprises received data converted by
passengers when selecting an airline. The up-dating and
improvement of in-?ight entertainment systems is made more
complex when there is a need to ensure that the in-?ight
the interface processing resource.
entertainment system, or associated components, can also be
used to provide user input to the cabin management system
that is speci?c to a particular aircraft. That also makes it more
The aircraft system may comprise a system for controlling
or monitoring any aspect of the aircraft ?ight, aircraft cabin,
65 or aircraft or cabin environment.
The aircraft system may comprise an aircraft cabin man
agement system. The provision of communication, for
US 8,957,791 B2
3
4
example wireless communication, between devices and an
aircraft cabin management system can provide for simpli?
system, for example the state of an intercom system. The
trigger signal may be representative of the starting or stopping
cation of the installation or modi?cation of passenger seat
of an audio output.
arrangements whilst maintaining the ability of passengers to
control aspects of the cabin environment.
deactivation of an intercom system.
The trigger signal may be representative of the activation or
Alternatively or additionally the aircraft system and/ or the
device may comprise a ?ight management system, a ?ight
The apparatus may be con?gured to monitor the state of the
aircraft content distribution system and to provide a control
signal to the cabin management system in response to detec
tion of a predetermined state of the aircraft content manage
ment system.
The predetermined state of the aircraft content manage
attendant panel, or an in-?ight entertainment system or other
content distribution system, or a component of one of those
systems. The aircraft system may be a system that is con?g
ured for wired connection to the at least one user device and
the interface device may adapt the aircraft system for wireless
ment system may comprise the transmission of forced video
output, for example a safety message, by the content manage
ment system.
The control signal may comprise an instruction to activate
operation.
The ?rst data format may comprise a ?rst message format,
a ?rst communications protocol or a ?rst instruction set. The
second data format may comprise a second, different message
format, a second, different communications protocol or a
second, different instruction set.
The ?rst format may comprise one or more of XML, http,
https, TCP, UDP, or IP.
The second format may comprise, an ARINC format, for
example one of the ARINC 429, ARINC 629, ARINC 619,
ARINC 740, ARINC 744 and ARINC 818 formats.
The device may comprise a user device, for example at
or deactivate an aircraft intercom system.
The interface apparatus may be con?gured to provide
audio output from the content distribution system to the cabin
20
management system, for output via the intercom system of
the cabin management system.
device, or a portable electronic device, for example a mobile
The interface processing resource may be con?gured to
apply a security protocol to communications from the user
devices.
The interface processing resource may be con?gured to
apply the security protocol to exclude access of the user
telephone, portable computer, or a portable entertainment
system. The device may form part of a further aircraft system
agement system.
least one of an at-seat user terminal or an at-seat user input
25
devices to at least some functions of the aircraft cabin man
or may be a stand-alone device. The interface apparatus may
be con?gured to communicate with a plurality of devices.
The cabin management system and/or the wireless inter
30
The received data may comprise an instruction from one of
the aircraft system and the device, and the processing
con?gured to apply a security protocol to exclude the user
resource may be con?gured to convert the instruction into a
corresponding instruction that is actionable by the other of the
aircraft system and the device, and to provide the correspond
devices from interfering with operation the ?ight manage
35
ing instruction to the other of the aircraft system and the
device. The instruction, prior to conversion, may not be
actionable by the other of the aircraft system and the device.
The ?rst format may comprise a ?rst message format, a ?rst
communications protocol or a ?rst instruction set, and the
face device may be connectable to an aircraft ?ight manage
ment system, and the interface processing resource may be
ment system.
The cabin management system and/or the wireless inter
face may be con?gurable such that the user devices have
access to at least some data from the ?ight management
system, and the interface processor device may be con?gured
40
such that the user devices have read-only access to the ?ight
second format may comprise a second, different message
format, a second, different communications protocol or a
management system.
second, different instruction set.
The ?rst format may comprise a serial communication
protocol and the second format may comprise a wireless
(SSL) or transport layer security (TLS) protocol.
The security protocol may comprise a secure socket layer
The at least one user device may comprise a ?ight attendant
45
communication protocol.
panel (PAP).
The apparatus may be con?gured to download interface
The interface processing resource may comprise selection
software to the or each user device, the interface software
means for selection of the ?rst format from a plurality of ?rst
formats and/ or for selection of the second format from a
being executable to provide a user input interface for input
ting instructions for transmission to the cabin management
system via the interface device.
In a further independent aspect of the invention there is
provided an aircraft communication or management system
plurality of second formats.
50
The selection means may comprise a selection module
operable to select the ?rst format and/ or the second format in
response to operator input. The selection means may com
prise a user input device, for example a GUI element,
The apparatus may be con?gured for communication with
comprising an aircraft system, a device for use on the aircraft
and an aircraft interface apparatus as claimed or described
55
an aircraft content distribution system, for example an aircraft
in-?ight entertainment system.
The device may comprise a component of the aircraft con
tent distribution system, for example a user terminal. The
received data may comprise a trigger signal from a or the
60
cabin management system, and/or the output data may com
prise a control signal. The control signal may be for control
aircraft system and a device for use on an aircraft, wherein the
aircraft system uses a ?rst data format and the device uses a
pause or resume command for pausing or resuming content.
The trigger signal may be representative of a state of the
sentative of the state of a component of the cabin management
operation the aircraft system communicates with the device
and/or the device communicates with the aircraft system via
the interface apparatus.
In another independent aspect of the invention there is
provided a method of providing communication between an
ling operation of the device, and may comprise for example a
cabin management system. The trigger signal may be repre
herein, wherein the aircraft system uses a ?rst format, the
device uses a second format, and the aircraft system, the
device and the interface apparatus are arranged so that in
65
second data format, and the method comprises receiving data
in a ?rst format from the device and, in response, outputting
data in the second format to the aircraft system and/ or receiv
US 8,957,791 B2
5
6
ing data in the second format from the device and, in
response, outputting data in the ?rst format to the aircraft
vide a user input interface for inputting instructions for trans
mission to the aircraft system via the interface apparatus.
In a further independent aspect of the invention there is
system.
The method may comprise communicating wirelessly
provided a computer program product comprising computer
readable instructions that are executable by a computer to
between the aircraft system and the device.
The method may comprise converting data between the
?rst format and the second format, and the output data may
comprise the received data converted between the ?rst format
and the second format.
The aircraft system comprises an aircraft cabin manage
ment system.
perform a method as claimed or described herein.
There may also be provided an apparatus, system or
method substantially as described herein with reference to the
accompanying drawings.
Any feature in one aspect of the invention may be applied
to other aspects of the invention, in any appropriate combi
nation. For example, apparatus features may be applied to
The at least one device may comprise a user device, for
method features and vice versa.
example at least one of an at-seat user terminal, or an at-seat
user input-device, or a portable electronic device, for example
a mobile telephone, portable computer, or a portable enter
DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF EMBODIMENTS
tainment system.
Embodiments of the invention are now described, by way
The received data may comprise an instruction from one of
the aircraft system and the device, the method may comprise
converting the instruction into a corresponding instruction
that is actionable by the other of the aircraft system and the
device, and the output data may comprise the corresponding
instruction.
The ?rst format may comprise a ?rst message format, a ?rst
communications protocol or a ?rst instruction set, and the
second format may comprise a second, different message
format, a second, different communications protocol or a
second, different instruction set.
The ?rst format may comprise a serial communication
protocol and the second format may comprise a wireless
of non-limiting example, and are illustrated in the following
?gures, in which: i
20
FIGS. 2a and 2b are illustrations of connectors of the
25
FIG. 4 is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of a
FIG. 5 is a ?ow chart illustrating in overview one mode of
30
operation of the system of FIG. 4;
FIG. 6 is a schematic illustration of a cabin management
system and an in-?ight entertainment system in another
The method may comprise selecting the ?rst format from a
plurality of ?rst formats and/or for selecting the second for
embodiment;
FIG. 7 is a ?ow diagram illustrating in overview commu
35
nicationbetween various components of the system of FIG. 6;
FIG. 8 is a core class diagram for the application software
of the wireless interface device; and
FIG. 9 is a listing of functions of a function library used by
the interface device in the embodiment of FIG. 6.
cabin management system, and the output data may comprise
a control signal.
The trigger signal may be representative of a state of the
wireless interface device of FIG. 1;
FIGS. 3a and 3b are photographs of the embodiment of
FIGS. 1 and 2;
cabin management system including the wireless interface
device of FIG. 1;
communication protocol.
mat from a plurality of second formats.
The device may comprise a component of an aircraft con
tent distribution system, for example a user terminal, the
received data may comprise a trigger signal from a or the
FIG. 1 is a schematic illustration of an embodiment of a
wireless interface device;
sentative of the activation or deactivation of an intercom
An interface device 2 according to one embodiment is
shown in FIG. 1. As will be described in more detail below,
the interface device 2 can be used to provide an interface
system.
between two or more distinct aircraft devices or systems, for
40
cabin management system. The trigger signal may be repre
The method may comprise monitoring the state of the
aircraft content distribution system and providing a control
signal to the cabin management system in response to detec
tion of a predetermined state of the aircraft content manage
ment system.
The predetermined state of the aircraft content manage
ment system may comprise the transmission of forced video
45
functions or environment, for example call bells, cabin light
ing, heating, and ventilation, cabin intercom, emergency and
galley systems. The interface device can also be used to
50
output, for example a safety message, by the content manage
ment system.
The control signal may comprise an instruction to activate
face device is a wireless interface device that provides for
55
system.
60
ment system and/ or the wireless interface device to an aircraft
?ight management system, and applying a security protocol
to exclude the device from interfering with operation the
?ight management system.
The device may comprise a ?ight attendant panel (FAP).
The method may comprise downloading interface software
to the device, the interface software being executable to pro
system. As will be described in more detail below the inter
face device 2 can assist in the integration and co-ordination of
operation of the different aircraft systems. Firstly, the struc
to at least some functions of the aircraft cabin management
The method may comprise connecting the cabin manage
provide an interface to further systems, for example ?ight
management systems, in-?ight entertainment or other content
distribution systems. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the inter
wireless communication with at least one of the devices or
or deactivate an aircraft intercom system.
The method may comprise applying a security protocol to
communications from the device. The method may comprise
applying the security protocol to exclude access of the device
example between user input devices such as passenger enter
tainment terminals or control pads and a cabin management
system that can be used to control or monitor aspects of cabin
65
ture of the wireless interface device 2 in the embodiment of
FIG. 1 is described in more detail.
The interface device of FIG. 1 is able to interface to an
aircraft wireless LAN, to the CIDS A429 data bus, and to a
range of cabin logic discrete inputs and is operable to run a
bespoke software client to decode and manage these inter
faces. The device also provides secure client and server soft
ware applications to allow wireless clients to send control
requests and receive cabin status updates without exposing
the A429 control system to any outside third party in?uences
US 8,957,791 B2
7
8
such as hacking or unwanted wireless interference from pas
senger wireless devices. The interface device of FIG. 1
connected to the CPU core via a USB card 8. The discrete
includes various components comprising COTS equipment
logic interface board 50 is used in the detection of discrete
logic states of the aircraft cabin management system.
generally available in the market to keep cost down and
maximise system performance. The term A429 is used inter
changeably with Arinc 429 herein.
In one mode of operation of the embodiment of FIG. 1 all
interfaces to the aircraft cabin management system commu
nicate with the processor core 16 via USB 2. However, a 100
In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the interface device com
prises an SBC (single board computer) with an ATOM 1.6
Mb full duplex Ethernet interface is also provided by the
Ethernet card 6 for future connection to aircraft wired net
works, for example the ARINC A429/ 629 over Ethernet inter
GHZ CPU low voltage low heat CPU core 16 provided on a
motherboard 14. The computer has at least 4 Gb of DDR2
faces being proposed for A350 and B787 aircraft.
RAM 18 and its core operating hard drive is a high speed solid
state sata-II drive 20 with not less than 32 Gb of storage. The
operating system of the device 2 is a Windows XP embedded
to various user devices via a USB Wireless Module 60. The
operating system. The XP embedded operating system has
USB wireless module 60 supports 5.0 GHZ and 2.4 GHZ
proven to be a reliable and stable platform on which to build
control systems in this context. It provides a small software
802.11b/g WLAN protocols and provides an external high
gain antenna 62 to maximise wireless signal quality and dis
foot print, acceptable system performance and can be con
crete cabin interior installation.
As well as the interfaces to an aircraft cabin management
system, the interface device also provides a wireless interface
structed to create a secure single purpose device. In other
A VT100 USB integral display 64 is included with the
embodiments any other suitable type of processor, operating
system and memory may be used
interface device 2 to provide a visual for system status and
20
The interface device 2 includes an SD Slot 3 to allow SD
cards to be used to hold core application software for the
device 2 thus allowing the software to be changed easily. In
the embodiment of FIG. 1 the SD cards have a capacity of up
to 8 Mb, although larger capacity cards can be used if neces
sary. The application software is written in .Net2.0.
The interface device 2 has a native voltage of 18 to 20 V
DC, supplied via a power input 5, but an aircraft 28V DC
native power input can be supported by the device via a power
supply unit 7.
25
diagnostics. In the embodiment of FIG. 1 the display 64 is the
primary output device, as such the application software of the
device 2 uses the integral display 64 rather than standard
video output for visual outputs (although the standard video
output can be used in other modes of operation).
The interface device 2 also includes an analogue channel
that provides two channels of analogue input/ output, which
can be used for various applications, for example remote
variable input/output level adjustment.
The interface device 2 of FIGS. 1 and 2 is provided in a
30
single housing, as shown in FIGS. 3a and 3b. By providing
4 comprising two D25 pin RS232 type connectors 26, 28 for
the device 2 in a single housing, it can potentially be avionics
certi?ed as a single device. The housing comprises a device
connection to an aircraft cabin management system, for
enclosure constructed from high grade aluminium.
The interface device 2 also comprises a dual D25 connector
example the Airbus Cabin Intercommunication Data System
(CIDS). The connectors 4 are connected to a 100 Mb Ethernet
In operation, the wireless interface device 2 can be used to
35
Card 6, four USB 2 cards 8, and audio in 10 and audio out 12
connectors, each of which is provided on the motherboard 14.
The use of the dual D25 connector 4 can provide for stan
dardisation of the interface components between the interface
device 2 and other aircraft systems, whilst also providing
suf?cient pins to allow for additional functionality.
One of the connectors 26 of the connector arrangement 4
provides an A429 Serial Digital Interface 22 to the aircraft
management system. The serial digital A429 interface 22
provides an RS232 interface that accommodates two transmit
and two receive A429 data bus communication pairs at 100
Kbps. As RS232 interfaces are now being phased out on most
PC hardware a USB 2 to RS232 module 24 is also inserted
between the A429 decoder 22 and the CPU core.
The pin arrangements of the connector 26 are illustrated in
more detail in FIG. 2a. It can be seen that eight of the pins are
40
45
50
10 and audio out 12 connectors on the motherboard 14 via a
55
tors 40, 42 (not shown in FIG. 2).
As will be described in more detail below, the audio in 10
can be used to provide an analogue audio feed from an aircraft
intercom or public address (PA) system, and the audio out 12
can be used to send audio output (for example audio output
the further connector 28 are connected to a discrete logic
interface board 50 having 22 logic inputs or outputs and
various aspects of the cabin environment and passenger ser
vices via the aircraft cabin management control unit 100. The
?ight attendant panel 102 can comprise a set of manual
switches or buttons, or can comprise a display and associated
PC or other processing device.
The aircraft cabin management system control unit 100 is
connected, for example, via wired connections to overhead
passenger service units above each seat that provide over-seat
lighting, ventilation and ?ight attendant call facilities; to main
and emergency cabin lighting; to main cabin ventilation sys
tems; to the cabin intercom system; to emergency systems
and to galley systems. Any of those components may be
controlled or monitored from the ?ight attendant panel 102.
The ?ight attendant panel 102 also comprises a microphone
104 into which the crew can speak to deliver audio messages
60
from an aircraft content distribution system) to the intercom
or PA system.
The connector arrangement 4 also comprises a further con
nector 28, and the pin arrangement of that further connector
28 is illustrated schematically in FIG. 2b. Twenty two pins of
agement system, as illustrated schematically according to one
embodiment of a cabin control system in FIG. 4.
In the embodiment of FIG. 4 the dual D25 connector 4 of
the wireless interface device 2 is connected via RS232
cabling to RS232 connectors of an aircraft cabin management
system control unit 100. The aircraft cabin management sys
tem control unit 100 is linked to a ?ight attendant panel 102
that provides controls enabling ?ight attendants to control
arranged to provide four A429 transmit or receive channels
30, 32, 34, 36. Four further pins are connected to the audio in
ground loop suppressor 38 and input and output level adjus
provide an interface between user devices and the cabin man
via the cabin intercom system.
Passenger seats 108 are shown schematically in FIG. 4. A
display 106 installed in the back of each passenger seat 108 of
the aircraft. Each display 106 is connected to a client device
110 that may be used to control operation and streaming of
in-?ight entertainment and other content to the display 106.
65
The client device may be connected to a user input device (not
shown) that can, for example, be stowed in the arm rest of the
seat and can provide user control of operation of the client
US 8,957,791 B2
10
Examples of objects provided by the Arinc429Comm com
device and display, and the selection and viewing of content
by the user. The display 106 may include a touch-screen and
in that case user control may be provided by interlinked
menus and soft buttons displayed on the touch-screen.
ponent in the embodiment of FIG. 1 include the following: i
a. An object (PaxOperationalServiceCommand1) that con
In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the display 106 is detachably
tains data for seat row, seat identi?er (A,B,C etc), reading
light toggle, call bell activate, and call bell reset.
housed in a screen mount on the seat back and includes a
b. An object (PaxOperationalServiceCommand2) contains
power connector that allows it to draw power from a pre
data for seat row seat identi?er, and reading light dimming
commands.
c. An object (PaxCallBellZoneReset) that contains data to
existing in-seat power supply. The client device 110 is also
connected to the pre-existing power supply.
The client device 110 includes a processor 130, memory
132 for storage of content, and a communications interface
identify a zone on the aircraft (Deck, Zone or Room number)
on which to reset the active call bells.
Each command object itself contains algorithms to create a
134 for communication with a content server 2 via a wired or
32 bit binary data word in the format expected by the aircraft
system (in this example the aircraft cabin management sys
tem) which encapsulates the data ?elds set by the calling
wireless LAN. The wireless interface may comprise for
example a USB wireless module supporting 5.0 GHZ and/or
2.4 GHZ 802.11b/g WLAN protocols.
application. For example, for PaxOperationalServiceCom
Each client device 110 can be used to provide in-?ight
entertainment or other content to a passenger. It is a feature of
the system of FIG. 4 that the client device 110 can also be used
to communicate with the aircraft cabin management system
via the wireless interface device 2.
20
The client device 110 is programmed to display, in opera
tion, a user interface menu on display 106 that enables the
user to select content for viewing and to select other func
tions. The user interface menu provides, according to known
GUI techniques, selectable features that allow the user to
compared against the database of known words to identify the
25
select features of the cabin environment (for example lighting
level, ventilation level). The processor is con?gured to trans
mit messages to the wireless interface device 2 via the com
munications interface 134 in response to input by a user. The
GUI for cabin and call bell buttons is provided to the client
30
devices 110 by the application software of the interface
device, via wireless communication with the client devices
110.
The interface device 2 resides on a passenger wireless
TCP/IP network and protects the avionics from unwanted
external in?uence using an SSL/TLS (Secure Socket Layer/
35
Transport Layer Security) interface layer. Only the client
device 110 have a valid SSL certi?cate to send and receive
data to and from the interface device 2 ensuring that no
third-party device can in?uence any of the cabin controls.
The software contains an interface module for each sup
40
ported commands.
45
at runtime.
50
data word or words or the discrete output.
The processor 16 in operation runs software that performs
the translation. In the embodiment of FIG. 1 the software
identi?er. The processor 16 converts the received instruction
55
60
craft cabin management system 100 processes the received
data words in accordance with the A429 protocol and
switches off the lighting to the identi?ed seat.
Although the example of the preceding paragraph relates to
the control of lighting to a particular seat, any function of the
of the embodiment of FIG. 1 is referred to herein as the
the desired functionality.
into data words under the A429 protocol that identify the seat
and include an instruction to turn off the lighting for that seat.
The data words are passed to the aircraft cabin management
system 100 via an appropriate transmit channel 32. The air
example) or other aircraft system and can be accessed by
other software routines running at the processor 16. The DLL
Arinc429Comm software component. It will be understood
that any other suitable software component or combination of
software and/or hardware components can be used to provide
Turning to a speci?c example, a passenger may instruct the
lighting for his or her seat to be switched off by sending a
message from the client device via the interface device 2. The
message sent from the client device to the interface device 2
includes an instruction to turn off the lighting and a seat
software objects that represent the commands available on the
ARINC 429 interface. The DLL objects in the embodiment of
FIG. 1 can be accessed by any software developed under .Net
2.0. The DLL objects enable commands to be translated and
passed to the aircraft cabin management system (in this
This architecture allows the same software component to
be used on all airframes, with the appropriate conversion
routines selected during con?guration, or even dynamically
ment system thenperforms actions corresponding to the input
comprises a dynamic linked library (DLL). The DLL contains
airframes/ avionics the software implements a baseline set of
commands available on all aircraft types. For advanced com
mands (e.g. light dimming, or zone bell reset) the software
allows the calling application to query on availability of sup
passes the data word or words or the discrete output to the
appropriate pins on the dual D24 connector 4 for input to the
cabin management system 100. The aircraft cabin manage
type and parameters of the word. The software then parses the
word to extract any required data.
A further object (PES_StatusBroadcast) maintains a con
stant broadcast of system status information that is required
by the aircraft system. This software component broadcasts a
block of seven data words separated by 100 milliseconds and
repeat the block every 2500 milliseconds.
Another object (PES_StateController) maintains a ?nite
state machine in response to data received from the aircraft
systems. The object governs the current operational mode of
the In?ight Entertainment System. The mode determines the
availability of certain commands on the aircraft interface. The
mode also allows data exchange (handshake) between the IFE
system and the aircraft system.
ported airframe/avionics type. For interoperability between
Operation of the system to control aspects of the cabin
environment is illustrated in overview in FIG. 5.
A message from the client device is received at the wireless
interface device 2 by the wireless module 60 and passed to the
processor 16 for processing. The processor 16 translates the
message into a corresponding data word or words under the
A429 protocol or into a corresponding discrete output and
mandl to activate the call bell, bit 11 is set to true.
For data to be read from the aircraft systems the software
contains a database of binary A429 commands. Each A429
command is a 32 bit word. Speci?c bits of the data word
identify the function and other parameters of the command or
status word. ARINC words read from the aircraft system are
65
cabin management system that can be controlled or accessed
using the A429 protocol or discrete inputs or outputs can be
controlled or accessed via the wireless interface device 2. For
example, call bell activation or deactivation by a passenger or
US 8,957,791 B2
11
12
?ight attendant, or cabin PA volume, can be instructed via
messages sent to the cabin management system control unit
100 from the client device 110 or other user input device.
As well as controlling aspects of the cabin environment the
wireless interface device can obtain and forward data from
the cabin management system, for example in response to
user or client device requests. In the example of FIG. 4, data
ing the wireless interface device 2. Any suitable wireless user
input devices can then be used to access the passenger man
agement system via the interface device 2.
In some know aircraft systems the cabin management sys
tem is interfaced to the aircraft’s ?ight management system
(PMS) and can receive ?ight and other data from the FMS. In
the embodiment of FIG. 1, the wireless interface device 2 has
been designed with two transmit and receive A429 pairs for
words representative of, for example, cabin temperature,
redundancy, and one of these pairs can be used to receive FMS
humidity or cabin lighting levels can be sent to the wireless
interface device 2, for example in response to a request from
the wireless interface device 2. The data words can be con
verted by the processor 16 to be in any desired format and
forwarded to further devices, such as the client devices 110.
?ight position and ?ight progress data for use by the client
devices 110 for local moving map and ?ight following pur
poses.
As well as interfacing with client devices, a cabin manage
The data representative of for example cabin temperature,
ment system and, either directly or indirectly, a ?ight man
agement system (FMS) the wireless interface device 2 can
humidity or cabin lighting levels or other environmental or
journey conditions can then be displayed on the user’s dis
also interface with an aircraft content distribution system
server, as illustrated schematically in FIG. 6.
The system of FIG. 6 includes an aircraft content distribu
plays 106 if desired.
In the embodiment of FIG. 1, user input is provided via a
user interface of a client device 110 used to provide in-?ight
entertainment or other content to a passenger. Any other suit
20
able arrangement for providing user input to or via the inter
face device 2 can be used, for example a user control device
comprises a content server 140 and a content management
terminal (CMT) 142.
comprising buttons, sliders, control wheels or any other
The aircraft content distribution system of FIG. 6 is a
mechanical or electromechanical user input device can be
used. Such devices may comprise wireless interfaces for
transmitting data representative of the user input to the inter
face device 2. Alternatively or additionally the user input
tion system that is the subject of the applicant’s co-pending
UK Patent Application No. 090803 8 .3, which is hereby incor
porated by reference. The aircraft content distribution system
25
semi-embedded alternative to the traditional and expensive
OEM ?tted in-?ight entertainment systems. However, for the
In some embodiments, the user input devices can be user
content distribution system shown in FIG. 6 to become a fully
embedded solution and become an OEM ?tted option it may
be desirable to overcome its inability, when considered alone,
to interface to the cabin PSS/CIDS systems to control cabin
lighting, call bells and be aware of many mandatory cabin
input devices brought on to the aircraft by the passengers, for
example portable computers, PDAs, mobile phones or games
that issue, and can allow passenger devices to be able via their
devices may be connected to a wired network, for example an
Ethernet network, for transmitting to or receiving data from
the interface device 2.
30
safety conditions. The use of the interface device 2 addresses
onboard software to wirelessly control passenger cabin light
consoles. In such embodiments, the interface device 2 is
operable during its start-up procedure to determine the pres
ence of any suitable wirelessly-enabled devices and to down
load interface application software to each device. The inter
face application software is executable by the user devices to
provide a graphical user interface for input of user instruc
tions for transmission to the cabin management system or
other aircraft system via the interface device 2.
Although the interface device 2 in embodiment of FIGS. 1
and 4 is described as being con?gured for connection to an
A429 interface for interfacing between the Airbus CIDS sys
tem and the client devices 110, the interface device 2 can be
35
cabin evacuation, cabin decompression etc.
40
45
con?gured to interface between any other cabin management
systems and other user devices, each of which can use any
desired data format, for example any message format, com
munications protocol or instruction set. For example, the
Arinc 628 part 3 format is used in Boeing 777 and 747
aircraft, and the RS485 serial bus for Rockwell Collins AIS
2000 IFE interface protocol.
In the embodiment of FIG. 1 the SD card storing the appli
50
cation software also stores different message formats, com
55
included in the application software, different formats
depending on the properties of the cabin management system
60
The CMT 142 includes a processor 146 and a touch-screen
display 148. The CMT 142 is linked to the content server 140
and provides a control interface enabling the crew or other
system and executable software that provides control and
maintenance functions, including control of content and soft
ration management. Other examples of functions provided by
control of the CMT include fault and status checking of the
content distribution system, entry of ?ight information for
distribution to and display by the client devices 110 and
displays 106, and control of streaming of the safety demon
In many existing aircraft, the cabin management system is
from the cabin management system control unit and connect
grammes, safety videos, music, games or other software,
synopsis data and preview clips for distribution to the client
devices 10 and subsequent streaming to the displays 6 for
viewing or listening by users. The communications interface
comprises an 802.11b/g interface.
ware upload to the content server 140, control of distribution
of content or software to the client devices 10, and con?gu
and the user input devices.
ing aircraft by disconnecting the existing user input devices
The server 140 of the aircraft content distribution system of
FIG. 6 comprises a control processor 144, a data store 146 for
storing content and a communications interface 148 for com
munication with the client devices 110 via a wired or wireless
LAN. The data store 146 stores items of content (which may
also be referred to as media items) such as ?lms, TV pro
airline personnel to control operation of aspects of the content
distribution system. The processor 146 includes an operating
munications protocols and instruction sets for different cabin
management systems and different user input device, and also
stores executable software for conversion between the differ
ent formats. During set-up of the interface in a particular
aircraft, an operator can select, using a selection module
hard wired to user input devices at passenger seats. In certain
embodiments the interface device 2 is retro?tted to such exist
ing and activate the cabin call bell as well as being able to
detect cabin status discrete logic states such as PA in progress,
65
stration video to the client devices 110.
The CMT software may be customized to suit the require
ments of any particular aircraft installation.
In certain embodiments, the components of the content
distribution system are primarily commercial off-the-shelf
US 8,957,791 B2
13
14
components, suitably programmed or otherwise con?gured.
DDR 533 MHZ, and a SODIMM socket enabling memory
expansion up to 768 MB DDRII-667 DRAM.
The communications interface of the client device 110 is an
The content distribution may thus be classi?ed for use in
?ight with reduced certi?cation requirements. For example, if
classi?ed as a Class 2 system, it may require only an STC and
integrated 802.1 1b/ g interface, which enables communica
not OEM certi?cation, meaning that certi?cation time is
tion with a wireless LAN operated by the content server 140.
An on-board 10/ 100 LAN interface may also be provided to
reduced from years to months. The content distribution sys
tem may also be installed on a stand-alone basis, for example
so as to not affect operation of, or without being integrated
provide wired LAN functionality.
The client device 110 also includes an Intel® GMA 900
video graphics processor, which supports resolutions up to
1600x900, a push/pull type SD card slot, and various addi
tional inputs and outputs, including an R2H Port Bar connec
with, passenger service systems or other aircraft systems,
which can reduce installation and maintenance requirements.
The display 106 in the embodiments of FIGS. 4 and 6 is a
7", 16:9 ratio active matrix TFT (800x480) wide screen,
tor for external hub (S/PDIF, VGA, DC-in, 3 USB, LAN),
which can include Splendid Video Intelligence Technology.
The display 106 is linked to the client device 110 via a
standard VGQA or HDi interface cable. An additional screen
can be linked to the client device 110 via the interface cable as
well as or instead of the display 6. The client device 110 can
deliver a HD quality 1600x900 32 Bit colour video resolution
and can support video output to screen sizes up to 50".
In the embodiment of FIG. 1, the processor of the client
device 110 is an Intel® ULV Celeron® 900 MHZ M Processor
with the Intel® 910GML chip set, on which is installed the
20
installed application software that comprises a control mod
ule, a batch content loader (BCL) and an SQL server module.
The SQL server module comprises a database of all items of
Microsoft XPe (embedded) operating system, which pro
vides a small footprint, fast loading operating system that can
be tailored to speci?c applications providing a stable and
content stored on the content server data store 146 and on the
25
secure operating platform. The following applications and
frameworks are integrated into the XPe image: Windows
DotNet 1.1 SP1, Windows Media Player 10, Disk Encryption
software, and video codecs for digital media. It can be under
stood that the client device may be a PC-type device, for
example an ultra-mobile PC (UMPC).
30
under the Micro soft .Net platform using the C# language. The
cated distribution module within or separate from the proces
software runs on top of the secure Windows XPe OS, and use
sor 144.
35
playback and Windows Digital Rights Management for
securing video and audio content. The application software
manages a local database that is used to retain the menu/
navigation hierarchy, location paths and usage statistics of all
items of content that are stored in the content memory 32.
40
The application software includes a download manage
ment module 38 for managing the download and storage of
content at the client device 10, and a content and display
neous playing of a safety or other message at each device or to
45
operation of the display 6.
Playback of audio & video content is managed by the
Microsoft Windows Media Player 10 ActiveX component,
under control of the content and display management module
36. That provides fully supported playback and license acqui
50
sition of Microsoft DRM protected WMV and WMA content,
The memory of the client device 110 for storage of content
comprises two external USB2 hard-disks, which are physi
cally secured to the seat in an enclosed layer, and provide a
capacity of 320 Gb of encrypted media content space of
(based on available 5200 rpm 3.5" disk technology). In the
system of FIG. 6 content is stored locally and played back
independently by each user device making co-ordination
content playback, even for locally stored and played content,
as now described in more detail.
55
In the embodiment of FIG. 6, the further RS232-type con
nector 28 is connected to the aircraft cabin management sys
tem control unit 100 such that in operation a discrete logic
signal representative of activation or deactivation of the inter
Windows updates, keeping the Microsoft platform and DRM
facility secured and fully patched.
enable a PA message to be heard by all passengers. In known
systems in which content is streamed to each device from a
server it is straightforward to co-ordinate playing or interrup
tion of content at different user devices. However, in the
more dif?cult. The wireless interface device 2 in the embodi
ment of FIG. 6 can provide for co-ordinated interruption of
support for the playback of mixed language tracks, enabling
the user to toggle-select between multiple languages when
ever the current ?lm supports it (the media player always start
a ?lm with the default language), the playback of subtitled
?lms and CC versioning, support for the use and installation
of multiple codecs allowing any existing and future media
?les and DRM enhancements to be supported, and support for
In operation, the content server is used to distribute items of
the content and to store them locally at the client devices 110.
Selected items of content can then be played back from the
data stores at the client devices. Thus, data does not to be
streamed in real time from the content server 140 to the client
devices 110.
It is a feature of aircraft systems that playing of content at
user devices may need to be co-ordinated or interrupted
simultaneously at each user device, for example for simulta
management module 36 for managing the selection and play
back of items of content stored at the client device 10 and
client devices 110, and their locations. The batch content
loader, in combination with the control module and commu
nications interface 148 make up a distribution sub-system that
provides means for distributing content to the client devices
110. Other components or combinations of components may
make up the distribution sub-system, providing a means for
distributing content, in alternative embodiments. For
example, the distribution sub-system may comprise a dedi
The processor includes application software developed
the Windows Media Player 10 component to handle all media
VGA function support via VGA Cabling, two USB 2.0A
ports, one mini-USB2.0A port, a microphone socket, a head
phone socket, a built-in mono speaker, an audio/video (AV)
output and a R145 LAN port.
The client device 110 includes a 12V-35V DC power input
for connection to the in- seat power supply, and a 12V DC, 3A,
36 W power output.
The processor 144 of the content server 140 includes
com system is provided to the processor 16 via the connector
60
28 and the discrete logic interface board 50. The application
software running at the processor 16 responds to a signal
indicating that the intercom system has been activated by
alternative, portable embodiment the memory 32 comprises a
transmitting a Pause On/Off state command to the client
devices 110 as described above. The playing of content by the
client devices 110 is paused in response to the Pause On/Off
state command, allowing passengers to listen to the intercom
60 Gb hard drive. The client device 110 also includes 256 MB
system. The signal monitoring device detects when the inter
65
US 8,957,791 B2
15
16
com system is subsequently deactivated or the delivery of the
message has ended, and transmits a further Pause On/Off state
command to instruct the client devices 110 to resume playing
Each request is processed by the core processor 16 which
sends the request to the A429 module. The request contains
two parameters:
Message Type i.e. Call Bell On
content.
In alternative modes of operation, the processor 16 can
transmit other commands to the client devices 1 10 in response
to the intercom activation or deactivation signal. For example,
the processor 16 can transmit commands turning the audio
5
Seat Number
In the embodiment of FIG. 6, the interface device 2 acts as
the communications gateway between the CMT 142 and the
cabin management system. The interface device 2 is con?g
volume down for each client device, thus allowing the inter
ured to provide the CMT 142 with cabin state triggers that are
relevant for content distribution, such as the discrete logic
com to be heard by the passengers.
In other modes of operation, the processor 16 can monitor
other states of the cabin management system, for example: i
signal (referred to as PA on/off) representative of the activa
tion or deactivation of the intercom system discussed above.
The core processor 16 of the interface device 2 receives PA
a) Cabin Illumination Status (for example, to detect night
mode or low illumination states, and in response to dim
on/off signals from the KeyLine interface, and noti?es the
IFE screens)
CMT 142. In response the CMT 142 sends out the appropriate
b) Cabin Alert Status (to detect safety announcements, or
Pause or Resume commands to the clients.
The interface device can also receive data from the CMT
142 that can be indicative of the state of the content distribu
evacuation command)
c) Cabin Signs Status (for example, to detect fasten seatbelt
sign, return to seat, no smoking and no Electronic
Device signs and in response to display alerts on IFE
20
tion system and that may be relevant to operation of cabin
management functions. For example, in one con?guration,
d) PA announcement source (for example, to detect which
the application software of the interface device 2 includes a
version of the application software of the client devices 110
channels are being broadcast over PA so they can be
that enables it to detect when the CMT 142 or server 140 is
screens)
relayed over user headphones)
e) Cabin theme music scenario (and for example to display
welcome video during boarding in response)
25
from the server 140 to the client devices rather than being
Each of the listed features a) to e) are con?gurable accord
ing to airline or regulatory requirements and may be switched
off, on, or on but with some features disabled.
In one con?guration of the embodiment of FIG. 6, the
interface device is also interfaced to the CMT 142 of the
content distribution system in either a wired or wireless fash
providing forced streaming video output to the client devices
110 (for example a safety video that is streamed in real time
30
stored and played back from the local storage devices 132). In
response to detection of the forced streaming video output,
the interface device 2 sends a signal to the cabin management
system control unit 100 to activate the intercom system and
subsequently provides the streamed audio feed from the
forced video to the cabin management system control unit
ion and can transmit messages to or receive messages from
100 to be output over the intercom. Thus, audio output over
the CMT 142. Communication with the CMT 142 is also
the intercom system can be synchronised with the output of
subject to SSL security. A ?ow diagram illustrating in over
35
streaming video by the content distribution system.
view communication between the processor 16 of the inter
In the embodiment of FIG. 6, the CMT 142 also provides a
face device 2, the keyline interface 50 and A429 interface 30,
32, 34, 36, the CMT 142, and the client devices 110 via a
heartbeat function checking periodically that the interface
device 2 is available and operating normally. In response to
detection of abnormal operation the CMT 142 signals the
wireless network 150 is illustrated in overview in FIG. 7. The
interface device 2 can connect to the CMT 142 and clients 110
40
A user interface of the CMT 142 includes a diagnostics/
engineering view of the interface device 2 enabling set-up and
monitoring of operation of the interface device 2. The user
interface of the CMT 142 also includes controls to adjust
45
intercom system volume up and down by sending control
signals to the cabin management system control unit 100 via
the interface device 2.
The CMT 142 looks for the wireless interface device 2
upon start up by sending out a ping or by attempting to open
up a socket connection to the ?xed IP address of the interface
device 2. If the CMT 142 receives no reply from the interface
device 2, an error message is displayed on the CMT 142 and
it will not function; there will be an option for the user to retry.
If the CMT 142 receives a reply from the interface device
2 a TCP connection between them is set-up over SSL and the
CMT 142 continues to boot onto its main application inter
face.
The client devices 110 will also look for and connect the
interface device 2 via TCP over SSL upon start up. The client
device 110 will still function, and will be able to receive, store
and playback content, without a connection to the interface
device 2 but will not have features dependent on connection to
the interface device 2 such as enablement of cabin light and
call bell buttons.
In operation of the embodiment of FIG. 6, the client
devices 110 can send call bell requests to the interface device.
clients to change to a pre-de?ned state. In this con?guration
the CMT 142 can also operate as a control console for the
interface device 2 via an HTML console displayed on its
control screen and provides an MTSC terminal connection
over secure TCP connections.
for engineering use.
As well as providing a wireless interface to an in-?ight
entertainment system and to a ?ight management system, the
interface device 2 can also provide a wireless interface to the
?ight attendant panel 104, if the ?ight attendant panel
50
includes suitable wireless communication hardware and/or
software, for example a wireless module including an antenna
and supporting 5.0 GHZ and 2.4 GHZ 802.11b/g WLAN
protocols.
55
In another embodiment, the wireless interface 2 hosts the
CMT application software as will as CIDS (or other cabin
management system) control functions. The device 2 can also
provide a secure HTML console over Ethernet that could be
displayed on the ?ight attendant panel (FAP). Thus a fully
integrated IFE system requiring no additional cabin equip
ment could be provided.
60
65
The application software of the wireless interface device 2
can be implemented using any suitable programming lan
guage and in any suitable design to provide the described
functions. The software design of the application software of
the interface device 2 of FIG. 6 is implemented in an object
oriented programming language, in this case C# (.Net frame
work 2.0) and is illustrated in overview in FIG. 8, which is a
core class diagram for the application software.
US 8,957,791 B2
17
18
The core classes include the following: iWAIM_Core
state of “PES_MAXI_OPERATION” as per Airbus Techni
cal Speci?cation Appendix 10 s1 .21 .1
200, Abstract_Client 202, Client 204, ClientNetwork 206,
KeyLine 208, VT100_Display 210, A429 212, and Video
Shutdown
Feed 214. The core classes provide the following listed prop
erties or functions in addition to those that have already been
The Arinc429Comm will execute the sequence to enter
described: i
state of “PES_NOT_READY” as perAirbus Technical Speci
?cation Appendix 10 s1.2.l.l
WAIM_Core
Start
The ARinc429Comm will start reading from the CIDS
constant update data words. The Arinc429Comm will create
a timed thread to read from the 429 serial input. The thread
will have a con?gurable throttle timer to delay read ticks by
0-180000 ms. On timer ticks, if the previous read operation
has completed, the Arinc429Comm will read the next data
word from the 429 serial input.
Entry point to application; may be a service.
Instantiates ClientNetwork collection, A429, KeyLine,
VT100_Display objects on initialisation.
CMT object instantiated on connection to the CMTimay
be singleton class.
A new Client object is added to ClientNetwork collection
on new client connection.
Abstract_Client
Contains a TCP_Client object.
Begin Read dataword
CMT
Extends Ab stract_Client.
Send messages to CMT over TCP.
Pause
Resume
Client
Extends Abstract Client.
Send/receives messages to/from individual clients over
TCP.
Set blReading = true;
If Recording is enabled, write dataword, time and channel to the log ?le.
20 Inspect word label
If label is monitored
Process label to extract data
Validate extracted data
If valid
Write data values to parameter database
Else
25
Discard
If label is not monitored, discard.
Call bell requests.
Set blReading = false;
Cabin light on/off requests.
End Read
ClientNetwork
Collection of client objects.
30
Singleton class.
The Arinc429Comm will cease reading from the CIDS
KeyLine
constant update datawords.
Keyline board logic layer.
Request429 ParameterList
Imports Keyline API dll.
Contains methods for setting outputs and ?res events when
35
input is detected.
VT 1 00_Display
VideoFeed
Receives audio from the CMT video stream and outputs to
audio card.
The software running on the core processor 16 implements
the Arinc429Comm library of functions, which is used to
monitor and process communication with the aircraft cabin
management system (in this case, a CIDS system) via the
A429 interface.
The Arinc429Comm library maintains a ?nite state
machine model to implement a desired state transition dia
gram for the passenger entertainment system. The
Arinc429Comm also maintains a persistent datastore of all
monitored 429 interface labels and parameters extracted from
those labels.
eter.
40
Request429 ParameterListStatus
The Arinc429Comm will return a collection of Parameter
objects describing the list of datawords being monitored in
the Arinc429Comm, including parameter ID and status. Sta
tus will indicate whether data for that label has been received
45
within the data expiry tine limit for that parameter.
Request 429Value
The Arinc429Comm will return the current value for the
requested parameter ID.
PaxOperationalServiceCommandl
50
The Arinc429Comm will identify a seat by Deck, Room
(zero is entire cabin), Row number, Seat letter. The command
1 will specify 3 boolean values for light on/off, call bell on/off
and call reset/not reset.
55
The Arinc429Comm library includes the following func
tions, listed also in FIG. 9, for performing the following
operations: iInitialise, Shutdown, Start, Stop, Request 429
ParameterList, Request429 ParameterListStatus, Request
429Value, PaxOperationalServiceCommandl, PaxOpera
tionalServiceCommand2,
PaxCallResetZone,
The Arinc429Comm will return a collection of Parameter
objects describing the list of datawords being monitored in
the Arinc429Comm including label, type, description and
name. The list will not include status or value for each param
Sends text to VTlOO display over a serial port.
A429
Layer for sending messages to A429 module.
Receives acknowledgements from A429 module.
Stop
60
PaxOperationalServiceCommand2
The Arinc429Comm will identify a seat by Deck, Room
(zero is entire cabin), Row number, Seat letter. The command
2 is to be used when light dimming is required. It will specify3
boolean values for dimmer increment by one, dimmer decre
ment by one, and dimmer ON or OFF toggle. Only one value
of the three should be true. If no value is true no action will be
Arinc429Comm State Broadcast, andArinc429Comm Trans
performed.
mit Manager.
PaxCallResetZone
The Arinc429Comm will identify an application area by
Each of the functions is described below in more detail.
Initialise
The Arinc429Comm will execute the in-?ight entertain
ment (IFE) startup sequence to reach the normal operation
65
Deck and (Zone OR Room)
If the Zone and Room are not speci?ed then all zones (not
rooms) will be reset for the selected deck.
US 8,957,791 B2
19
20
and wherein the apparatus comprises:
Arinc429Comm State Broadcast
While in the PES_READY state following successful ini
an interface processing resource that is con?gured to at
least one of a) or b);
tialise command the Arinc429Comm will send the constant
status data word sequence at 2000 ms intervals, with approxi
a) receive data comprising an instruction in the ?rst format
mately 100 ms between each word, (0.3~250 msec)
from the passenger portable electronic device in-?ight,
EQ_ID_PES,VERSION_ID_PES,READY_CMD_PES,
to convert the instruction into a corresponding instruc
GEN_STATUS_CMDi1_PES, THEME_MUSIC_CMDi
1_PES, THEME_MUSIC_CMDi2_PES
tion in the second format that is actionable by the aircraft
system, and to output data comprising the corresponding
Arinc429Comm Transmit Manager
instruction in the second format to the aircraft system
in-?ight, wherein the instruction in the ?rst format is not
The transmit manager will ensure that PSS commands
initiated during a status transmit block will be sent as soon as
actionable by the aircraft system prior to the conversion;
the current status word has completed. This will ensure mini
mum latency for command response.
It will be understood that whilst the embodiments
described herein in relation to FIGS. 1 to 9 include particular
b) receive data comprising an instruction in the second
format from the aircraft system in-?ight, to convert the
instruction into a corresponding instruction in the ?rst
format that is actionable by the passenger portable elec
tronic device, and to output data comprising the corre
sponding instruction in the ?rst format to the passenger
components and arrangements of those components, any suit
able type and arrangement of components. For example, any
suitable type of processor, server, client devices, displays and
wired or wireless communication circuitry may be used in
alternative embodiments. Furthermore the interface appara
portable electronic device in-?ight, wherein the instruc
20
munication between any suitable aircraft systems and/or
devices, and/or to provide control an aircraft system by
another aircraft system or device or vice versa, regardless of
any differences in data formats used by the different aircraft
25
systems or devices.
Alternative embodiments, or features of such alternative
embodiments, can be implemented as a computer program
30
instructions stored on a tangible data recording medium, such
as a diskette, CD-ROM, ROM, or ?xed disk, or embodied in
a computer data signal, the signal being transmitted over a
tangible medium or a wireless medium, for example, micro
wave or infrared. The series of computer instructions can 35
constitute all or part of the functionality described above, and
can also be stored in any memory device, volatile or non
volatile, such as semiconductor, magnetic, optical or other
memory device.
It will also be well understood by persons of ordinary skill
in the art that whilst the embodiments implement certain
40
7. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the device
45
8. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the interface
device is con?gured to receive at least one of ?ight position or
?ight progress data from the aircraft system for use by the
preted as being limited only to being implemented in soft
passenger portable electronic device.
9. An aircraft interface apparatus for providing communi
ware.
It will be understood that the present invention has been
50
of detail can be made within the scope of the invention.
Each feature disclosed in the description, and (where
appropriate) the claims and drawings may be provided inde
pendently or in any appropriate combination.
The invention claimed is:
1. An aircraft interface apparatus for providing communi
cation between an aircraft cabin management system and a
passenger portable electronic device for use on an aircraft,
wherein the device uses a ?rst data format and the aircraft
cabin management system uses a second data format,
and the apparatus comprises: i
an interface processing resource that is con?gured to
receive data in a ?rst format from the device and, in
response, to output data in the second format to the
aircraft cabin management system and/ or to receive data
in the second format from the aircraft cabin management
cation between an aircraft system and a passenger portable
electronic device for use on an aircraft in-?ight, the passenger
portable electronic device being capable of providing content
60
wherein the passenger portable electronic device uses a
?rst data format and the aircraft system uses a second
data format;
wherein the aircraft system comprises at least one of an
airoraft ?ight management system, an aircraft content
5. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the interface
processing resource comprises a selection module for selec
tion of the ?rst format from a plurality of ?rst formats and/or
for selection of the second format from a plurality of second
formats.
comprises a ?ight attendant panel (FAP).
such, the scope of the present invention should not be inter
to the passenger in-?ight,
portable entertainment system.
nication with an aircraft content distribution system.
equally be implemented solely in hardware (for example by
described above purely by way of example, and modi?cations
one of a call bell, cabin lighting and/or reading light, heating,
ventilation, cabin intercom, emergency or galley system.
4. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the passenger
portable electronic device comprises a mobile telephone, a
portable computer, a personal digital assistant (PDA), or a
6. Apparatus according to claim 1, con?gured for commu
functionality by means of software, that functionality could
means of one or more ASle (application speci?c integrated
circuit)) or indeed by a mix of hardware and software. As
comprises a wireless transceiver for providing wireless com
munication with the passenger portable electronic device.
3. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the aircraft
system comprises an aircraft cabin management system, and
the instruction in the ?rst format from the passenger portable
electronic device comprise an instruction to control at least
product for use with a computer system, the computer pro
gram product being, for example, a series of computer
tion in the second format is not actionable by the pas
sengerportable electronic device prior to the conversion.
2. Apparatus according to claim 1, wherein the apparatus
tus can be used to provide an interface, and to enable com
65
system and, in response, to output data in the ?rst format
to the device, wherein
the device comprises a, the received data comprises a trig
ger signal from the cabin management system, and the
output data comprises a control signal.
10. Apparatus according to claim 9, wherein the trigger
distribution system, or an aircraft cabin management
signal is representative of a state of the cabin management
system;
system.
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