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 W~AIM ‘W'lleless - Avionics Interface Module" Antenna 18 5.0 GHz/2.4 GHZ :E:\ l ln\el 16"“ ATOM 330 Dual Cole 4011 DDR2 800 RAM 1:02.110: 9/" 60 62 64 VT100 Dia nos?c Terminal idea 8 14'“ Display 3260 SATII SSD f 150m write 220m Read 'USEZ 4 TDuF10CexuFMlI!P) Oyultipnutes MMS e IDnitegrfatcel US. Patent Feb. 17, 2015 US 8,957 ,791 B2 Sheet 1 0f 9 W-AIM "Wireless - Avionics Interface Module" Antenna 5.0 GHz /2.4 GHz 18 l 4 Gb DDR2 16"“ ATOM 330 8021“)! \60 800 RAM 62 9/" Dual Core K64 VTT100_ Diaggostic ?\ 8 14~ SZGb smn ssn K' 150ms write 220ms Read 20 ermma 1 e0 g Dlsqlay :> T 1r l— “ [8‘6 0 *— 9 Z 3 § :35) 2% 2°- $6 Q$ 9g 85 8;: “Lu 9) < / 2 / 33‘ (3 LLl ( 5 g “itig __ 8 5'33 “.3 § 5g. 3 g <55 m :8 03g . 0. g 5 e u- U 5 £5 ‘5 2% s; x § 8 ‘— >< 28VDC to 19voc PSU 7 93.3% 22:5» ca 4O GROUND r LOOP 38 SUPPRESSOR l %> I 1L 16 IL. ge Eg- a 35 $93 NE 552 N N g'g DUAL 025 Connector E :3 0‘2 (I) L g“; 9% Fig.1 [‘4 US. Patent Feb. 17, 2015 Sheet 2 0f9 US 8,957,791 B2 K30 26w @ REC + ORANGE A429 RX Channel 0 O REC - ORANGE WHITE TX + BLUE TX - BLUE WHITE REC + GREEN REC - GREEN WHITE 32 A429 TX Channel 0 / A429 RX Channel 1 \ 34 TX + BROWN A429 TX Channel 1 @QOG? O O O D1-AI FDem2a5il TX - BROWN WHITE O O O O O 0 0 K 36 [26 [12 AUDIO - BLACK :0; ,6 AUDIO + BLUE 4 3; AUDIO - BLACK ‘5’ 3 AUDIO + WHITE 9 % Fig.2a Audio Out Audio In US. Patent Feb. 17, 2015 Sheet 3 0f 9 US 8,957,791 B2 % :6ch Am 26 059% am =mwEmo m3%.?"», QQ 0826 A2A Ground Fig.2b xwiEQm xmésBWQ mE SQ / US. Patent Feb.17,2015 Sheet40f9 US 8,957,791 B2 US. Patent 104 Feb. 17, 2015 102 en- X 100 Sheet 5 019 US 8,957,791 B2 X - M» e31,as a?”a? UH] [it] [it] [it] User input provided via user device Contol signal corre onding to user' ut transmitted from user 'ce to interfac vice Contoi signal processed by interface processor and c_ erte ' t raft sy rther c roi srgnai for transmission to an r exa a cabin management system t Transmission of further con_ ignai to system, for example the cabn anage aircraft system Further control signal processed by the aircr ft ystem, for exampie the cabin managementsyst ontroi an aspect of operation of the aircra Fig .5 em US. Patent Feb. 17, 2015 Sheet 6 0f9 US 8,957,791 B2 US. Patent Feb. 17, 2015 US 8,957,791 B2 Sheet 7 0f 9 Ego 321¢an “3912|5m “:25 cQawEi8oziu15w!cm;o 60ll$5... .52x0a<5m2 9“A5Twe% 6*2“wx0l.2v0, 3=85I! 55E?:58aI! N3, Em 2m2xaa0I=t2m.;>0< 59“:0l5I>%ng @“<m$2Iil02vj8 mi 2 .? 200 to<16AI 8%2=0<1..m5l OK to8“3E6l9m 2.3% E?“:$518 56 M m.v _om 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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