Jamco working to launch headphone-free IFE


Aircraft seating supplier, Jamco, has revealed it is taking part in a joint R&D project with NTT Sonority, an acoustics technology specialist, to develop a headset-free IFE audio system they say will be a “next-generation inflight audio experience”. The project, named the Personalized Sound Zone (PSZ), has speakers embedded in each headrest in business class or first class, which create a ‘sound zone’ that surrounds each passenger’s head area, allowing only that individual passenger to hear the audio output.

The passenger will be able to control the volume and sound settings from the speakers to their individual preferences, but there are limits, to ensure the output isn’t so loud it would extend beyond the sound zone and disturb neighbouring passengers. The system is not suitable for the economy class cabin, given the closer proximity of the headrests.

Jamco’s PSZ demonstrated in its Venture business class seat

Benefits include the comfort of not having to wear a headset, not being tethered to the seat by a headset cable, and flight attendants being able to communicate with each passenger without them removing their headphones. The PSZ also dispenses with the need for airline-supplied headphones, and certain drawbacks, such as cleaning and maintenance for reuse in future flights, and disposal.

Panasonic and Thales have presented concepts with similar technology in the past, but it looks like Jamco and NTT Sonority will be first to market, as they are aiming to launch the technology in 2023.

A bubble of sound: The PSZ is designed to enable passengers to enjoy IFE audio without headphones, and without disturbing other passengers

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Ever since his first flight on a TriStar, Adam has loved air travel, and since becoming editor of the Aircraft Interiors International brand he has really enjoyed the opportunity to be involved with the latest aircraft and airline products before they are even launched. Adam co-ordinates the running of the magazine, from commissioning articles and artwork, to ensuring that high standards of quality are maintained, as well as managing online content. Adam is proud to sit on the jury of the Crystal Cabin Awards and to have laid on the bed in Etihad's Residence.

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