Airbus Predicts Transparent Planes in 2050

July 2, 2011

12:03 pm

Leading airplane manufacturer Airbus has looked 40 years into the future to reveal its vision of flying in 2050. The result? An invisible plane.

Instead of a traditional steel outer shell, the Airbus concept plane features a transparent membrane that changes color based on the time of day. The twisting framework of the exterior (inspired by bird skeletons) makes the plane virtually see-through for passengers – so now you can enjoy a panoramic view of the sky during your flight.

Designed in response to user surveys about the future of air travel, the “Airbus 2050” gets rid of the first, business and economy tiers. Instead of being split up by class, passengers are divided by the activities they want to participate in during the trip, such as relaxing, playing games, or hanging out with other passengers.

These personalized zones could become anything from an interactive conference room to a virtual golf course. The “vitalizing” zone even offers air enriched with vitamins and antioxidants, acupressure treatment, and chairs that morph to fit your body shape. I could get used to that.

It seems like the Airbus 2050 has something for everyone. The plane offers a bar scene for all the social butterflies on board, as well as a “smart tech” zone equipped with private pop-up pods and immersive screens to connect travelers to friends and family. The “interaction” zone provides passengers with a virtual gaming wall and a way to shop like never before – with the clothes projected onto them.

If the bionic structures, holographic technology and morphing materials of the Airbus 2050 weren’t enough to impress you yet, maybe this will: the plane would be 100 percent recyclable. That’s right – the see-through plane of the future is also eco-friendly, utilizing sustainable plant fibres to create self-cleaning materials and harnessing passenger body heat to power on-flight virtual games.

If the future of flying means sipping a margarita from a chair that molds to my body after a round of virtual tennis on an invisible plane, then sign me up. You can see pictures of the Airbus 2050 in all its glory here.


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Trisha Cruz is a Tech Cocktail intern with a passion for writing and design. She is a rising third year at the University of Virginia majoring in Media Studies and minoring in Studio Art. Follow her at: @heytrisha

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