Or is it? The ever-enigmatic Swiss mad car guy Frank M. Rinderknecht, head of Rinspeed, is up to it again. In the tracks of his latest space-age concept car – the eXasis – that opened eyes and dropped jaws at the last Geneva Motor Show, Rinspeed and partners have come up with a new invention that has the potential to revolutionize the way we travel, starting in the air.
Rinspeed, Strähle & Hess GmbH, Lumitec AG and the University of Zurich present... drum roll please... the “Sensosphere.” An outstanding example of unconventional ideas and applied lateral thinking, the press release calls the Sensoshere the next phase of evolution for the driver-sensing Rinseed Senso concept car, circa 2005.
Depending on time of day and the desired mood, the interior cabin changes its appearance with various colors, patterns and images. Soft-focus effect photos supported by sound and aroma therapy are all made possible by an innovative electroluminescent film technology developed by Swiss electronics specialist Lumitec AG. This “...glowing material can be made into any shape and does not need electric bulbs or LEDs,” explains the company’s CEO, Emil Enz. “The high-tech surface is computer-controlled and, depending on the applied voltage, shines green, blue or orange.”
“We are showing what breathtaking possibilities this new technology can open up for cabin designers,” he says. The revolutionary concept is embedded in new and svelte tissues and material combinations, which are due to set visionary trends in the conservative cabin interior designs.
Developers of the concept speak of “Zen-sorial” with reference to Far Eastern meditation. And, on the basis of the measured data, passengers receive impulses that put them in a state of relaxed attentiveness. “The emotionality and the feel of the surface of the cabin interior transfers to the human being,” says Mrs. Kirsten Schönharting, director of Strähle & Hess GmbH. This vision is the foundation of a completely new airplane interior free of the uncomfortable, oppressive and relatively mundane aspects of air travel.
The idea of ’communicating surfaces’ stems from Andreas Fischer, a designer who developed the “zenMotion concept” at the Institute for Computer Sciences at the University of Zurich in close cooperation with the Institute for Psychology at the University of Innsbruck. The inspiration for the development came from studies by scientists dealing with the emotional effect of moving patterns on people.
Basically this is a mood lighting application at its finest. While the partners are looking at applying this technology to airplanes, the potential in the automotive sector is just as great if not bigger. And, if the Sensosphere makes its way into the spa industry, there may not be a need to take another vacation ever again. Yeah right!