IXION windowless jet is a panoramic platform in the sky

IXION windowless jet concept

The IXION windowless jet concept has high-resolution displays on its interior walls and ceiling that show you streaming video with a panoramic view.

I was impressed with the windowless cabin images for the Spike S-512 supersonic jet. But these pictures and video of the IXION windowless jet concept make those other pictures seem antiquated by comparison.

As you can see in the video below, high-resolution cameras mounted on the jet’s fuselage and wings capture real-time streaming video of the world outside. Inside, high-resolution flexible displays show a photorealistic view of the outside. If there’s nothing to see outside except a dark sky above and clouds below, a variety of moving images can be displayed instead.

Imagine viewing fantastic renderings of a flight through the Grand Canyon, wandering through your favorite forest, flying over the world’s great cities or orbiting Saturn. Once you see this video, you might agree with me that a windowless cabin might be a lot more interesting than relatively tiny panes of glass in today’s conventional aircraft.

Adding to the techno-wizardry is parallax barrier technology, where images can only be seen from specific angles. This could come in handy if one passenger wants to work or hold a teleconference while another would like to take advantage of the 360-degree viewing platform. Seems far-fetched, but most of these tech toys — including tiny 4K cameras, parallax barrier screens and flexible high-resolution displays — are available today. In the price-is-no-object world of business jet design, the exorbitant cost of such tech is probably not prohibitive.

Aside from displaying your favorite video on these curvy high-rez screens, some other applications of this concept are even more tantalizing. For instance, how about depicting various-sized windows to suit individual preferences, or superimposing screens for variety of infotainment and computing, or conducting airborne videoconferencing with others around the world? Check it out:

Why a windowless cabin, anyway? In a word, aerodynamics. In a (perhaps supersonic) private jet like this, there would still be windows on the front of the jet for the pilots. But if you eliminate passenger windows, not only does the design create significantly less drag, but without all those all those window holes punched in its fuselage, the jet’s structure can be much stronger. It would be lighter and more slippery, making it easier to achieve supersonic speeds and more fuel-efficient (as if those who burn megatons of carbon in a private supersonic jet would care about such things).

Here’s the exterior:

The concept was created by Technicon Design of France, and it was designed specifically for the 2013 NBAA (National Business Aviation Association) show. It was so admired by its peers, its exterior was placed on the short list for an International Yacht and Aviation Award. The awards ceremony will be held in London in May, 2014.

Says Technicon’s design director Gareth Davies, “The ethos of the project is simple: to challenge current thinking, and propose something a little different but not just a fantasy. It has to be credible and relevant, yet provoke discussion.”

Consider the discussion provoked, Mr. Davies.

Video and graphics: Technicon Design