KUCHING: In a competitive world like today’s, it takes real talent to change the way things traditionally work to improve the livelihoods of the society.
Such is the case with Alireza Yaghoubi, the winner of the James Dyson Award 2012 with his AirGo design, revolutionising the designs of cabin seats on airplanes.
“I remember my excitement of being among the first people who adapted the new iPhone handset back in 2007.
“It was a simple platform when first released and lacked many standard features on handphones at the time.
“But its endless potential inspired software developers to make almost anything out of it,” he enthused to The Borneo Post in an exclusive interview.
“I decided to apply the same principle to economy class cabin seats. They are uncomfortable and not user-friendly.
They use designs from the 60’s and lack a decent entertainment system too,” he noted.
“So I came up with AirGo to address all these problems.
“AirGo gives passenger what they pay for, modernises the current design and gives freedom to the passenger to choose their meals and entertainment on a touch screen.” The budding inventor noted that a larger space does not necessarily guarantee better flight experience, especially when its design has not changed and only the leg room is increased.
“Negative customers’ reviews for premium economy seats are testimony to this argument,” he unveiled.
“With AirGo, I tried to maximise space, but not in a way to make it as expensive as a first class seat.” To note, Alireza formulated the design with a flexible back support made of nylon mesh at an inclination of 45 degrees which provides a comfortable yet space-efficient experience.
It replaces the bulky cushions on current seats with a slim design which minimises the occupied floor area.
“Moreover with AirGo, the screen and the tray are no more parts of another person’s seat, so you have full control over them.” In terms of safety, Alireza said AirGo addresses a few key concerns raised by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) studies about the minimum dimensions for a safe design.
When asked on what inspires him, Alireza said Steve Jobs was one of his main motivators to push himself beyond imagination.
“ I like how he fulfilled his dreams with such an exceptional audacity and managed to bring numerous wonderful ideas into our world,” he enthused.
“There is also Elon Musk which I found so much respect for him when I first learned that he nearly went bankrupt sending the first commercial spacecraft into the orbit but never gave up.
“And finally there is James Dyson for being among the few people who are passionately promoting engineering these days.” Also when asked on whether the AirGo has seen any feedback, Alireza said so far there has been considerable interest from the media, both international and local.
“On several occasions, I have talked to people in the industry about AirGo, but apparently for any new cabin design to be considered, certain safety certificates should be obtained for which the cost is in fact very high,” he explained.
“But recently a company from the US has shown interest in making a working prototype of AirGo.”