Thales has been granted a patent for a system that enables remote interaction with an aircraft cockpit display system. The system consists of three layers, including a lower layer for power supply and data exchange, an upper layer with physical interaction means and a touch-sensitive surface, and an intermediate layer for adjusting the position. The upper layer has a V-shaped structure with a hand-rest knob in an inverted-V shape, and the V has an angular aperture between 65° and 250°. GlobalData’s report on Thales gives a 360-degree view of the company including its patenting strategy. Buy the report here.

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According to GlobalData’s company profile on Thales, drone swarm control was a key innovation area identified from patents. Thales's grant share as of September 2023 was 67%. Grant share is based on the ratio of number of grants to total number of patents.

Remote interaction system for aircraft cockpit display pointing means

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Credit: Thales SA

A recently granted patent (Publication Number: US11772811B2) describes a system for remote interaction with the pointing means of an aircraft cockpit display system equipped with Human-Machine Interfaces (HMIs). The system consists of three layers: a lower layer for power supply and data exchange connections, an upper layer with a hand-rest knob and physical interaction means for pointing at the HMIs, and an intermediate layer that allows for the modification of the upper layer's position.

The upper layer of the system has a V-shaped structure, while the hand-rest knob has an inverted-V-shaped structure. The V-shaped structure has an angular aperture between 65° and 250°, and the inverted V-shaped hand-rest knob has an angular aperture between 110° and 160°, with a specific embodiment having an angular aperture of 145°. The front part of the hand-rest knob is parallel to the rear part of the V-shaped structure, and the gap between them is at least 20 mm.

The module in the upper layer, which interacts with the pointing device for pointing at the HMIs, can be a multi-contact capacitive touch pad, a touch screen with an alphanumeric keypad, or a touch surface associated with an infrared sensor. The intermediate layer includes a baseplate that is adaptable to the installation position in the cockpit and the fastening requirements of the aircraft. It may also include a rotary adaptor for rotating the upper layer about a horizontal axis or a translatory adaptor for moving the upper layer in translation.

Additional features of the system include a device in the upper layer to modify the angular aperture of the V-shaped structure, a device to retract the touch-sensitive module, and an ambient light device. The baseplate of the intermediate layer includes fastening screw cover devices.

Overall, this patented system provides a remote interaction solution for aircraft cockpit display systems, allowing pilots to easily and accurately point at HMIs using a hand-rest knob and physical interaction means. The system's modular design and adjustable layers offer flexibility in positioning and customization options.

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GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData Patent Analytics tracks bibliographic data, legal events data, point in time patent ownerships, and backward and forward citations from global patenting offices. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.