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The tension is rising – finalists have been named!

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21 products and concepts have been nominated for the final round of this year’s Crystal Cabin Award. On 9 April, the seven winners will be decided.

Live TV in the air, an entertainment programme controlled with eye movements and gestures, more space for cabin baggage, tables that are not only cleaner and more stylish but perhaps even include stowage for mobile telephones, etc. These are just a few examples of the 21 innovative products and concepts that have made into the final round of the Crystal Cabin Award 2013. The 25 experts on the international Judging Panel have viewed and evaluated 47 entries over the past weeks, so that three finalists could now be nominated for each of the seven categories. As has been the case for seven years now, the winners will be announced as part of the aircraft cabins trade fair in Hamburg (9 to 11 April, 2013).

Interesting ideas are up against each other in the "Industrial Design & Visionary Concepts" category - ideas that benefit not just the airlines, but also, and most of all, the passengers. Acro Aircraft Seating from England have developed a lightweight, self-cleaning seat table integrated into the armrest, giving more space for the passenger. Paperclip from Hong Kong was nominated for Checkerboard, a passenger seat concept where the individual seating elements can easily be converted between economy and business class configurations. Zodiac Aerospace from the USA has completely redesigned the A320 cabin with ISIS (Innovative Space Interior System), offering space for 60 percent more cabin baggage and still feeling more spacious.

Dornier Technologie Systems and Lufthansa Technik, both from Germany, impressed the Judging Panel in the "Premium Class & VIP" category, as did Zodiac seats from the USA and Mexico. Dornier has developed a stylish and robust capacitive touchscreen. Lufthansa Technik's nice HD system puts high-resolution videos on ultra thin screens whilst allowing all cabin functions to be controlled using an iPhone or iPad. Zodiac is turning travel into a social experience again with its Reversible Seat, which can be quickly adjusted so that passengers sit opposite each other.

The products nominated in the "Passenger Comfort Hardware" category are also very customer-friendly. Diehl Aircabin from Germany has created its Membrane Ceiling Panels which reduce both drafts and cabin noise levels whilst ensuring pleasant mood lighting. MERU from England has developed a flexible seat for severely disabled children. And Zodiac in the USA has submitted overhead lockers which allow passengers to store their cabin baggage trolleys in an upright position.

The "Passenger Comfort Systems" category sees another Zodiac entry, this time from the German Zodiac Premium Galleys division: a modular galley concept occupying less space. Competition comes from two US companies, ROW 44 and Thales. ROW 44 makes it possible to watch LIVE TV in-flight. And Thales has a special in-flight entertainment system to enrich the flight experience: the passenger can control the entertainment programme using eye movements and hand gestures.

Competing for a trophy in the "Greener Cabin, Health, Safety & Environment" category are Avia Technique from England, Boeing from the USA and RECARO from Germany. Avia Technique has launched an easy-to-operate portable oxygen supply device. Boeing's Insulated Galley Cart makes on-board cooling systems superfluous by keep products cool from the caterer to the aircraft and throughout the flight. RECARO has developed a process for analysing and evaluating the ecological balance of a seat throughout the entire product lifecycle.

There are promising innovations in final for the "Material & Components" category, too. Diehl Aircabin from Germany has been nominated for its iPanel with integrated electronics. Lufthansa Technik has extended its non-electrical floor path marking system with ColourCurve, which can now follow any required line to the emergency exits, thus adapting to any cabin interior design. Rogers Corporation from the USA has flatter, more durable cushions made of silicon foam to provide and sustain the highest level of passenger comfort.

Finally, this year will once again see a trophy awarded in the "University" category. And not just a trophy: the winner will also receive 3,000 euros in prize money. Hoping for the prize are students from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands along with students from Germany's Dresden University of Technology and Hamburg University of Applied Sciences. The Netherlanders (TU Delft) are keeping things organised with their practical, folding Tray Table Cabinet, allowing passengers to stow personal effects such as notebook, mobile telephone, wallet, etc. The Concept Cabin from Dresden (TU Dresden) replaces heavy components with intelligent, flexible materials, converts light and vibration into energy, and equips sidewall panels with 3D displays. The Hamburg University of Applied Sciences (HAW Hamburg) submission achieves more space in the lavatories. The innovative lavatory seat is especially beneficial to obese passengers as well as wheelchair users.

All of the finalists' products and concepts will be presented in the Crystal Cabin Award Gallery (6E99) at the Aircraft Interiors Expo. Winners will also be presented to the public here on the second day of the trade fair (10 April, at 11am). The official crowning of winners and presentation of trophies will take place the evening before at a formal dinner.

So far, the following sponsors have committed to the Crystal Cabin Award 2013: Airbus, Aircraft Cabin Management, the Aircraft Interiors Expo trade fair (Reed Exhibitions), Aircraft Interiors International Magazine, APEX, Bishop, DIEHL Aerosystems Holding, FERCHAU AVIATION Division, Jetliner Cabins, SGS Germany, SILVER ATENA and Zodiac Aerospace.