Though airplanes are undoubtedly a miracle of modern technology, they’re not necessarily the most comfortable or energy efficient way to travel. But now, Scientific American reports, the National Research Council of Canada is building a new lab facility to study and solve some of those issues.

Called the Cabin Comfort and Environment Research Facility, the new lab is currently under construction in Ottawa. Once it’s complete, it will feature a modular airplane cabin, complete with seats, windows, and luggage racks to allow researchers to study a range of air travel scenarios.

Researchers will be able to rearrange seats, windows, and storage compartments both to mimic the layouts of different kinds of airplanes and to study which arrangements are most effective. So far, project plans involve experimenting with windows that can be darkened electronically (which would not only be convenient, but could reduce the aircraft’s weight and fuel costs), and identifying the kinds of seats that best reduce vibrations for a smoother ride. They also plan to develop a new air circulation system, since the one currently in use in most airplanes hasn’t been updated since the 1980s.

Overall, the goal is to find cost effective ways to improve air travel. Project manager Paul Lebbin tells Scientific American the lab will “help airlines balance profitability with what the passengers want.”

[h/t Scientific American]

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