BA Could Serve Pax ‘Digital Pill’ To Monitor In-Flight Happiness
British Airways is exploring the possibility of providing passengers with 'digital pills' that they would swallow at the beginning of a flight. The 'ingestible sensors' would then wirelessly beam information to cabin crew about individual passenger comfort.
It’s not April 1st, so is BA serious or is it just trying to get free publicity?
According to BA, the technology could work alongside in-cabin sleep monitors and data from wearable technology and smartphones to inform the crew when a passenger is hot, cold, hungry, asleep, awake, nervous or uncomfortable. (Our guess is that we’re talking about premium pax here.)
The airline's vision is revealed in a patent application for a “system and method for controlling the travel environment for a passenger,” published by the Intellectual Property Office and reported by the Evening Standard newspaper.
A U.S. company called Proteus Digital Health already offers a kit that consists of a pill which reacts on contact with stomach acid, a wearable patch, and smartphone app, said the paper.
The airline says the system would “provide information on the physiological state of the passenger and/or environment conditions in the vicinity of the passenger.”
Technology inside cabins could include cameras tracking body movement and sensors monitoring climate, lighting, humidity, sleep, eye movement, heart rate and body temperature, it says.
It could automatically adjust the climate when the passenger is asleep and recline their seat, or suggest an exercise routine to prevent fatigue.
Does this sound a little far-fetched? Can you imagine ingesting a digital pill on behalf of a corporation, even if the intentions are good?
A BA spokeswoman told the Standard: "We are always looking to deliver new innovations for our customers, whether it be in design or digital transformation. As such, we develop many ideas and submit many patents."
In other words, it’s not bloody likely this idea will ever see the light of day.