Would you mind if your airline tried to anticipate your in-flight needs by using a variety of sensors to monitor just how you’re feeling – including, possibly, a “digital pill” that you swallow?
That’s apparently what British Airways sees for the future of travel. According to MediaPost.com, the airline has applied for a patent on new technology that would let it control the travel environment in response to very personal passenger data.
That data would be gathered by sensors that measure various physiological factors in passengers – including “digital pills or other ingestible sensors that detect internal temperature, stomach acidity and other internal properties and wirelessly relay this information outside the passenger’s body,” according to the patent application.
The application apparently did not indicate how large such a pill might be.
Other sensors could be worn by a passenger, included on his mobile device, or positioned nearby. These could include body movement sensors, sleep phase or biorhythm sensors, eye movement trackers and heartrate or blood pressure monitors, the patent application said.
All this data could theoretically be analyzed to determine if passengers are awake or asleep, hungry, and hot or cold, for instance, “for use in determining and scheduling events associated with the journey segments,” the application said – i.e., so crew could adjust in-flight service and environmental controls to keep passengers at maximum comfort levels.
What do you think, readers? Would you swallow a digital pill or strap on a wearable so flight attendants could know when to serve you dinner? Or is this whole notion just off-the-charts science fiction?
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Scuba Bubbles says
Seat-based sensors would be better solution.
I am working on a patent filing for in-cabin sensors (microphones) that analyze cabin sounds to determine if:
1. babies are crying in no-kids zones;
2. passengers are speaking a dangerous language or have a dangerous accent;
3. passengers who have paid low fares (based on their seat locations) seem to be having too comfortable a flight (not enough squirming and cussing), or seem to be too productive (based on keyboard keypress sounds);
4. Anyone speaking words on the current watchlist.
For an additional fee, passengers can opt-out of this surveillance.
I say perhaps British Airways should concentrate on their increasingly irrelevant business class product rather than some abstract concept they think will revolutionise travel.
Salvatore Johnson says
Honestly I can see sometime in the future that a pill could be devised that makes a coach flight more enjoyable by letting us pass out, like we are having surgery. Don’t laugh at this, right now coach and flying has become so painful not only physically but mentally that maybe there would be some medical way of making the time go by faster with very little pain. Flying use to be fun and when United introduced Direct TV on the flights it was a great way for the time to go by faster. But that isn’t the case any more and long coach flights get worst and worst each time I fly.
Leslie Nunley says
No way !!