British Airways could give passengers a ‘digital pill’ to monitor happiness

30th Nov 2016
Written by: Dave Owen


British Airways could soon be asking passengers to swallow an ‘ingestible sensor’ to help improve their travel experience.

A ‘digital pill’ swallowed when boarding a flight will monitor a passenger’s body temperature, heart rate, and other physiological signs in order for conditions to be altered to make them more comfortable. For example, it could be used to monitor stomach acidity levels so that in-flight meals could be changed.

Earlier this year BA filed a patent detailing a system ‘for controlling the travel environment for a passenger.’  This extends into meals, sleeping times, and use of in-flight entertainment.

British Airways patents 'digital pill.'

‘What is desired is a system that facilitates greater efficiencies within the aircraft travel environment and enables improved control and personalisation of the passenger’s travel environment, in particular for enhanced passenger wellness and wellbeing when flying,’ the application says.

The sensor could be used to tell whether a passenger is awake or asleep, hot or cold, nervous or uncomfortable, and feed this information to cabin crew. This would allow them to adjust environmental conditions such as seat position, air conditioning, and lighting.

“We are always looking to deliver new innovations for our customers, whether it be in design or digital transformation,” A British Airways spokesperson told the Standard. “As such, we develop many ideas and submit many patents.”


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