British Airways is trialling a high-tech blanket that monitors brainwaves and changes colour to show when passengers are at their most relaxed in the sky. The airline hopes the “happiness blanket” will enable it to provide an improved in-flight service on long-haul journeys.
The garment, which is woven with fibre optics, works by using neurosensors to measure a person’s brainwaves. It then changes colour, from red to blue, to show when they are at their most relaxed and meditative. The idea is for cabin crew to then alter their routine — from changing the timing of meals, what food is served and the types of films shown — to best suit passengers.
Recently, volunteers onboard a BA189 Dreamliner service from Heathrow to New York were among the first to try out the happiness blanket.
According to a BA press release which explains in detail how the technology works, “The blankets are woven with fibre optics that change colour based on the output of the sensors. When the user is tense the blanket turns red and the when the user is relaxed, the blanket turns blue, allowing us to monitor the traveller’s sleep and relaxation patterns during a flight.
Based on its first trial flight, BA found that the main fluctuations took place when passengers used the in-flight entertainment and during inflight dining.