British Airways has been testing a ‘happiness blanket’ – a sophisticated cover which uses neuro-sensors to measure a traveler’s brainwaves and ‘meditative state’ – in an effort to improve its service.
The airline has started conducting experiments at 30,000ft to find out more about how passengers sleep and rest in the air to ultimately help shape services such as timing of meals, types of films shows and seat positions.
The blankets have been 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. Additionally, a special headband – the Myndplay headset – has been used to measure a person’s meditative state on a scale of one to 100. This is then relayed via Bluetooth to LED lights woven into the blanket and when the number is low it will turn red or when it is near the 100 mark it will turn blue.
As well as detecting brainwave activity, it can also monitor a user's level of concentration and relaxation. To date, the blanket has been used on one flight and BA discovered that the main fluctuations took place around meal times and when users’ were using the in-flight entertainment services.