British Airways has begun testing a futuristic new technology in an effort to learn how customers relax and sleep during flights.
The “happiness blanket’ is a fibre optic blanket that uses neuro-sensors to measure passenger’s brainwaves and behaviour.
Like a mood ring, the blanket will change colours from red to blue to show when the wearer is most relaxed and meditative.
How it works
A Myndplay headband measures tiny electrical fluctuations in the neurons of the brain. This information is sent via Bluetooth, every second, to fibre optic lights woven directly into each Happiness Blanket. If the blanket goes red, the wearer is stressed and if it goes blue, the wearer is relaxed.
British Airways hopes the study can inform decisions from the timing of meals, types of food, and in-flight entertainment selection based on the relaxation level of passengers.
The blanket was first tested with a group of volunteers aboard the BA189 Dreamliner service from Heathrow to New York.
It was the first time an airline has used the technology to gather information on customer experience.
“The ‘happiness blanket’ is another way for us to investigate how our customers’ relaxation and sleep is affected by everything on board, from the amount of light in the cabin, when they eat, to what in-flight entertainment they watch, and their position in the seat,” said Frank van der Post, BA’s managing director of brands and customer experience.
The airline has also introduced “Slow TV” programming aboard a select group of long-haul flights. The service plays ambient footage, such as a train journey through Norway, inducing a hypnotic quality for some viewers to aid in sleep.