Friday, October 31, 2014

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British Airways Reads Customers' Minds with High-Tech Blanket

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TWC News: British Airways Reads Customers' Minds with High-Tech Blanket
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British Airways is now using a high tech blanket that links to your brain, aiming to help its customers get exactly what they want while on its flights. NY1's Adam Balkin filed the following report.

This is probably a sentence you never expected to hear, but it’s true…the next time you take a flight overseas the most high tech piece of equipment at your disposal might very well be your blanket.

Being used by British Airways, it glows different colors based on how stressed or relaxed you, if you’re wearing one, feels.

“You wear a headband and it senses what your brainwaves are doing, so your brainwaves will then feed into the blanket and those sensors will show through blue-tooth how you’re feeling and how you’re reacting, so it will change color. So if you’re tense, then it’ll be red and we’ll know that somebody’s more tense or maybe they’re very alert and then it will go through a stage and you will see them relax, and as it goes blue, they get into a very meditative state, and if it’s very dark we know they are completely relaxed," says Caroline Titmuss of British Airways.

British Airways says based on what it learns, based on the colors of this blanket it can then change things like what foods to serve, when to serve those foods, or even what movies to show on its in-flight entertainment system.

“We saw that people were stimulated and they were excited while they were eating and then we started to think, ‘Ok, based on the way that the blanket was changing, should we, at the end of the meal, knowing people might want to get some rest, serve a hot chocolate with a cookie or some chamomile tea?’ We can think about what we want to put on our movies and say to people ‘If you want a great night’s sleep, we’ve got a channel that just has hypnotic sounds and relaxing music for you that’s the best one for you to listen to,’" Titmuss says.

Right now British Airways is using the blankets only on a very limited number of flights and only with a few people on each flight, with their consent of course.

The airline says at the moment, it is purely to help them determine what changes, if any, need to be made in order to help its flyers achieve the one thing their studies show they most desire on a trans-Atlantic flight: sleep.

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