British Airways To Offer An Ingestible Sensor To Passengers

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.

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.

I have two references for readers. Since I was a fan of this show when it firsts came out, I can't resist this early "science-fictional" view of this idea. In Test Pilot, an episode of The Jetson's first broadcast on December 30, 1962, George Jetson goes in for a physical. The doctor uses a special capsule called a "Peek-a-Boo Prober".


(Peek-a-Boo Prober from Jetson's Test Pilot episode)

Here's a close-up:


(Close-up of the Peek-a-Boo Prober from Jetson's Test Pilot episode)

The doctor uses a special Peek-a-Boo Prober launcher to start it on its journey through the patient. Once inside the doctor uses a voice-control interface to instruct the Prober. Take a look at an internal video provided by the Prober to the doctor.


(Peek-a-Boo Prober in stomach episode)

Also, I can't resist this additional reference from the wonderful Ben Gleed, King of Speed, a 1939 short story by Don Wilcox. It seems perfect for airlines, who could also offer a pill for yet another of their services:

"Then here's a movie substitute that the King of Speed has recommended very highly to the people of Super City." He held forth a small box of orange colored pills.

"Substitute? How the hell—?"

"His theory is that many people remember so little of what they see at the movie that they are as well satisfied by a chemically produced effect. Thus they save the time and cost —"

"You mean —?"

"Swallow a pill and you'll see...
(Read more about the movie pill)

Via Gap Year.

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