Passenger using the “Happiness Blanket” (via British Airways)
In an attempt to differentiate itself from the competition, British Airways decided to take their First-Class experience a step beyond what the eye can see. The company is currently testing what it calls “Happiness Blankets,” a blanket that changes color based on mood.
Part of the ambiance in traveling First-Class is receiving the amenities. Along with unlimited booze, chocolate chip cookies and free refills, British Airways decided to pilot a new perk – the Happiness Blanket. If you aren’t happy, your flight attendant (and everyone else for that matter) will know it, since the blanket changes color based on your mood.
The Happiness Blanket was designed by Lorenzo Spadoni. The blanket itself is made from wool, but is embedded with tiny fiber-optic LEDs that change color based on signals received from the brain.
Users wear a special Bluetooth-powered headband that collects brainwaves. It sends the signals it collects to a receiver embedded in the blanket, telling the fiber optics to glow a certain color, congruent with the user’s mental state.
If the user is calm, relaxed and happy, the blanket glows blue. When the user is irritated, stressed or angry, the blanket will glow red, letting attendants know that they are moving too slowly with the chardonnay. It does, however, still have some kinks.
Oddly enough, when a person is angry or eats a particular food, such as cheese, the brain emits a similar brainwave. This means that a passenger may be very happy about their cheese platter, but their blanket will still glow red.
British Airways said the idea for the blanket came about as a way to differentiate itself from the competition. First-Class at every airline may feature free drinks, flat beds and a banging dessert tray, but British Airways will be the only airline to feature the funky fiber-optics blanket.
The blankets are still in their trial period. Passengers flying with British Airways across the Atlantic Ocean may, however, have the opportunity to test the mood-sensing shawl before it goes live.
Although the airline wants a leg up on the competition, this moody marketing tactic may not produce the desired result. If a passenger is upset because they are suffering from chronic diarrhea, for example, they would probably rather not broadcast their irritable mental state.
A better way to attract passengers, instead, may be by providing better food. They say the way to the heart is through the stomach, and chocolate cherry cheesecake just might do the trick.
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