British Airways might not be messing with its passengers’ emotions the way Facebook researchers are, but it does want to put people’s feelings on display.
The airline last week tested blankets woven with tiny LEDs and combined with neuro-sensing headbands to “identify when the wearer is experiencing a feeling of well-being.” The blanket turns red to indicate stress and anxiety, and blue to show calm and relaxation.
For example, in British Airways’ video depicting the test on a flight from London to New York, a passenger watching what looks like a comedy movie is shown with a blue-to-purple blanket, while the passenger in the neighboring seat has a fully crimson blanket while viewing a boxing match.
While in some ways the project seems like projecting people’s innermost feelings on a Jumbotron, British Airways says the point is to study how to minimize the stressful parts of flying and show the benefits of calming features like sleep masks and flat-bed reclining. The company calls it “The Happiness Blanket.”