BA considers ‘digital pills’ to personalise travel environment

BA considers ‘digital pills’ to personalise travel environment

British Airways is reported to be is investigating offering “digital pills” to passengers that wirelessly beam diagnostic health information from inside the body. 

The “ingestible sensors” could work alongside in-cabin sleep monitors and data from wearables and smartphones to personalise each passenger’s “travel environment”.

The aim is to create technology that will determine a “timeline for the passenger’s optimal wellness”, and fight jetlag by controlling their sleep, eating and exercise patterns.

The airline’s vision is revealed in a patent application for a “system and method for controlling the travel environment for a passenger” published by the Intellectual Property Office, according to the London Evening Standard

The patent application says BA’s wellness system could indicate when the passenger is awake, asleep, hungry, nervous, hot, cold or uncomfortable.

Technology inside data-driven future cabins could include cameras tracking body movement and sensors monitoring climate, lighting, humidity, sleep, eye movement, heart rate and body temperature.

A cabin could adjust climate settings when the passenger is asleep and recline their seat, or suggest an exercise routine to prevent fatigue.

Among more radical ideas in the application are “digital pills or other ingestible sensors that detect internal temperature, stomach acidity and other internal properties and wirelessly relay this information outside the passenger’s body”.

US firm Proteus Digital Health already offers a kit comprised of an ingestible sensor that reacts on contact with stomach acid, a wearable patch, and smartphone app.

The airline hopes its systems will “provide information on the physiological state of the passenger and/or environment conditions in the vicinity of the passenger”.

A BA spokeswoman said: “We are always looking to deliver new innovations for our customers, whether it be in design or digital transformation. As such, we develop many ideas and submit many patents.”


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