Could the future of inflight entertainment be an air conditioned, seat-mountable and ‘sensorial isolation’ helmet?
And it’s not just any helmet: it comes packed with 3D and holographic video support and can be operated by a remote control or motion capture gloves worn by the passenger to type on a virtual keyboard:
According to a patent application filed in the United States by the French aircraft manufacturer (US 8814266 B2), the helmet isn’t just aimed at the techno crowd, rather everyday passengers.
The application notes that “aircraft flights generate stress for certain passengers”, and that “music is broadcast or films (are) shown, (and) access is given to video games” – but that these are often insufficient to relieve that boredom or stress.
“If the passenger is sensitive to stress, this isolation, possibly associated with one of the above-mentioned activities, allows him/her to more easily calm down and relax,” it went on to read.
While all new aircraft seats could one day come kitted out with the hi-tech helmet as standard, Airbus says that existing airline seats could also be retrofitted with the new technology:
Furthermore, it can be fitted by the crew on the fly as a paid extra, which could potentially see Airbus customer airlines such as Jetstar charging to hire a helmet rather than seeking payment to unlock a more traditional seatback entertainment screen.
Airbus says that the headrest mount would ideally allow connection to an air flow or air conditioning source, enabling the helmet to circulate air flow around a passenger’s face, making it more comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.
All up, the gadget offers passengers their ‘own little world’ on board – so if you’re sitting next to a chatty seatmate, donning a hi-tech Airbus helmet could one day be the best excuse to escape a never-ending conversation.
More on inflight entertainment:
- Qantas Boeing 737s to get streaming wi-fi entertainment
- Air New Zealand's new Boeing 787-9 inflight entertainment system
- Flight test: Virgin Australia's wi-fi entertainment system
- British Airways upgrades Boeing 747 seats, inflight entertainment
- Qantas, Virgin Australia allow gate-to-gate gadgets
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