London, June 11 (Reuters): Intelligent seats could soon be informing airline crews whether a passenger is a nervous flyer, a potential terrorist or has been sitting still too long and could be at risk of developing blood clots.
Qinetiq, which was set up last year in a part privatisation of Britain’s former Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, is developing airline seats with sensors that can relay signals assessing a passenger’s behaviour to a central computer.
“Qinetiq designer Chris Thorpe says the system could have a display that is only accessible to the cabin crew — perhaps in the galley — to warn if a passenger’s behaviour is out of the ordinary,” according to New Scientist magazine.
The crew can then assess the passenger and decide whether he or she presents a risk.
The company said more sensors and other techniques such as monitoring temperature and skin moisture levels could also be used to help the crew make their judgements.
“The sensing seats are part of a bigger project to make airline cabins more friendly, with lighting that dims when you fall asleep, for instance,” the magazine added.
First-class passengers will be the first to benefit from the smart seats, which could be available in about a year.