Airbus looks at VR headrests for passengers

Those who hate flying will welcome an idea from Airbus that will deliver them from the sight, sound – and smell – of other passengers. The European consortium has filed a patent for a Virtual Reality system that is integrated into the headrest of passenger aircraft seats. The concept is designed to reduce stress and boredom among passengers by delivering sensorial isolation through the delivery of sound, visuals and the diffusion of any lingering odours.

The headrest features a visor, various configurations of which offer different levels of transparency, one of which has an adjustable setting to allow the passenger to set the levels of visual isolation.

Visuals will be delivered by holographic type projection onto the inner face of the visor, but the patent documents also make an allowance for independent monitors to be placed over each eye as an alternative. It is anticipated that both 2D and 3D videos will be able to be viewed.

The patent documents outline the use of high quality headphones that will either compliment the entertainment offerings already mentioned, or deliver white noise to block out unwanted sound from the cabin.

Aside from the usual offerings of films and music, anti-stress programs would be offered and motion capture gloves would be available for passengers to carry out office work by typing onto a virtual keyboard. Passengers will also be able to connect their own device to deliver their own content to the headrest. Control of the headrest features can be achieved using a remote control, the appearance of which may be part-virtual.

The headrest helmet device will also boast its own airflow, with passengers able to choose ambient, refreshed or conditioned air, and a further option of enhancing the air with ‘synthetic odorous substances’.

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