Lonely Planet Writer

A 'digital pill' to track your well-being on flights, could soon be a reality

British Airways is looking into technology that would see the airline serve passengers a “digital pill” that can monitor vital signs and tweak their travel experience accordingly.

Rows of pills on white background
Can a digital pill monitor vital signs when on a flight?   Image by Getty

The airline has filed a patent application that takes advantage of technology first explored by scientists at MIT last year which involves an almond-sized pill loaded with sensors that is swallowed but not digestible, and instead enables vital signs to be monitored constantly.

BA cabinNow BA has filed a patent for a system that “enables improved control and personalisation of the passenger’s travel environment”. In short, the aim is to create something that can help cabin crew monitor how passengers are feeling so they can respond appropriately. According to the patent application, all the data gathered could help crew alter a passenger’s schedule for eating, sleeping and watching in-flight movies in order to improve wellness and well-being while on board.

BA cabinIt also suggests that BA’s aim is to create an app to improve the whole travel experience, from the moment passengers leave the house and begin travelling to the airport, tracking their data and beginning to build a flight schedule based on that data. It’s not the first piece of technology to explore improving the wellness of passengers. Virgin Atlantic released a Jet Lag Fighter app back in 2010 that offered tips on how to plan ahead for jet lag and trying to reduce its effects.