This past weekend I was on a plane and marveling how flight uniforms really haven’t changed that much over the years. They are sort of sailor meets corporate prairie–meh. Well, check out the flashy smart EasyJet uniforms I found on CNET. The airlines is celebrating it’s 20th anniversary and worked with CuteCircuit to match the festivities with it’s gear. The pixel stripped lapels not only add some color, but they also act as info signage, displaying flight number and destination. LEDs at the hemline work as emergency lights while attendants walk the aisles and built in microphones allow for easy communication between the crew. But wait, there’s more!
Flight engineers on the ground have their own smart gear, which I’m loving. The LEDs on the hood’s edge illuminate work areas, while a built in video camera allows information to be shared during inspections. Those LED panels on the hood and forearms could be used to signal planes into terminal areas. The best feature is the air quality sensors and barometer, which allow for more immediate information for those working in the environment, as well as comparisons with other cities. So far the uniforms are getting mixed reviews–some people find them to be too over the top, while others like the functionality, especially in the ground engineer’s uniform. I’m sure these outfits have a lot to do with PR, but I think there are some legitimate functions that make these work. So, what’s missing? For the ground tech, I’d like to see a smart fabric face mask that would allow for air filtering and noise reducing material in the hood. I’m sure there would still need to be earplugs or headsets, but every little bit helps. For the flight crew, it might be nice to have biometrics like heart rate in order to be more aware of stress levels throughout the day.
Although these outfits are flashy, I think passengers would find them humorous and they would ease the stress of flying. The most important thing shown in this collaboration is the many uses of wearable tech, from illumination, information display, environmental data, information sharing and communication. A LED RGB matrix can be a great place to start, if you want to borrow from the pros. Check out our SMSsenger Bag learning guide to see how you can have scrolling illuminated text. It’s a great way to share messages on a bike ride.
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