Aircraft designers at Airbus are getting inventive again with their latest patent: a headrest that doubles as a virtual reality-type helmet that can diffuse music, movies and even smells to help flyers relax.
Drawings for the patent, filed recently by the aircraft manufacturer, show seat-mounted helmets that look not unlike professional hair salon dryers. Only instead of coiffing travellers, the helmet is meant to offer "sensorial isolation" to the external environment, with music, films, and interestingly, "olfactory isolation."
Fitted with an air flow source, the headrest would be capable of circulating smells and odors along the inner face of the helmet, reads the patent application.
The air flow source could also be used for ventilation, allowing flyers to increase air conditioning via a remote control.
Overall, the helmet is reminiscent of Google Glass technology, with proposals for embedded earphones, mic and glass lenses for the projection of images and visuals, be it a TV show, film or for playing video games.
The headrest would also diffuse an image of a keyboard that would transmit instructions or data to the helmet, including the possibility of 3D images and holographic video.
The virtual reality-type helmets come from the same aviation manufacturer that caused a mild internet furor recently with their patent application for bike saddle-type aircraft seats, in the aim of reducing bulk and cramming more passengers onto aircraft.
Reminiscent of standing roller coaster seats, the proposal calls for turning seat cushions into bike saddles with a small backrest for the lower back and flimsy armrests.