Last updated: 03:34 PM ET, Mon April 27 2015

New Invention Could Alert Crew to Passenger Illness

Travel Technology | Rich Thomaselli | April 27, 2015

New Invention Could Alert Crew to Passenger Illness

PHOTO: Inside the technology of the FlightBeat device. (courtesy Delft University)

If you’ve ever been to the gym, you know there are treadmills and exercise bikes with built-in sensors in the handrails or handlebars, allowing the machines to monitor your rate simply by grasping them.

That’s similar to the technology behind FlightBeat, a new invention in the concept stage of development by students at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, according to

Just like the treadmills, and more akin to electro-cardiograms, the airline seats would have built-in sensors that monitor heartbeats in a patient and relays the information to flight attendants armed with a tablet and an app.

The app would lay out a seat diagram – similar to what you see online when selecting a seat – and various color codes would alert the crew to a potential health issue in passengers.

How the system would be able to monitor the difference between a true medical emergency or a case of anxiety sometimes accompanied by air travel remains to be seen.

Zodiac Aerospace handed the project to the students. KLM Airlines, the Dutch national carrier, allowed the teams conduct interviews with actual flight attendants and cabin crew.

According to the story, there will be an opt-out alternative for passengers concerned about privacy issues or who simply don’t want to participate or have their health monitored.


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