Airbus files patent for jetlag zapper
Conrad Quilty-Harper|August 24, 2006 7:07 PM
Airbus, that robot-friendly aeroplane company, has filed a patent for a device that generates "electromagnetic interaction in an airplane". No, this isn't some kind of revolutionary fly-by-magnets technology, it's actually a slightly oddball idea intended to solve the most common of airborne travel ailments: jetlag. The device, which in the event that it is ever put into service, will be integrated into passenger seats, supposedly has the capability to "prevent and reduce the occurrence of jetlag, reduce the danger of passengers suffering from thrombosis, and increase general well-being by promoting relaxation, sleep and stress reduction". Ever seen those stone magnets that people put around their wrists to "increase blood flow?" This device looks like it would operate the same away, but in an electromagnetic form. We won't question the validity of using magnets to keep people healthy, but we are puzzled at the logic behind introducing randomly fluctuating electromagnetic fields onto packed airplanes. Surely (don't call me Shirley!) the thought that this could potentially interfere with the pilot's ability to fly the plane crossed the minds of the researchers over at Airbus? Especially considering the common "please turn off your cellphones" announcement that pilots make at the beginning of every flight (FYI, cellphones emit electromagnetic fields). Maybe a wiser course of action would be to focus on cheaper in-flight Wi-Fi, keeping passengers' minds off the fact that they're floating round a tin can far above the world, resulting in less stress and therefore, by Airbus's own logic, reduced jetlag.