Ever thought you'd be able to get a good night's sleep in your economy class seat? Boeing hopes to make that a reality with its patented "transport based upright sleep support system."
The novel and somewhat bizarre contraption, which GeekWire dubbed the "cuddle chair," involves removing a backpack from underneath the seat and strapping it to seatbelt-like fasteners on both sides of the passenger's head. The device contains a chest cushion and "face relief aperture" (think of a standard massage chair) that the passenger then leans into to sleep in a forward-leaning position without leaving an imprint or smudging makeup.
To see the system in action, check out this mildly creepy video from the folks at PatentYogi:
Boeing's patent notes that passengers commonly resort to half-baked solutions like inflatable pillows, which are not always ideal since sleepers tend to naturally fall into a more horizontal position. Boeing also insists that the cuddle chair is superior to personal neck pillows often sold at airports since they can slip and awaken the passenger.
It's possible Boeing may not have any intention of integrating the cuddle chair into its fleet. As the company told The Daily Mail Wednesday, Boeing "files many patents every year, but that doesn't necessarily mean we end up pursuing them." For instance, the company was granted a futuristic patent in March for a force-field-like defense mechanism that sends out laser pulses to deflect shock waves.
And Boeing certainly isn't the only aircraft giant with such patents--Airbus filed a patent last year that aimed to save valuable cabin space by installing bicycle-style seats that The Washington Post likened to medieval torture devices. Regardless of Boeing's plans, it's nice to know airlines are dreaming up ways to give passengers a better night's sleep.