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Music Hotels and Sounds Pods: Accommodation of the Future

Establishments such as hotels, entertainment venues and airports are having to step up a gear to offer their customers the best in terms of facilities and technology, as travellers are increasingly demanding heightened experiences.

Competition is rife, as the travel industry is now a huge business:

  • Travel makes up 9% of global GDP
  • 1.6 billion tourist trips are estimated for 2012
  • A 10% increase in revenue from tourism is expected for 2013

One field that is currently undergoing an overhaul is air travel. New technology is now available to improve the overall flight experience for passengers. This is not just through allowing mobile use on planes, which airlines such as Virgin and Ryanair are starting to do, but through ultimately manipulating peoples’ senses in order to balance our bodies and take away unpleasant feelings such as claustrophobia¬†and jet lag.


An example of an airplane that is using new advances in lighting technology is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Aircraft are being used for increasingly long range flights, meaning that passengers are enclosed in small spaces for longer periods of time. Boeing has installed the following exciting new technologies into the Dreamliners:

  • Smart lighting design: This effectively influences our mood and sleep patterns, as well as our perception of space.
  • LEDs in ceilings: Boeing has embedded a lighting system using LEDs in its aircraft ceiling. The effect they give is a recreation of twinkling night stars.
  • Simulated dawn and dusks: The lighting system works to reflect that of natural light, dimming when night falls and brightening when morning arrives. The lights work much in the same way as the ‘lightboxes’ used to treat seasonal affective disorder (SAD).

It is predicted that the systems will start to appear in new aircraft across the board.

Psychological technology


Boeing’s LED system is designed to do the following:

  • Retune the body to cope better with the odd sunrise and sunset times experienced when flying into or against time.
  • Benefit the psychological state of guests: The system creates a spectrum of colours that are based on the results of psychological studies.
  • Give people a sense of rhythm and routine: Leading aeronautical designer, Catherine Barber, said of the system, “Airlines can use it for mood lighting... but it can also be used to enhance the journey in terms of giving it a rhythm – especially the going to sleep and the waking up.”

However effective LED lighting systems are, smart airplane design and technology goes far further than this. Airlines are starting to embrace “smart design”, which aims to improve physical and psychological well-being through catering to all the senses. One example of a design that airlines are increasingly looking towards on new aircraft is a pod made by designer, Mathieu Lehanneur. It is currently installed in a hotel in France, but has already been reflected in many first class air cabins.

The pod, Once Upon A Dream, uses the following collection of light, sound and temperature controls to “tune” the body:

  • When the person enters, the temperature falls by two degrees to 19 celsius.
  • Light is slowly dimmed over 15 minutes from daylight to darkness.
  • A gentle white noise gradually blocks outside sounds.

This procedure is designed to create the perfect sleep conditions. At the end of the sleep, the conditions reverse, waking the person up naturally.

Smart design is changing the way we travel, and could soon be altering our entire flying experience – for the better.

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