Breakthrough 4: A Personalised Device and Smartphone Application

The aim of this application is to help make the passenger journey less stressful and more enjoyable. PASSME develops a personal information system for the passenger in the airport. This will let the passenger know the time of departure, the walking time to the gate, the locations of shops and other services and will help manage stress by helping to guide the passenger through the airport to the boarding area.

The basic concept of the personal system comprises two parts: a personalised device, e.g. a fitness band, and smartphone application. The growing trend of personalised off-the-shelf devices, such as the smart phones, watches or bracelets now available from large companies like Samsung and other vendors, show that people are increasingly collecting key health data (e.g. heart rate, blood pressure, skin conductance, acceleration) and uploading these using cloud services, monitoring themselves over time on-line, and sharing information with other social groups. Travellers expect to be able to track their locations on their phones with the iPhone enabling group tracking. It is also possible today to locate planes with real-time flight information e.g. Flight Radar24 app. The innovative breakthrough of PASSME is to connect with these growing markets and provide an integrated, novel approach for information exchange which enables the passenger, airlines and airports to make knowledgeable decisions. The PASSME personalised device and smart application will enable the following: (i) assess the physiological state (heart rate, possibly blood pressure, skin conductance, acceleration) of the passenger in combination with the psychological state through the self-reported emotional state with emphasis on stress level; and (ii) track and trace the passenger and link this information to the forecast system.

Research tells us that people perform badly under stress as it can impair attentional, spatial working memory and cognitive mapping, all of which can be critical for airport operations such as way-finding and decision-making. Nowadays, passengers within airports are either overloaded with ‘live’ re-adjustments of their travel timeline (e.g. due to unexpected incidents (crises or delays) or even worse, they are unaware of the full timeline of processes that they need to follow in order to reach their destination (due to unfamiliarity with the airport premises or relevant processes). Perception of time constitutes an important aspect in travelling when a variety of different emotions are being evoked. Time perception appears to change when under stress, “time flies when having fun” and plays a role in motivation and experiencing pleasure and enjoyment within a given task. When people believe that time has passed quickly, they have a tendency to rate the tasks performed within that timescale as being engaging and fun. Furthermore, emotion and cognition interplay in practical decision-making leading to informed decisions based on current emotions. As airports involve cognitive overload and decision-making during passengers’ flow, it is important to incorporate an emotive infrastructure that becomes aware of passengers’ emotions and thoughts while optimising operations and experiences to improve informed decision-making.

By utilizing wearable sensors for measuring the passenger’s physiological and psychological states and sending this to a module in the airport PASSME server (named the Passenger Knowledge Module), an assessment is made as to what type of information the passenger may require. Personalised feedback to the passenger is provided through the smart device. The type of appropriate information could be:

  • Airport Maps showing surrounding area, highlighting points of interest based on the passenger’s profile
  • Routes to the final gate depending on the available time, emotional state of the passenger, his/her preferences, amount of carry-on luggage. For example, a passenger with plenty of time to spend until departure can get route options that lead them to shops/duty-free area, or to the lounge.
  • ETA Estimated time of arrival of the plane and estimate time of arrival of the passenger to the gate
  • Pep Talk, if the system senses that the passenger is stressed, it could offer some pep talk or locations within the airport to go to relax
  • Informed Decision making by having all the information at hand so that the available time can be spent carrying out preferred activities rather than in queues or un-engaging areas.