San Diego

High-Tech Sleeping Pods Among New Ideas Being Tested At Airport Innovation Lab

An autonomous robot guide and a foldable guitar are among other products in development at the San Diego International Airport

High-tech sleeping pods, an autonomous robot guide and a foldable guitar are among the traveler-friendly innovations being tested at San Diego International Airport’s (SAN) Innovation Lab

A second group of innovators are participating in a 16-week program that helps them develop products and services aimed at improving the overall airport experience.

"It is very competitive to get into the lab and we are selective to make sure that the companies who come in can help meet the goals of the lab, which are improving the passenger experience, operational efficiency and increasing revenue or decreasing costs," SAN spokesperson Rebecca Bloomfield said.

The Airport Innovation Lab is accepting applications for its next round of ideas to test. They’re specifically looking for "interactive children’s entertainment options that are mobile, pop-up and/or temporary." The deadline to apply is July 5. To learn more, click here

Five ideas are currently in development in the Airport Innovation Lab.

The high-tech sleeping pod, created by San Diego-based HOHM, Inc., offers airport travelers the comforts of home. Inside each 45-square-foot pod is a bed, a vanity, blackout curtains, Wi-Fi and charging ports.

The pods would provide an alternative to napping in the airport seats or getting a hotel room during a long layover.

"It’s definitely more cost-effective than taking a taxi, going through security, going to a hotel, taking another taxi, coming back." said Jonathan Wisner, HOHM, Inc.’s Director of Business Development and Partnerships.

Each pod would have a deadbolt lock for security and would be monitored by an attendant. The attendant would also be in charge of changing the linens between users.

Wisner said the HOHM pods could be placed in underutilized space inside an airport terminal and, in addition to napping, people could reserve them to get some work done or to meditate.

"We want this to be somewhat of a retreat, in a way," Wisner said. "I find that people in office space, people in airports, universities, (there's) a lot of stimulation. We want to be able to kind of block that out with sound, light, and then give a nice comfortable place for people to recharge."

The HOHM pod and the rest of the products in development will be evaluated at the end of the 16-week program and those with high enough scores will be offered contracts with the airport.

All but one of the ideas from the first group of innovators was invited to move forward.

One of the services developed at the airport, the mobile app called "At Your Gate," is being used at six airports across the country. The app allows guests to order from a number of different shops and restaurants throughout the airport and have items delivered, as the name implies, at your gate.

Contact Us