An autonomous security robot, a virtual reality headset and purposeful daydreaming sessions are among the traveler-friendly inventions being tested in the third round of San Diego International Airport’s Innovation Lab.
The 16-week program helps small businesses develop products and services aimed at improving the overall airport experience.
One idea, from the San Diego-based company Cloud Club, invites travelers to de-stress by daydreaming with the assistance of an audio or print guide.
“Very often, we've considered daydreaming to be a waste of time, but what research shows is that it's actually quite beneficial,” said Paula Intravaia, a spokesperson for Cloud Club. “There are multiple benefits; so we thought, let's bring that and have our passengers experience that.”
Another idea, called Lift Your Eyes, lets passengers take a virtual journey when they’re stuck at the airport.
“It can be so difficult to wait and wait and wait, especially if your flight got canceled or delayed,” said Lift Your Eyes founder Armando Flores. “To be able to meet them where they're at and have this at their seat waiting for them to enhance their experience is the goal.”
Other concepts in development include Qbrio, a luxury transport option for business travelers, Nüdel Kart, a mobile play cart to keep children entertained during long layovers, and programmable LED stanchions – or upright posts or bars – from Lorenzo Designs.
All of these ideas will be evaluated at the end of the 16-week program, and those with high enough scores will be offered contracts with the airport.
At least two ideas from the Airport Innovation Lab have already been picked up.
A mobile app called "At Your Gate," is being used at nine 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.
A luggage storage and delivery service called Baggage Nanny was also developed at the Airport Innovation Lab and is now located in Terminal 1.
The Lab will soon be accepting applications for its next round of ideas to test.