One day soon, you may walk into an airport, stand shoulder to shoulder with your fellow passengers, and gaze up with them at the same single screen to receive your personal trip information. In fact, if you fly through Detroit later this year, you could actually try this technology because Delta just announced at the 2020 Consumer Electronics Show that it plans to test a beta version of the idea at the city’s Metropolitan Airport.
Unlike older multiview technologies, which only allow a couple people to view different things on the same screen, Delta says nearly 100 travelers will be able to look at this particular screen at the same time. The company expects to be able to serve up each person “personalized content tailored to their individual travel,” like directions, flight information and updates, boarding times, upgrade or standby status, and of course, the location of the nearest Delta Sky Club. It’s doing this with a technology from a startup it acquired called Misapplied Sciences, which developed a pixel technology called “Parallel Reality” that can put out different colors of light in many different directions at the same time.
Users will have to opt in to the program, choose a language, and then when they get to the screen, scan their boarding pass at a kiosk. While the multiview technology does not use facial recognition to pick out the individuals in the crowd, it still uses some combination of location technology (like beacons) and cameras.
Delta COO Gil West claims in a press release that the technology “has the potential to make even the busiest airports much easier to navigate,” and that it could “reduce stress and save time for our customers.”
It’s a big bet that customers will be willing to make that trade-off, especially as concerns swell around both location tracking and data collection — and since Delta is still going to be years away from the real-time personalized information screens on display in Minority Report. But that’s clearly where Misapplied Sciences wants to take things. “[E]ventually Parallel Reality technology can be used to create seamless, engaging and personalized experiences in nearly any out-of-home venue–ranging from stadiums to theme parks to convention centers and more,” CEO Albert Ng said in a statement.