The August 2022 issue of IEEE Spectrum is here!

Close bar

CES 2020 News: Delta Airlines Dips Into Parallel Realities at Detroit Metro Airport

It seems like magic, but hundreds of people in airports will soon be able to look at the same screen and see completely different things

1 min read
A blue screen shows a message greeting for Tekla in white text.
A personalized message appears on a screen as the writer, Tekla, walks through a simulated terminal at CES 2020.
Photo: Tekla Perry

A useful, though somewhat eerie, technology will start guiding passengers through airline terminals later this year. Developed by Misapplied Sciences based in Redmond, Wash., and being rolled out by Delta Airlines, Parallel Reality technology will replace the typical information-packed airport display screen that shows all departing flights with individual messages customized for each traveler. The real magic? All of those messages will appear simultaneously on a single large screen, but you’ll just see the one intended for you.

A wall of screens, each displaying different images, stands on the CES 2020 showroom floor. This wall of mirrors reflects one large-screen display; each mirror represents a person standing in a different place in the same room.Photo: Tekla Perry

The technology took some five years to develop, says Misapplied Sciences chief operating and creative officer Dave Thompson. It involves hardware that splits the light from each pixel in the display, sending different colors and brightnesses in a variety of directions, adjusting the angles on the fly. The demo I saw at CES 2020 allowed up to 100 people to view personalized images—each seeing their own name and flight information in their language of choice—but Thompson says the technology can accommodate thousands of simultaneous viewers. Travelers scan their boarding passes—it’s an opt-in system—and then cameras follow their movements around the terminal to ensure that when they look at a display, they see a personalized message.

Delta plans to start using the technology this summer at the Detroit Metro Airport.

The Conversation (0)

How Nanotech Can Foil Counterfeiters

These tiny mechanical ID tags are unclonable, cheap, and invisible

10 min read
Close up of a finger with a clear square on it.
University of Florida

What's the largest criminal enterprise in the world? Narcotics? Gambling? Human trafficking?

Nope. The biggest racket is the production and trade of counterfeit goods, which is expected to exceed US $1 trillion next year. You've probably suffered from it more than once yourself, purchasing on Amazon or eBay what you thought was a brand-name item only to discover that it was an inferior-quality counterfeit.

Keep Reading ↓Show less