Virgin makes nerd history, partners with Sony to outfit its engineers with multiple wearables

Time to break out the spectacles.
Time to break out the spectacles.
Image: AP Photo/LM Otero
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Do plane engineers care about how they look while on the job?

Hopefully not, because Virgin Atlantic engineers at London’s Heathrow Airport will now be wearing Sony’s dorky smart glasses and its smartwatch to lend some hands-free assistance to their work processes. Double wearables!

The engineers will don SmartEyeglass Developer Edition SED-E1 and the SmartWatch 3, to record pictures and video of tasks, stream real-time video to office-based engineers for troubleshooting, and receive instant notifications to changes in their assignments.

Virgin Atlantic Sony
Image: Virgin Atlantic

Virgin has experimented with smart glasses before. Last year, employees were equipped with Google Glass to “update passengers on their latest flight information, weather and local events at their destination and translate any foreign language information.” Only Upper Class passengers at Heathrow were provided this luxury.

With Google Glass looking like a failure (for now), it’s interesting that Virgin keeps tapping into the wearables well. Other airlines, like Spain’s Iberia, have also employed smart tech to improve the customer experience.

Initial snark aside, smart glasses do have a few potentially helpful applications to consumers at airports. For instance, they could scan luggage tags and cross-reference the information against airport databases to find missing luggage in real-time.

But many of their other applications, like quickly checking boarding passes before you get on a flight, are neither revolutionary nor particularly useful.