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Hate Flying? This Dreamy (or Dorky) Virtual Reality Helmet Could Help You Escape the Experience.


Would you rather gnaw on broken glass than fly? Everyone -- except maybe those lucky first-class flyers -- hates flying these no-perks, knee-defending days. At 30,000 feet, you probably daydream about being anywhere but strapped down in a cramped tin can, bouncing between clouds, rubbing elbows and swapping stale breath with strangers. Who could blame you?

It's gotten so miserable up there in the unfriendly skies that sometimes not even the deepest nap, the best noise-cancelling headphones, or a nip of those overpriced in-flight cocktails can fully dull the pain of flying. What modern, weary jetsetters need is a better, more extreme in-flight escape. One that's literally in your face.

How about virtual reality (VR)-powered "sensory isolation" helmets? Sounds good to the founders of Airbus, the French aircraft manufacturer that recently filed a patent for some geeky-cool VR helmets that commercial airline passengers could one day don. Wired says the nerdy high-tech skullcaps will "let you forget you're in an airplane at all."

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What dreamy diversions could these reality-bending helmets offer? Music and movies (maybe in 3-D), of course. And also work tasks, which wearers could hammer away on all flight long via a virtual keyboard and motion capture gloves. Just think of how cool you could look making jazz hands in the air while you're, er, in the air.

Sights and sounds aren't the only benefits. Your nose could be in for a refreshing escape, too, from all the lovely odors that usually waft through the cabin. Yes, this helmet could someday pump your nostrils full of different scents.

The smell of money might be a smart choice, considering how much you might pay through the nose to use a helmet like this. These helmets are still in the development phase, so we're not sure how much Airbus's VR brain bowls might eventually put passengers back. But just like everything else on planes nowadays, they probably won't be free, and they probably won't be inexpensive either.

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While Airbus works out the details on these virtual reality airplane helmets, we hope their plans for standing airplane seats don't, um, become reality. Yes, passengers could eventually saddle up on tricycle-style seats that would pack us in even tighter -- in an upright standing position -- into those flying sardine cans called planes.

That's one Mile High Club we'll never get on board with.

What crazy apps, gadgets and tech have you come across lately? Let us know by emailing us at or by telling us in the comments below.

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