Wearable Tech

Wearable tech takes flight as UK airline EasyJet debuts LED and sensor-studded uniforms

Crew at the short-haul airline could soon be sporting wearable tech to help light up your flight.

EasyJet cabin crew head down the runway in their CuteCircuit-designed tech-laden uniforms.

Nathan Gallagher/EasyJet

Wearable technology is about to take off. UK airline EasyJet is sending new uniforms down the runway that are covered with LED lights and built-in sensors.

Budget flyer EasyJet, founded in 1995 by the colourful entrepreneur Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou, is the UK's biggest airline by number of passengers carried. The airline is celebrating its 20th anniversary by trying out new cabin crew and engineer uniforms that incorporate a variety of wearable tech features.

Both sets of uniforms have built-in microphones so engineers, crew and pilots can talk to each other. The cabin crew uniforms are dotted with LEDs on the shoulders that show your flight number and destination, in case you forget where you're going. The LEDs and illuminated hems also provide extra lighting in case of an emergency.

The engineer's uniform bristles with reflective panels and LEDs in the hood, intended to light up work areas so workers don't have to juggle a torch and have both hands free to stick panels back on, tighten propellers or whatever they have to do to keep your plane in the sky. Built-in video cameras allow them to beam pictures to other engineers to help diagnose problems.

Meanwhile air quality sensors and a barometer help engineers monitor their work environment and create a map of air quality in different cities.

An EasyJet engineer wearing a jacket covered in LEDs so they can keep both hands free.

EasyJet

The technology comes from wearable tech fashion mavens CuteCircuit, previously best known for LED-studded flights of fancy worn by celebs such as Katy Perry and Nicole Scherzinger.

Wearable technology has so far meant devices you wear about your person, such as smartwatches and fitness trackers. But advanced e-textile fabrics and innovations in flexible circuit boards and displays means tech can be added to the actual clothes you wear, whether it's next-generation military uniforms or high-tech sporting kit.

EasyJet will start a trial of the uniforms early next year. Whether they're adopted across the fleet remains to be seen.