Aarian Marshall is a transportation reporter at WIRED and former CityLab contributor. She lives in San Francisco.
Boeing has filed a patent on an "upright sleep support system," so let's give it a closer look.
Want a good night's sleep? Stay off an airplane. If the increasingly tiny seats, thin padding and restricted legroom fail to interrupt your circadian rhythms, then your armrest-hogging neighbors certainly will. Shelling out for a first class ticket and one of those fancy fold-down beds is one solution. For the everyman on a budget, coffee is another.
But there may be another way. The U.S. Patent Office has approved airplane manufacturer Boeing's patent for a "transport vehicle upright support system." Translation: A more space-efficient way to get some shuteye on a long and uncomfortable flight, even while sitting straight up.
The complicated-looking torture device clone has for some reason been creepily nicknamed "the cuddle chair," and it works like this: The passenger is given a backpack that folds out into attached head and chest cushions. Once the deconstructed backpack is clipped into the top of the seat with two straps, the passenger can lean all her weight into the cushions in front of her and start dreaming. The pièce de résistance is a massage table-like face hole that allows to sleepers to also, you know, breathe.
It's unclear when, or even if, the "upright support system" will make it to a Boeing-built plane near you. As a company spokesperson told MailOnline, Boeing "files many patents every year, but that doesn't necessarily mean we end up pursuing them."