'Mind-blowing:' This new Detroit Airport screen knows who you are

July 02, 2022, 7:04 AM by  Alan Stamm

(Photos: Delta Air Lines)

Detroit Metro Airport just added a futuristic display that's either spooky or spectacular, depending on how you feel about a screen that identifies your face.

A McNamara Terminal departure board uses facial recognition to show travelers their flight info if they've opted in. "The airport of the future is here," brags Delta Air Lines, which is testing the first-of-its-kind setup.

A passenger from Detroit reacts Friday evening to the overhead delivery:

The innovation, called Parallel Reality, can show info for up to 100 passengers simultaneously as they walk past a large screen near the Delta Sky Club in Concourse A. "If you and I were both standing next to one another and looking at the board, we'd each see only the information relevant to our respective flights," posts Alex Fitzpatrick, an Axios editor in Albany, N.Y. 

Ranjan Goswami: "We're not just showing customers a magic trick." (Photo: LinkedIn)

"The technology may seem like something out of science fiction," Delta says in a news release quoting Ranjan Goswami, a senior vice president at its Atlanta headquarters: 

"If this new technology can make finding your gate and departure information quicker and easier, we're not just showing customers a magic trick — we're solving a real problem.

"Customers already rely on personalized navigation via their mobile devices, but this is enabling a public screen to act as a personal one – removing the clutter of information not relevant to you to empower a better journey."

The carrier previewed the technology -- which it unhumbly calls "mind-blowing" -- at a yearly Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last January and now is beta-testing it. The developer is Misapplied Sciences, a startup in Redmond, Wash., that Delta invested in three years ago.  

"Customer and employee feedback from this opt-in trial will be critical to shaping the future experience," a statement says.

Delta customers departing from Detroit who want to participate can scan their boarding pass on the boarding pass scanner and select the language they want. ...

For the trial, tailored messages may include personalized wayfinding, flight information or updates, boarding time, the nearest Delta Sky Club or even upgrade/standby status. ... Customer information is not stored.

Axios' writer acknowledges "the obvious privacy concerns and creep factor" while noting that passengers already can "find flight info on old-school displays or on your phone."

Fliers who scan a boarding pass to opt in are identified by "multi-view pixels and proprietary technology" as they walk through this arch with digital sensors.

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