First there were steamer trunks. The old, wooden monstrosities always took at least two people to carry them; today, you’re more likely to find them serving as funky coffee tables than actual luggage. After the steamer trunks, luggage evolved into the old-fashioned standard suitcase. Its handle and smaller size made it more of a one-man job, but a tightly packed traditional suitcase was still guaranteed to strain your back.
Count on stewardesses to show us the way. They started appearing in airports up with smaller suitcases with two wheels and a pull-out handle to drag it with. Frequent flyers followed their lead, then the rest of us, right down to the present kindergarten-sized wheeling backpacks. Since then, there hasn’t been much innovation in the world of luggage, but that’s about to change. Check out these five luggage concepts that I hope could someday appear in a carry-on or checked bag near you.
1. Airbus Bag2Go
Do you want to know what’s really fun? What’s really fun is standing in a long line at the airport to check in your luggage. When you finally get to the front of the line, you see that the couple ahead of you is arguing vehemently with the check-in agent. Two more agents leave their posts and come over to help, but still the issue remains unresolved. As the minutes tick by, you look at your watch and realize that you might not have time for that sit-down meal you were planning on past the security gates.
That’s sarcasm, by the way. That scenario, known by many travelers, is not fun at all.
Airbus feels your pain, which is why the company is working on the concept of Bag2Go. The QR code and special chip built into this suitcase allows you to scan your own luggage with your smartphone and thus check it in yourself. Once it’s checked in, the GPS tracking feature will tell you where your bag is at all times, providing a sigh of relief for anyone who’s ever lost their checked baggage. Other features of Bag2Go include an automatic weight check that tells you if you are over the airline weight limit, an alert that tells you if your bag has been opened or manipulated in any way and alternative choices for delivering your bag from your starting point to your final destination. The prototype of this bag is already being tested.
Hop! (imagined by Cargo Collective) is still just a concept, but the idea here is a suitcase that heels without a leash. In other words, this robot-like suitcase will follow you around, without you having to pull it, just like a well-trained dog. Like the Bag2Go, Hop! relies upon your smartphone. Essentially a Bluetooth device, it follows your phone’s signal. Should you get out of range of your bag, your phone will vibrate to alert you and the luggage will automatically lock itself.
There is one disappointing part about the Hop!: You’ll still have to carry it up and down the stairs.
3. Kinetic Energy Case
There are already bags on the market that come with built-in batteries that allow you to charge up your electronic devices. That’s quite convenient when you’re traveling long distances and don’t have access to a power outlet.
What’s even more useful, however, is a built-in battery that recharges even itself. The Kinetic Energy Case by Yanko Design is still just a concept, but if it came out, just rolling your suitcase along would generate the energy that recharges the built-in battery that in turn re-charges your gadgets.
4. Titan High-Roller
Some of the futuristic luggage concepts mentioned here sound like they were developed by MIT engineers. Others sound like college guys sitting on their couch came up with them while smoking something other than tobacco. Take, for example, the Titan High-Roller, which might have been initially conceived in the following scenario:
“Hey man, isn’t it a drag when you have to pull your suitcase all over the airport?”
“Yeah, man, I hate that.”
“You know what would totally rock?”
“If your suitcase could pull you all over the airport.”
“Dude, that would be so sweet.”
The Titan High-Roller (also by Yanko Design) is just such a suitcase. At one moment, it’s just an ordinary, four-wheeled suitcase. Press a few buttons, and suddenly it’s a scooter. It’s not electonically powered, at least not yet, but at least you can glide through the airport instead of having to walk along with your suitcase wheeling behind you.
5. RIDN Move-On Suitcase
Another phenomenon you’ve probably experienced if you’re a frequent traveler is getting so tired that you eventually just sit down on your suitcase. Unfortunately, your suitcase hasn’t been designed for sitting; if you sit on the top, it’s stable, but the handles and zippers dig into you uncomfortably. If you lay it on its side and sit on it, you worry that it might collapse underneath you.
The RIDN suitcase by Agent is designed to finally give you permission to do what you’ve always wanted to do: Sit down comfortably on your rolling suitcase. It has a built-in seat at the top that makes this suitcase a portable bench.
Don’t Look for These Any Time Soon
These five suitcases are all still just fantasies for the time being. The first one, Airbus’ Bag2Go, is the closest one to being available to consumers; the rest are just concepts for the moment. One day, however, you can bet on seeing people in the airport with luggage that follows them, with luggage they are riding on and, who knows, maybe even luggage that connects them to the Internet.
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