The luggage has been reinvented many times to make travels a lot easier, but nothing quite like this has been accomplished before. Thanks to a new technological breakthrough, carrying and lugging around heavy luggage may seem primitive compared to this “smart” suitcase which has been programmed to follow you everywhere you go, like an adorable little puppy.
The carry-on suitcase, designed by Israeli company NUA Robotics, is currently still a prototype. It connects to a smartphone app via bluetooth, has a built-in camera sensor that can “see” you and follow you around on flat surfaces like airport floors. It comes with an anti-theft alarm to prevent someone snatching it away when you’re not looking, and, for the icing on the cake, it has a backup battery that you can use to charge all your devices.
“It can follow and carry things for people around while communicating with their smartphone, and avoiding obstacles,” explained Alex Libman, founder of NUA Robotics. “We’re combining sensor network, computer vision, and robotics. So if you download our app, press the ‘follow me’ button, the luggage recognizes the specific user and knows to follow and communicate.”
NUA is still testing and the suitcase and fine-tuning on features like speed and customization, but they hope to release it to the market in just a year's time. If it proves successful, they endeavor to use the Bluetooth pairing technology to automate lots of other devices, like shopping carts at the supermarket. These devices are especially meant to be useful to the physically disabled and elderly. “Any object can be smart and robotic,” Libman said. “We want to bring robots into everyday life.”
NUA Robotics made it clear that the smart suitcase they recently unveiled is just a prototype, and that the finished product will look just like a regular suitcase, instead of the bulky rolling box you currently see. They're planning to partner with a carry-on luggage maker, since the device that makes it “smart” weighs just 1kg and can be fitted on old-fashion luggage.
Lugging around a heavy travel bag is a burden, so with this new invention, it may truly make our travels a lot lighter and carefree, but I think it will take some more time for someone to invent an all-terrain following luggage that can climb stairs.