By Ken Hegan for MSN Travel
At last! A suitcase that follows you like a little lamb.
It’s called the Hop! suitcase and it’s powered by a Bluetooth, remote-control, techno-whizbang signal.
How it works:
Aim your smartphone at the suitcase, then start walking away. Your suitcase gets scared it’ll be left behind, so it starts hopping after you to catch up. But instead of bunny feet or wheels, it rumbles along on caterpillar treads like R2D2 or a tank.
The idea is that it frees your hands. So you won’t have to strain your poor back lugging an overpacked suitcase full of, say, rare and priceless art that you’ve looted from a war zone…especially when you’ve got kids in tow. It’s like having an invisible bellhop toting all your ancient plundered relics from the X-ray machines to your gate.
The Hop! even knows when you’ve rounded a corner, and will change its trajectory to keep pace with you. If the signal gets lost, your phone vibrates to warn you and the suitcase locks itself. And unlike a bellhop, you don’t have to tip your suitcase or make annoying small-talk.
You can see how the Hop! works by watching this handy instructional video.The video explains that your phone’s Bluetooth signal bounces off three sensors in the suitcase. These receivers triangulate your phone’s position, then instruct the caterpillar treads to move by compressed air. And voila, your bag stalks you. Which I guess is a huge comfort for harried travellers who don’t mind being targeted by their luggage, so they can keep both hands free to wave around while trying to speak Italian.
Pretty cool technology, but will it stay upright — or keep up with me — when I’m running from boring seatmates, cops, or kidnappers?
Other than that, the Hop! is perfect for confident travellers who likes to stroll jetlagged out of airports, and totally not look back at their luggage. What could possibly go wrong?
Far as I can tell, this suitcase is still in the design phase. It definitely looks too small to carry my big clown shoes around. But if and when it gets a manufacturer who’ll boost the signal and expand the suitcase size, I imagine it’ll catch on fast. As for me, I’d rather have a suitcase that runs ahead of me so it can flag taxis, shoot down beggars, disarm all my enemies, karate chop them unconscious, and otherwise kick everyone out of my way.
What do you think…is this ‘following suitcase’ an unnecessary invention for our lazy, fat generation? Or is it a boon to all humankind?
— Ken Hegan
For more information, visit the designer’s website
Read all Ken’s stories here
Images courtesy Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez