P.S. I, for One, Welcome Our New Robot-Luggage Overlords


Not being able to leave well enough alone, after my last post, on the Modobag, I gave another look to the suitcase innovations on Indiegogo.

What I found is frightening, simply frightening.

Four years ago, you may recall, I mentioned hop! “the follow along suitcase.” At the time it was only in a prototype stage, and as you can see in the video below, it was a rather bare-bones, timid-looking prototype, at that.

Speaking about advancements in luggage design, I wrote the following:

Regardless, the evolution of the suitcase continues. When USA Today asked what’s “next on the horizon,” Michele Marini Pittenger, president of the Travel Goods Association, said, “Luggage that packs itself? Now that would be a problem-solver.”

Oh, how our carry-ons have evolved since then. Can you say “robot luggage”?

How about “Cowarobot R1“? That’s the name of “the first and only robotic suitcase,” in the middle of its own Indiegogo campaign.

Yes, you read that correctly, robot luggage! All I can do is wonder how long it will be before these “fully autonomous” carry-ons become self-determining—and evil—and force us to pack our clothes against our will. How long before the “find me function” (which I think is pretty cool) becomes the “track me down function”? (not cool)

It’s difficult to tell from this vantage point whether they will consume us on captive Earth or merely enslave us.  One thing is for certain: There is no stopping them. The android carry-ons will soon be here. . . .

And I for one welcome our new robot-luggage overlords. I’d like to remind them that as a trusted blogger, I can be helpful in rounding up others to toil in their underground suitcase-packing sweatshops.[*]

Actually, I can see an alternative ending to this scenario, one in which a plucky teen, with sick video-game skills, uses the USB port on a robot carry-on to upload a virus into our would-be mechanized oppressors, thus shutting down the global computer and GPS infrastructure. And with worldwide computer automation halted, our luggage will be rendered powerless and benign. Yay humans!

(But just in case that doesn’t work, and in case they don’t respond well to my overtures, I have my getaway vehicle already picked out . . . .)

[photo: “The World Shall Be Mine . . . ,” by Emiliano Felicissimo, used under a Creative Commons license]


Keep Calm and Roll On Your Carry-On

USA Today reports that 2012 marks the 25th anniversary of the Rollaboard suitcase. After seeing passengers struggling with their luggage, wheeled trolleys, and bungee cords, Bob Plath, a pilot at Northwest Airlines came up with the idea to create a suitcase with a built-in handle and wheels.

Now, two and a half decades later, two new inventors have come up with a product that they hope will change traveling again. The creators are Darryl Lenz, a flight attendant, and her husband, Randy. After they watched parents struggling with their luggage, strollers, and children, they designed a chair that straps on to your wheeled luggage. It’s called the “Ride-On Carry-On.”

We first saw this product on ABC’s Shark Tank, where the Lenzes won backing from investor Barbara Corcoran. Since then, they’ve been featured on several TV shows, including The View, Good Morning America, and Inside EditionClips from these shows are available on the Ride-On Carry-On website, but my favorite is this one. Not only does it introduce the product, but it also has that great YOU’VE GOT TO HAVE ONE! infomercial style.

So what are you waiting for? ORDER YOURS TODAY! (Luggage not included.)

But then again, maybe you don’t have kids young enough to ride on your carry-on. Or maybe you’re just not sold on the idea. You’re probably not alone. It’s not easy being an early adapter.

In fact, there’s at least one person who still isn’t a fan of the Rollaboard-style carry-on. Richard Bangs, host of American Public Television’s Richard Bangs’ Adventures with Purpose, tells USA Today that the Rollaboard marked “the beginning of human devolution.” According to Bangs,

It used to be, as we ran through airports carrying our bags,  there was a measure of physical exertion that countered, to a degree, the hours spent motionless in an airline seat. It toned muscles and prepared us for the adventure ahead.

Regardless, the evolution of the suitcase continues. When USA Today asked what’s “next on the horizon,” Michele Marini Pittenger, president of the Travel Goods Association, said, “Luggage that packs itself? Now that would be a problem-solver.”

While that’s probably not going to happen soon, what about luggage that moves itself?

Cutting-edge travelers, I present you hop! “the following suitcase.” Hop! is the brain child of Rodrigo Garcia Gonzalez, a designer who has studied in Canada, India, Chile, Spain, and Sweden. (Hmmm. . . . I wonder if one of these could work with a Roll-On Carry-On. . . .)

(Jayne Clark, “Rollaboard Luggage Celebrates a Wheelie Big Birthday,” USA Today, August 16, 2012)

[photo: “Blue Suitcase,” by Drew Coffman, used under a Creative Commons license]